Sunday, April 09, 2006

My California trip

I know the title sounds shitty..but heavy workload has demented my brain and I cant think of nice titles, so I gave up on the titles part and decided to start writing before I forget what happened in the trip..

Anyways, I had spring break for 9 days and I decided to go to California instead of spending time doing some useful work..One bloke from my college, Kiran, wanted to come along, and so he came along..Our first stop was Santa Clara, where I stayed with my cousin Amith working there. Plan was to spend the weekend visiting N.California, then go to LA during the next week. Friday night, i was treated with some amazing dinner in a S.Indian restaurant, with food served in steel plates and small bowls like in a thali!! one reason I want to work in California bay area, amazing Indian food! and its just the opp in Knoxville. with 2 Indian restaurants to boast of, both serving lousy, bland food, our cooking skills have improved and we are all better than them! anyway, had an amazing dinner there.

We decided that we'll go to San Francisco as it is an hour drive. Now, San Francisco is one beautiful city, and its quite different from most US cities. It looks more like a holiday town to me. The first thing you'll like about SF are the houses! So closely built, its a nice sight. If you have seen the serial "Full House", you'll know.
We first went to the Pier area and spent some time there. We were at Pier 39, Its a fun place, looks like a carnival, and you get a nice view of the pacific bay and Alcatraz island, and also Treasure island (Alcatraz island is known for Alcatraz prison, where Al Capone was housed, and Clint Eastwood escaped in the movie 'Escape from Alcatraz'). But actually, Alcatraz is a totally hyped up place...wherever you go in SF, you get Alcatraz prison clothes, prison mugs and plates, caps etc..!! so if ever had that urge to be in jail, but always chickened out at its consequences, you can atleast look and feel like a prisoner by buying these stuff. You'll also be a famous prisoner, mind you, as it is Alcatraz!! The most hyped up thing about it is one stall where an old 80 odd year old guy sits, and he was once an Alcatraz inmate. So if you go to his stall and pay him money, he'll give you an autograph!!! an autograph from a former prisoner, dunno what crimes he committed, and that too, paying for it..even for Bollywood stars will give their autograph for free!! this just shows the hyped up levels of that prison...

After lunch at the Pier, we decided to go to SF's most important landmark, the Golden gate bridge, that architectural wonder. How much ever you like it while watching it on TV/Photos, you'll just fall in love with it when you actually go there! its just a combination of beauty, brilliance, and magnificence! the only sad thing was my camera ran out of battery when we went there, but somehow we managed to take some pics with whatever power was left in it, and also by loaning batteries from other tourists!!
Funny moment: There are some restrooms provided there but there is no separate one for Men and Women. You just have to lock the door. My friend forgot to lock the door and was pissing away to glory when a lady entered the room and immediately came back and was saying that she's like to forget what she saw right away!! ;) me and my cousin were literally in splits laughing!! :)

After Golden Gate, we went to Lombard St, the craziest street known to man!! while climbing uphill on that road, your heart will be in ur mouth and you dont need no rollercoaster ride after riding this!!

With automatic transmission, it is ok. But if your car has manual transmission, it is one hell of a ride as traffic is high on the road and you have stop repeatedly. Best part is the stop sign at the topmost point!

Now, at this point, if you see that crooked sign and havent heard abt Crooked st., you'll be in for a surprise!! Because what follows next is the most crookedest st. you can get to see!! Here is crooked st. shown below:

See it to believe it!!

by the end of it, it was getting dark, so we decided to round up the trip with a visit to Telegraph hill and Coit tower from where you can get a nice view of the city. But the tower was closed and so we had to contend with some nice views from Telegraph hill. We came back home around 9.30 PM, and hit the bed early as we had planned to go to Napa valley the next day.

I had heard of Napa valley before, but only through the racing game 'Road Rash' which I used to play many years back and one of the races is through Napa valley. Anyway, even Guru, my cousin's roomie joined us and it was a long drive and weather was perfect. On the way, we had to ask directions in a gas station and it was run by an Indian sardar. He asked us if we were Indians, and when we said yes, he started speaking in Punjabi asking us lots of stuff about India as if we were the first Indians there after years!! we didnt understand half of it, somehow we muttered a few thanks and escaped from there. There was a traffic jam ahead which stretched for an hour, but we finally entered wine country. Yes, this is the place where most wineyards are present and the entire valley region is a beautiful sight! and each winery in itself is different in architecture and is worth visiting. We visited a few wineries with Opus One being the best of the lot, and I tasted 6 different wines (Would have tasted more but you have to pay for each, so I was done after 6) before settling on the cheapest one!! (It was also the best tasting white wine, so i had the best of both worlds). We came back to Santa Clara and went for dinner before settling in for a late night movie..

Monday morning: We left to LA for the week and were set to return to San Jose/Santa Clara the next weekend. More about LA and the remaining part of the trip in the next post...ok, gotta go back to work now have 3 project submissions due!
Suppaar maga.. indian food.. wineyard.. open(free??) pissing and prisoners!! Seems to me like heaven.. :))

Cali is sure on my future agenda.. :))
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