Friday, September 10, 2010

Peninsula Open Space Preserve

This past Labor Day weekend, we took an afternoon to venture to the West side of Route 84 off of I-280. I have heard from a coworker the mountain are nice and the drive is windy.

We headed up hill and in deed the roads are very windy, not unlike our previous trip to the Big Basin National Park.

However when we reached a certain point, where we found a restaurant at a cross road, we decided to head back. We didn't really have any destination and our cell phones have lost all signal for us to look up any place of interest. Relying on our GPS, we were brough to a stretch of Old Honda Rd where the width of the road barely allow one car to go by. It was heading up the hill. At one point, there was no tree but the dried out grass. I suddenly felt nerveous because I have no idea where it is taking us to and I can't see behind a turn. So I decided to turn back and take a bigger road.

On our way back on Skyline, we past by a parking lot and decided to stop and look at the scenery. We stumbled onto a place called the Pennisula Open Space Preseve - Windy Peak. That may not be the exact name and I will have to look it up. After only a 10 minutes hike, we are at a peak where we can see the whole valley on one side, and the pacific ocean on the other. It was indeed breath taking . I am glad we found this place and we will definitely return whenever we feel like looking at the great scene again.

San Bruno Fire

I don't watch live TV that much these days and didn't even know something terrifying had happened before my sister in Bangkok alerted me to it. A major gas line has exploded in a housing area just 20 over miles North of where I live. It looks terrible from the photos and videos posted on line. So many houses burned down and I hope no more people other than the reported lost their lives.

It is also bad for those who lost their house. They can't just rebuild on the land in the near future. I hope they get all the assistance they need to get back to their feed, from the government, insurance companies and all the aid organizations.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay

It was a warm Sunday afternoon, the day before the Independence Day. After church service and lunch in Milpitas, our friend suggested we should go to Half Moon Bay to cool off. At the time we left, it was about 94 degree in San Jose.

This was our second trip to Half Moon Bay. The first time we were there, we managed to find beach with paid parking. However the beach wasn't very pleasing. This time, we went South of Route 92 to the Ritz Carlton. Our friend, being there before directed us straight to the guard house leading in to the hotel. We asked for a parking pass to go to the Coastal Access. With the passcode, we were able to park our car at the parking structure for free. From there we could get to the hotel, the cliff, and also go down to a beautiful stretch of beach. It's indeed a not so well known spot in Half Moon Bay. Before we left, we also witness a Sunset wedding right on the cliff next to the hotel.

When we got to Half Moon Bay about 45 minutes after we left San Jose, the temperature around at the Pacific Coast were at least 20 degree lower. It was indeed a brilliant idea to go there an cool off.

World Cup Final in San Jose

Before moving to the Bay Area, I looked forward very much for this year World Cup. Back in Chicago, I had only a couple of friends who watched soccer once a while. I did manage to put together a couple of gathering and pulled some friends together during WC '06. However they were more of social gathering than soccer party.

However, when after arriving here, I thought I would find more friends who are into soccer. And I ended up watching all but one game by myself, or with my wife, just barely. So when the final game came, I decided I would join a crowd and found out a local TV station were showing the game on the street in downtown San Jose.

Early in the morning, we got ready and drove to downtown Mountain View. Since we didn't know what to expect in San Jose, we'd decided not to drive down there. Instead, we took the VTA Light Rail off Castro. We were probably the only two person wearing any kind of jersey on the street. There were no soccer atmosphere on Castro, although I knew at least an Irish pub showing the match.

This was the first time we took the Light Rail. The Mountain View station is the last station at the North end of the line. Each one way ticket is only $2 flat. We bought the $4 ticket which allows unlimited rides within an eight hour period. However, when we arrive in San Jose 45 minutes later, no one ever came to check for our tickets.

The trip to San Jose, as I said, was a long one. The line goes through a few cities; Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Santa Clara and San Jose. It passed by many well known companies such as Nasa, Lockheed Martin, Cisco, etc. Nevertheless, we will probably not take the light right to go to San Jose anymore in the future because it simple takes too long.

We we arrived in San Jose near San Carlos and 1st street where the screen was set up, a few dozens people has arrived. Many of them have brought their own lawn chairs and found good space in front. We had thought of bringing lawn chairs but again had no idea if there would be too many people. San Jose Earthquake has also setup some booth and games for kids to get involved in. They have players and cheer leaders going around talking to people, trying to promote the team. I could no recognize any of the players.

By the time the game was starting, the crowd has grown bigger. There must have been a least 500 people. It may not been any where close to Madrid or Amsterdam, or even San Francisco Union Square that day, but it sure beat watching the game by ourselves at home. It must have been one of the best soccer watching experience I ever had. And the more important thing was our team won the tournament, and crowned the World Champion.

It was not our first time in the area. Once we had to pick up a package from Fairmont Hotel close by. And it was good we had been there because that's our little secret rest room place. They even have an entrance on 1st street, near their Spa, right where the rest rooms are.

It was a good day, once I would remember for a long time.

Recent memories

I started this blog in September, 2010. So many of the events mentioned here before this are recollections. However, majority of them are still fresh in my mind. That's the reason I am writing them down because one don't get many chances of starting a whole new life in a new place in a life time.

A quick recap

November 2009, a week before Thanksgiving ...
- Landed in the morning at SFO, picked up by my the person interviewed me on the phone, went straight to the company. Met a few people. Left for the airport at around 4.30pm. Took off and went back to Chicago. That was my quick trip to the Bay Area.

January 2010 ...
- On a cruise ship ported at St. Thomas, Virgin Island. Phone rang unexpectedly and was told they offered me a job.

End of March, 2010 ...
- Last day of work in Chicago. Flew to SFO to look for housing. Visited a dozen apartments and finally decided on a house in Mountain View. Spent last day driving around. Visited Half Moon Bay, and quick drive to San Francisco.

April, 2010 ...
- Moved out of house in Chicago, and started brand new job in the Bay Area. Moved into new rented house at the end of April.