California ‘09 Recap


Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-04-2009

Two Flights, Two Train Rides and 1700km by road.

It’s time for me to relax for the few days before work starts.

My trip, albeit short, was very satisfying. I accomplished the Majority of the sights/ typical touristy things as I had planned.

My trip began in San Francisco after a short trip from SFO aboard BART to a friend’s place in North San Francisco. The view of San Francisco Bay was astonishing – Panoramic views of the downtown skyline and the bay reaching approximately 270 degrees. We even had roof access, so I grabbed some shots to later make into a panorama.

After the sun settles and photographing was no longer possible, we met up with many Waterloo Co-op students (approximately 9) and went out for dinner in Little Italy at a restaurant that claimed to be Sicilian. I wish my Italian was a lot better than it currently is so I could speak a few phrases to the guy who lured us into the restaurant with his seemingly forced and fake Italian accent.

After a bright and early 8 am wake up, we grabbed our rental from Enterprise who, contradictory to their statement “We’ll pick you up” denied to do so and told us to take a taxi to the depot. We picked a very plastic Dodge Caliber, and immediately set a course for the Golden Gate Bridge. We commented on the terrible build quality of the Dodge and said things like, “no wonder Chrysler is in so much financial trouble, this car is a POS!” Ironically, one of the first articles I read online after returning just happened to be this one which comments on the how the Caliber is one of the cars that sunk Chrysler.

After driving across the bridge, taking pictures and a toll of $6, we hit the Bay Bridge to head to LA. I manned the steering wheel first and I must say, it is a VERY long drive to SoCal. We reached our hotel sometime after 5 P.M., temporarily met up with some more Waterloo Co-ops, this time from San Diego, and then hit up Venice Beach just north of Santa Monica. Even though we brought our beach gear, we arrived way too late as the sun was already half set in the sky. The others went out that night, but I was much too tired, and passed out around 12 pm.

The next day, we checked out of the hotel around 10 AM and immediately went to Universal Studios Hollywood. I’m not really much of a fan of Theme Parks, as they tend to be severely overpriced and crowded, but luckily on a Sunday, it was practically devoid of people. In fact, many of the wait times for the rides were under 10 minutes.

The “famous” studio tour wasn’t very entertaining at all. The only thing worth looking at on that tour IMO, was the war of the worlds set. Seeing aircraft fuselage and parts scattered across seemingly nice houses is a nice change of landscape even if it’s fake.

Enough of the complaints. The other rides didn’t disappoint. The Simpsons Ride, Jurassic Park, and the Mummy were absolutely entertaining – in fact, we rode Jurassic Park thrice just for the final drop!

After Universal Studios, we hit up the Hollywood sign for a little photo shoot (of course) and also the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We did not stay long for the walk, but enough to take a few photos, grab a coffee, and empty our bladders. Afterwards, we drove 2 hours to San Diego just getting in past 9. We once again met up with more Co-ops and shared a few drinks before settling for the night.

Before the near 8 hour drive up to Cupertino, we visited a gorgeous beach on Coronado Island, and had lunch with waterloo Co-ops working in SD. The drive was mostly uneventful, but that night I did visit One Infinite Loop for the first time!

The next day, I dropped off the rental in SF and Caltrained it Palo Alto where I decided to visit the Stanford University Campus. I’m blown away. Waterloo will have a very difficult time to even be able to start comparing to that awesome university. The sheer size and construction of the buildings is impressive. Many of the buildings are built with stone, and look like they are built to last hundreds of years. Unfortunately the Hoover Tower was closed, so I was not able to get some shots from high up, but I heard the view from up there is pretty decent.

After, I met up with some more Waterloo Co-ops working in Cupertino at Apple. We purchased some Apple swag at the Campus store before enjoying dinner. The Apple Campus Store, also known as the The Company Store was an interesting visit. According to their website, it is the only store in the world where one can purchase official Apple branded clothing or accessories such as pens, coffee mugs, water bottles, etc.. I ended up coming home with two steel water bottles, a mug, and a t-shirt. I’ll keep one water bottle and a mug, but will likely pass the other water bottle to my sister or mother.

My last full day in California was a relaxing one. While my host spent the day working, I woke up late after a night of much needed rest and hit up a mall in San Jose for some summer clothes shopping. After my friend finished work, we went back to The Company Store where I bought nice Incase laptop slingbag. At the eng of the day, we enjoyed a pitcher of BJ’s Nutty Brewnette beer then hit up a hot tub. It has been a LONG time since I last hot tubbed it, and I must say, I forgot how relaxing it can be.

Comments (2)

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