Thursday, April 02, 2009
I spent the weekend with Andy and Sarah. Andy is an old friend form the UK and now lives in the bay area with his American wife Sarah.
We met up on Saturday on the eastern side of the bay, opposite San Francisco, had lunch and went on an amazing cycle ride along the bay trail, a pedestrian and cycle way running along the shoreline, stopping to enjoy the view, check out the renovated warehouses, do a bit of wildlife spotting and, of course refreshments.... We were out for the afternoon and probably covered a good 17miles which was more than enough exercise for anyone with a bit of a hangover.
Sarah created a wonderful meal and we sat and chatted about the old days and caught up on the last ten years until the early hours.
On Sunday, Andy took me to a viewpoint overlooking San Francisco bay, way above Berkeley, and then dropped me a small way down the hill at the Botanic gardens. They had a busy day and my plan was to meet Zach, Cynthias' son later in the day to take their truck back to the farm. Zach had been home for the week and is currently studying at Berkeley University which was still further down the hill from the gardens.
The air was clear and the view amazing. As was the botanic gardens. I spent several relaxing hours strolling through the flora of asia, australasia, europe and the US. The California natives was the most extensive and also the most surprising for me. I had no idea how many garden plants we commonly grow in England originated here. Ceanothus, Heuchera, Garrya, several sages to name but a few. Fascinating.
Hungry, i headed down the hill and through the university campus, full of grand buildings sponsored by the good and great citizens of California, towering trees, rolling lawns and open spaces. A wonderful place to study. There was a bell tower , the Campanile, it was open and for $2 i caught the lift to the top to be treated to more panoramic views of the city and the bay, under the threatening weight of 62 huge bells. Thankfully they didn't chime as i think that i would still be deaf today.
I eventually satisfied my hunger in a rather uninspiring Thai restaurant. The decor was erring on faded but the food was amazingly tasty and a very good price. I had time to kill so i read my book for a while and ordered the only dessert on the menu. Shaved ice over beans. I had no idea whaat to expect. It arrived and i was none the wiser except to see a sundae glass full of red beans, like chilli beans topped with plain shaved ice. Try to imagine what it tasted like, i did and was delighted by the first spoonful. Sweet and delicate, soft beans in a syrup sauce, infused with coconut cream and little chunks of coloured jelly for added texture, truly amazing, i wish now that i had taken a photograph of it to show you all.
I caught up with Zach a little after 8pm, got completely lost driving south and ended up navigating my way over several bay bridges and through central San Francisco in the dark, which was interesting. Eventually getting on the correct highway and heading back to Ben Lomond.