Friday, Jan. 20, 2006
Somewhat on a lark, plans are made for me to return to San Jose for the weekend. I leave the 10D at home this time, not wanting to haul around that behemoth camera kit, and catch the same flight as last time, leaving LAS around 6:30 p.m. While standing in the queue (love that word!) on the jetway, waiting to get on the plane, the man behind me speaks: "Do you have a bunny rabbit in there?"
I turn, not really sure if he’s speaking to *me,* and when we make eye contact, it’s clear he is. There’s a beat. His expression is friendly, I assume he’s trying to make a joke, but settle with a reply of, "I’m sorry, what did you say?"
He repeats himself: "Your white bag, do you have a bunny in there?"
I still don’t get it but pretend I do and laugh, "Oh, goodness no, no bunnies tonight." Had I been carrying a top hat, I might have seen a joke in formation, but a white travel bag? Huh?
He continues to make small talk, asking me where I’m sitting, being visibly dismayed at the nine rows of seats that will be separating us and verbally expressing this dismay to me, as well. Offering to persuade the stranger who will be sitting next to him to switch seats with me, or the stranger who will be sitting next to me to switch seats with him. Telling me I have gorgeous hair. He is at least 40 years old. I continue to smile and laugh uncomfortably albeit pleasantly, and end up having to stow my bunny-free white bag in the exit row’s overhead bin, though my seat is in the bulkhead. I haven’t slept since Wednesday night.
We land on time but getting off the plane is an exercise in patience, as I have to wait for enough people to get off so I can squeeze my way back to where my bag is. When I finally do and I step onto the jetway, the Bunny Inquisitor is there, waiting for me. He genially walks with me into the terminal, down into Baggage Claim, asking me if he can get me a limo, flowers, an agreement for a date later in the weekend? I just keep smiling silently and walking as quickly as I can, and thankfully, Sidney’s pulling up to the curb just as I get outside. I turn to the man (I’ve already accepted his business card, he lives and works in the city), tell him it was nice meeting him, give my bag to Sidney who puts it in the trunk, and we take off. I tell Sid about the man. He tells me I’m too nice to people. He’s probably right. He hands over the Nokia 6282, which I begin playing with immediately.
Stop off at Home Depot to get potting stuff for Ber. Head over to the University District (or whatever it’s officially called) of Palo Alto, walk around, stop at a place called Pluto’s where we get dinner. I create a yummy, yummy salad of greens and fruits and red bell peppers and cucumbers and balsamic vinegar. We finish eating and continue walking around, and I give him what he will later call a "play-by-play commentary," which goes something like this: "Oh, a bookstore! Oh look, pretty things! Oh, a tea set! Oh, more pretty things!"
At my insistence, we also go to Vons (er, Safeway) and I drag him through the store, chasing down string cheese and Fruit Roll-Ups (one package of the former, three boxes of the latter). And a box of cereal, but no milk, because milk is so complicated. We’re already in line when he reminds me about the oranges I’d wanted, so no oranges, either. Last stop: Blockbuster, where we rent "Wedding Crashers," which we watch that night (uncut version). Verdict? Funny movie, but oh, that dinner scene at the table. Wow. Still, Rachel McAdams is so darn cute. Cuter than Hilary Duff? You betcha.
I continue to not-sleep, tossing and turning on Fred’s cold (well, I mean, I had the big blanket, but still) leather surface until approximately 8 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006
We go to Berkeley, where he grew up, driving through Oakland on the way. Walk down Telegraph Ave., stopping in a huge music store which carries, among other things, Dane Cook’s "Retaliation" (2 audio, 1 DVD), which is priced for under $10, brand-new. I buy it, as well as Eddie Izzard’s "Unrepeatable," the blue Weezer album and the full 2-disc soundtrack for "Rent: The Movie."
Outside, various vendors are selling various things, and I’m keeping an eye out for a ring. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, only that I’ll know it when I see it. It’s not until Sidney heads over the Blondie’s for a pizza lunch that I see it: the perfect souvenier ring. It’s big. It’s ostentatious. It’s made by the vendor himself, making it an authentic Bay area item (to me). And it’s *adjustable* (in the sense that, the vendor can adjust it on-the-spot). It’s also only ten bucks. I buy it (correction: I tried to buy it but I didn’t have enough cash on me and the vendor charges a fee for credit cards and Sidney thought this was ridiculous and gave the vendor cash) and have it sized for my left hand. Why the left? Because, hello, it’s a Berkeley ring.
We eventually hit the UC campus. It’s not until I see the funky trees that I sigh and wish out loud we hadn’t forgotten his camera in the car. He confesses that, um, well, actually, he has the camera in his pocket. I glare at him indignantly and he hands it over. Had it not been for his deliberate silence, I would’ve had a lot more pictures to show for the day, but I suppose I made do. Sather Tower has stunning views of Berkeley and a really slow elevator.
The final stop on the abbreviated tour is the Berkeley Rose Garden, which would have been much more impressive if there had actually been roses. It still being winter, there weren’t. Still, it was a pretty place.
Dinner takes place at Zachary’s, a small pizza place that has won award after award, including a handful of "Best of…" Eating there is definitely an experience, as it takes 40 minutes from the time you place your order to the time the pizza arrives at your table, but it’s a rewarding experience: the pizza is a deep-dish, the "toppings" (ours had mushrooms and fresh spinach and cheese and maybe something else) are actually in the middle, with the tomato mixture ladled on top. It’s fantastic.
