Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Berkeley, berkeley berkeley

I am on the train on the way down to Pasadena. It's really good when you become friends with the conductors on the trains and they tell you that the San Joaquins train is a much faster way to get down to LA area than the Coast Starlight. Then it's even better when the nice conductor finds you the schedule for that train and you find out that one of the busses that goes off from Bakersfield goes straight to Pasadena, which is about a million times better than getting into LA's Union Station. I should get right into downtown Pasadena at 6:30pm as opposed to LA at 9pm.

But, that's not what this post is about... This post is about my lovely weekend in Berkeley with my great friend Gil. After my train being 4 hours late on Friday, I got to Gil's place rather hungry, so we headed out to Naan n' Curry. It provided a very tasty Indian meal for my dinner. Gil only stole a little of my food because he had eaten earlier. I was eating my dinner around 10pm, so I didn't blame him. I would've eaten earlier if I could have, but there was nothing to eat on the train. They didn't have any dinner food to prepare because they weren't supposed to be running at dinner time. Well, the Indian food was very tasty, I had my favorite standard, Palak Paneer. For those of you that don't know about Indian food, that's spinach cooked with spices and a lovely Indian cheese called paneer. This particular dish wasn't very spicy, I think because they saw a white girl and told the kitchen to keep the spices down. I only say this because Balaji later told us that when he eats there the food is painfully spicy because he's Indian and they think he wants it crazy spicy.

After dinner we walked backed to Gil's place and looked at my pictures and played around on the internet and talked. It was really nice to just chill with Gil again. It's been so long since I've seen him. His house is very nice. There is a common type of house in Berkeley with wood siding and a very nice 50's feel to it, that's the type his is. His roommates all seem really great. The location is nice too, it's close to the college and nice places to hang out and eat and such without being too noisy. His little neighborhood is quiet. Because they are one roommate short at the moment I had a room to stay in all to myself. There was a bed in it because the house manager (the son of the owners) had had visitors stay in that room a few months ago. So, it was a pretty sweet deal for me.

Saturday morning we woke up early, around 8:30am, and headed downtown to meet Balaji at the Asian Art Museum. It's a very cool museum, full of amazing pieces and interesting bits of history. We ended up doing a 45 minute tour with a docent. She was this cute little tiny woman, but she was very knowledgable and easy to follow. She gave us little tidbits about certain items and gave us an overview of the museum and how things are connected. It was a lot of information that you really couldn't gather from walking around on your own. I've never gotten a guided tour of any museums, so it was interesting. So, now I've seen some kind of museum in just about every city I've been to.

It was a very rainy, gloomy day on Saturday, so after the museum we headed to North Beach to a find a cafe. We got to North Beach and I think Gil was looking for a specific cafe, but he couldn't quite remember where it was, so we were walking around in the rain getting cold and soaked. We thankfully gave up quickly on finding the specific cafe and just looked for the closest one. Well, I looked across the street and saw Caffe Greco. Well, as Sarah will know, we of course HAD TO go there. It turned out to be a great choice anyway. I had a pretty good cafe mocha and I think Gil and Balaji enjoyed their latte's, but the best part was the snacks we got. I got a slice of Brasiliana cake and Gil got Tiramisu. My cake was chocolate and espresso icing and then it must have been soaked in some kind of liquor, cause it definitely had that taste. It was excellent. Gil's tiramisu was also excellent. Balaji didn't get anything, but tried some of ours. Then we left there and made our way down to City Lights bookstore. That is a cool bookstore, however, I could've easily spent hundreds there. But, I restrained myself and didn't spend anything. I just wrote down every book that I saw that I wanted and later created a Barnes & Noble.com Wish List. Although, one book that I KNOW I saw there doesn't seem to exist outside of that bookstore. It's called The Founding of Language and it looked like a really interesting book on the study of how language developed in the first place. When I went to type it into Barnes & Noble.com it didn't come up. So, I tried Amazon.com, nothing, and then Google, still nothing. I tried the author's name, Guy Deutsche, and also failed. So, if anyone can find anything on this book, I'd be very curious to know about where you found it. I think I'm just going to have to ask Gil to go back to City Lights and pick it up for me if I can't find it anywhere else. It was just terribly strange not to be able to find it online. And the funniest part is that I had shown Gil the book, so he knew I wasn't imagining the book. He was perplexed by its inexistence on the net as well.

After bookfest we went back to Gil's place for dinner and then a party for one of Gil's housemates. Dinner ended up being at Filippo's just down the street from Gil's. It was a very tasty Italian dinner. The guys got port for dessert and I got tiramisu. The tiramisu was good, but not quite the same as the Caffe Greco tiramisu. I had never tried port before, so that was good. The party back at Gil's was funny. It ended up being the typical college party with a lot of drunk people and craziness. I think there were several people there that were friends of friends and were kind of strange. Then I went to go to bed around 3am and someone had pulled the door to my room shut, which locked it and Gil didn't have a key. So, it looked as if all my stuff was going to be locked in there until we could call a locksmith the next day. Then we realized that the roof of the downstairs addition would get us over to the window of the room where my stuff was and we could get in that way. I tried going out on the roof, but you had to climb over a steep pitch with a very small flat strip at the bottom and I'm terrified of heights, so that wasn't going to work well. I probably would have fallen from fear. So, Gil, being the brave hero he is, climbed out there and made his way over and got in and opened up the room. Then we figured out how to hold the bolt unlocked so this couldn't happen again. Well, after all that excitement we were awake again and went downstairs to clean up a bit so that it wasn't too terrible in the morning.

