California called. I came, I saw and I wrote down what California showed me.
The one thing that strikes you right way is the diversity of the people. Whites, Latinos, Indians, Chinese, Blacks, Arabs, etc. And so my exotic accent is not so exotic anymore. Having said that, I do stand out sometimes because everyone seems to be overdressed. I once went in gym clothes to a mall and I looked like a homeless guy. Swanky cars and flashy electronic gadgets are a norm. I definitely need to upgrade on both fronts. And everyone seems to be in hurry all the time. The people are not as friendly as in MN, but they don’t talk about the weather as much. Instead they talk about work and ‘networking’. I miss the weather talk in MN.
The area is too urban. I miss the parks, the lakes and the Mississippi in Minneapolis. But the trees here are cool. See the picture. Most homes have nice front yard gardens instead of the boring lawns. Maybe that’s because of the year round growing season. The farmers market is great. You are spoilt for choices by the staggering variety. After all, half of the nations fruits and vegetables is grown in CA.
The streets are bad for biking. I will talk about that in detail in my next post about not having a car in California. Streets don’t have numbers here and it can get very confusing without a GPS. But having street names is fun too. And some of the Spanish names remind me of Goa. And there are a countless suffixes for street names, viz. street, avenue, way, boulevard, court, circle, parkway etc. Public transit buses don’t give transfer tickets if you have to take a connecting bus. But the city train system is more extensive here. Oh and this is cool, when the walk sign comes on at some traffic lights, there is this weird chirping sound to remind you to cross the street.
I have heard this place is great for outdoors. I got my first taste of it through a strenuous but thoroughly worthwhile, 5 hour hike in the Pinnacles. Its good to see mountains around you and farmland cultivated with a whole bunch of things other than corn.
California is calling, where are you?