There’s a used bookstore next door, and we pop in, "just to look," and of course I end up taking forever and we leave only after I’ve accumulated a young tree’s worth of used children’s lit (four words: cheap award-winning books, emphasis on cheap). I blame him for letting me out of his sight– how in the world am I going to get these things home?
Close to 2 a.m., I’m talked into taking some Tylenol PM. I insist it won’t work, I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t work on me anymore, but swallow the damn things anyway. It’s another hour or two before I finally, finally drift into subconsciousness.
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006
Sunday! I’d been looking forward to Sunday ever since plans for this impromptu trip had been settled, because I’d discovered that on Sunday, Santana Row is home to a Farmer’s Market.
Before heading over there, we stop at a Vietnamese restaurant in Milpitas for lunch. He orders pho, I order the rice vermicelli with tofu and veggies, and also a "green waffle." He refuses to try it before I can describe what it tastes like, but I’m at a loss for words. It’s like asking someone to describe what chicken tastes like; the green waffle can only be desrcibed as tasting like a green waffle. We now suspect that it perhaps tasted like taro, except– taro’s purple. So, yeah.
The weather is gorgeous and perfect for a Farmer’s Market. Unfortunately, we discover that the Farmer’s Market is more like a Farmer’s Single Row of Stands Totaling Less Than Fifteen. Still, there are fresh oranges to buy, and also specialty almonds. Sidney also introduces me to Maido, a cute little Japanese store, and I fall in love with a pig.
Before leaving Santana Row, I order a feuillete from the Cocola Bakery and we sit inside the cafe while I eat it. There’s a girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old, sitting placidly inside a stroller, which takes up considerable space inside the little bakery. Her parents seem oblivious to the fact that their child is a bit past her stroller prime, is large enough, in fact, that her feet can touch the floor from where she sits. Sidney rolls his eyes at this and I just look on, bemused.
Westfield Shopping Center next: a big mall. Before the big mall is the big book warehouse that has Everything On Sale Everything Must Go Go Go! All paperbacks are $1, all hardcovers are $2. Again, cheap books; you know how this vignette must end.
Inside the big mall are big stores, big fancy stores like… Club Monaco. That’s the only one I remember. It’s a big mall.
The rest of the day is spent relaxing and Doing Nothing, something I rather enjoy doing. I spend the last bits of daylight out on the balcony-patio-thing, writing away on his laptop with a book and string cheese nearby.
Monday, Jan. 23, 2006
I spend a lovely, lovely day of sunshine walking around outside and getting disoriented on the VTA bus system, heading out to Alviso when I meant to go to the Rivermark Plaza in Santa Clara. The bus driver chats away with me, giving me brief historical highlights of Alviso and telling me about the city’s good eats. I eventually make it to Rivermark, wander through the plaza, buy mini bagels, contemplate getting a pedicure, and finally go to Vons-Safeway and buy groceries for cooking and baking and marvel at the jump in prices between Vegas and here. A half-gallon of milk, on sale for $2? Insane!
Return to the apartment, only to discover there are virtually no kitchen supplies, as in: vegetable peelers, mixing bowls, rubber spatulas, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking sheets, cooling racks. This comes as a great surprise to me, as Sidney’s cooked twice for me by now.
Also, I forgot to buy chicken broth.
When he returns from work, I lament over this and we head out to Wal-Mart, just in case they’re still open, to where I’d planned on bussing myself the next day to get said missing kitchen supplies, something which he will not hear of (he acts like it’s such a tragedy that I’m taking public transportation, as though buses and trams and trains and trolleys aren’t wonderful, wonderful commodities in which I delight in partaking). They’re still open; I buy supplies. Correction: I seek out, find, and compile supplies which I intend to buy, and he refuses to let me pay for them.
Dinner: Chinatown. Most places are closed by now (it’s about 11 p.m.), but there’s a Chinese restaurant with its lights still on. The "pig ears and cow intestines" he claims to have ordered turns out to be a chicken dish and a plate of greens which I thought were snow pea leaves but he insisted weren’t (whatever they were, they were good). We walk through (closed) Chinatown, order some crispy egg-batter waffle-like thing from the boba shop at the end, walk back to the car, call it a night.
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2006
More sunshine. More walking around. There’s a pick-up game of soccer, a large group of men running around the community park, I suppose all on their lunch break. Mothers are out with their little kids, sitting on benches and enjoying the nice weather.
I take the light rail to Milpitas, explore the Great Mall (big, strangely unimpressive, mostly outlet stores) and for no reasonable reason, get a 7th hole pierced in my ears, in the cartilege on the right side. Also, there’s a cute little accessory store called INVU. I buy $0.99 earrings from the store simply because I adore the name.
When I get back to the apartment, I start soaking raisins in preparation for cookie-making. Except, hey, still no mixing bowls! I’m resigned to using a cooking pot. The cookie dough is soundly insulted by this, but the cookies turn out well all the same. Sidney eats, like, half the batch before we leave for the airport.
I fly home. The flight is empty (20 people total on the plane, including myself the the entire flight crew) so I don’t have to avoid anyone this time around. It’s 46 degrees outside when we land at LAS, and three of the passengers on the plane are wearing T-shirts and shorts and judging from their banter on the plane, they’re either drunk or first-time travelers, or both.
The end. I already miss the good food. Who is this girl, publicly admitting to missing good food? My my.