Sunday morning we slept in, of course, and then headed over to the Thai temple for brunch. On the way over there we ended up on a street that Gil had never been on before. Well, on this street was a house that had decorated the exterior with televisions. Yes, I am totally serious, there were probably 20-30 tvs sitting outside this home. They were very well organized, creating a very interesting look. Of course we got pictures and I will post them as soon as possible. So that was pretty cool, even for Gil, to discover this odd little house. We got over to the Thai temple and got our brunch/lunch/whatever you want to call it. OHMIGOSH that was awesome food. If you live anywhere near the bay area, or are ever visiting that area and even sort of like Thai food, you really should make your way to this temple for Sunday brunch. It was so very very yummy. We had yellow curry, pad thai and eggplant and tofu mix. We had all vegetarian, but they also have a non-vegetarian line. However, the non-veg line was mostly pork, so I was a big fan of the vegetarian line. Then we got sticky rice and mango for dessert, which was also very yummy. The next time I'm back in Berkeley I will definitely insist on going back there.

After lunch we went on a very long, but very enjoyable walking tour of downtown Berkeley. I ended up finding some presents for people, which was nice. I even found some cute unexpected presents for people. As we were walking around Gil ended up on the phone with Diane and I saw a Goodwill store, so I headed in there to let him talk for a while. I spent probably a good 20-30 minutes looking through the used books at Goodwill. I found three, two for myself and one for a friend. One for myself is about media and culture and the other is called God Stories and is a collection of short stories that have something to do with God, in one way or another. I've read two so far and they are interesting. I walked out of the Goodwill and Gil had disappeared. I walked around trying to find him in the Goodwill, thinking he'd finished on the phone. Then I walked back out of the store and he was walking down the street. He just wanders around when he's on the phone. We headed back to his place to drop off some things before heading back out to get dinner and then go see Brokeback Mountain. Dinner was burritos at this decent mexican place. They messed up my order though, so that was kind of annoying, but we were cutting it too close to bother with getting it fixed. The movie was amazing. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger were incredible. Heath Ledger was particularly impressive with his accent. He is from Australia and did a great job of sounding like a Wyoming cowboy. Anne Hathaway was in the movie as Jake Gyllenhaal's character's wife. That was strange. I'm used to seeing her in princess movies geared towards kids age 2-14, not a very adult geared movie. Let's just say she was VERY far from Princess Mia in this movie. She was excellent, which is great. Hopefully this movie will show everyone in Hollywood that she's not just a kids movie princess and she can do more serious roles as well as the princess movies. Michelle Williams plays Heath Ledger's character's wife, who figures out what's going on with her husband very early on, and is also very far removed from her early days as Jen on Dawson's Creek. She and Heath Ledger are actually engaged now and just had a child together, which is pretty cool. Ang Lee said in an interview that the relationship developing was good for both of them during filming.

Monday Gil had to work, so I went wandering around looking for presents for people. I succeeded in my quest and then went back to the house and ordered some books online, for my mom, not for me. After Gil got home we went for dinner, which became a slightly chaotic venture because many places were closed because it was Monday. Stupid Monday restaurant closing thing. We ended up at Isobune, a sushi restaurant in the Rockridge area. The food was very good. On the way back we stopped and picked up some movies, House, M.D. Season 1, Disc 2 and Sense and Sensibility on VHS. Back at the house we didn't get right to watching movies, so we ended up only having time for one or the other, so we watched House. I've GOT to get that on DVD. Maybe I'll ask for that for Christmas from my parents too. We'll see. It's awesome though. Thank you Adam for telling me to watch that show.

So, to finally end this entry, I woke up this morning, got on the very late bus heading to Oakland and then walked through a really sketchy section of Oakland to get to the train station from where the bus dropped me off. I think I have too much stuff with me, cause on the bus my leg started going numb from the pressure of the weight on my legs. It's fine now, but it was very odd. And now I'm on the train, very much looking forward to getting to Pasadena. It'll be so nice to be somewhere where I don't feel obligated to be touristy and do stuff every day. I can just chill at the house with Booker and do nothing. Jake will get to Ontario airport on Thursday, pretty late at night. Then we both leave from Ontario on Tuesday after Xmas, Jake to Philly and me to Florida for New Year's. It looks like Turk, Theresa and I will be going to a Leon Russell and Dave Mason concert on New Year's Eve, which should be cool. We are also going to a King Tut exhibit at one of the local art museums, so Yay for more culture. :)


Anonymous Todd Tyrtle said...

Very strange about the book. You could always email the bookstore and have them actually pick it up off the shelf and get you more info - or even order it directly from them. It sounds like you won't find it anywhere else for sure.

21/12/05 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Woo Greco!

23/12/05 1:40 PM  
Blogger meinexile said...

If you do this again avoid the sketchy section in Oaktown by getting on in Emeryville.

I am curious where is the tv looking house?

27/12/05 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Balaji said...

Hey there! Just remembered you were keeping this journal, so thought I'd leave a note. It was great to see you again - definitely drop me a line if you ever head back this way!

28/12/05 10:52 PM  

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