Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Golden Gate and Hibachi

We walked around town with Elliot trying to find any place open for lunch. We stumbled upon a Chinese restaurant, and without saying too much, it was the sketchiest place we've been to so far. After our psychologically induced stomach aches passed, we visited the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because we had dinner plans with Joe's friends and coworkers, we didn't have time to sit in the southbound traffic to come back across. Still, the view was beautiful. We walked around Golden Gate Park for a little bit and then headed to Benihana's in Japan Town. The ten of us enjoyed the entertaining chefs and the delicious food they prepared for us. It definitely made up for our awful lunch! :)

Thanks for reading,
Joe and Sophia

Monday, May 30, 2011

Silicon Valley

Yesterday, we traveled south along the bay to visit Sophia's cousin, Nima, in Palo Alto. Nima and her wonderful fiancé, Dev, live very close to Stanford and took us to a beautiful restaurant nearby. Our meals were massive, but we successfully finished ours. :) It was great seeing Nima after such a long time.

We then drove through the Stanford campus and headed further south to Mountain View. We toured the entire Googleplex, raced Google bikes around the campus, enjoyed homegrown fruit and pure sugarcane ginger ale.

Around dinner time, we found our way to Santa Clara for an evening at the Mohr's home. Fortunately, their son Jack was also home from Georgetown. Tom cooked a delicious meal and Pageen baked an incredible dessert. We shared stories of summer plans, family history and grandpa Tredwell. It was great reflecting on what a wonderful man grandpa Tredwell is.

We're really glad we have family so close. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square

It seems like it''s drizzling almost every morning, but around noon, the weather clears up. We walked to the Fisherman's Wharf, on northern tip of the peninsula. When we weren't avoiding/swatting away seagulls, we wandered around the pier. The views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown were stunning.

We headed back to meet up with Elliot for lunch at this cute place on the Square, but the line wrapped around the building. Instead, we had a nice brunch at a cafe down the street, facing the park. It started to rain again, but we really wanted to see more of the piers.

We went to Ghirardelli Square first, sampled chocolate, and watched the sun reappear. The gray skies on one side of the city coupled with the beaming sun was a gorgeous sight. Elliot met up with us to tour Pier 39, also on the northern end of The Embarcadero. This pier had more attractions, like seal lions, ladies on tightropes, a carousel and plenty of fried desserts. While the sun set, we all hiked back up Nob Hill.

Tomorrow, we have an exciting day planned! Stay tuned. :)

Love you all,
Joe and Sophia

Coit Tower

It was overcast all morning again. After it cleared up, I walked over to Coit Tower, a monument on Telegraph Hill. The hills were so steep that the sidewalks had stairs on them! At the top of the stairs, there was a beautiful 360 degree view of San Francisco. You could see the Transamerica Pyramid, the Bay Bridge, Nob Hill, Treasure Island, and the piers.

Murals and frescoes were painted on the walls inside of the tower, and an elevator takes you up to the very top. I eavesdropped on a tour guide's conversation, and she said normally you can see for miles, but since it's so foggy, today wouldn't be a good day to pay to see the view. So, I didn't. I roamed around the tower, gazed at the tops of mansions that had gardens and swimming pools on the roofs, and listened to the parrots squawk.

I walked back down and just wandered through the city. I stumbled upon the official Beat Generation museum and spent nearly an hour flipping through Hunter S. Thompson and Bukowski books, talking to the owner, and beaming at all of the Jack Kerouac memorabilia.

When Joe and Elliot came back, we headed to an Italian Restaurant with a couple of their work friends/classmates. We walked across the street for gelato and the employees offered so many samples, we didn't have room for any more! I'm still amazed at how friendly everyone is here. It's contagious and inspiring.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lombard Street

My dad mentioned the "crookedest" street, so I went to visit it today! It wasn't until I got to Lombard Street when I realized I probably took the most strenuous path to get there.

Once I reached the bottom of the street, I was amazed with how busy it was. People from China and India to Germany and Brazil were laughing with all the traffic congesting Lombard. Cabs, segways, children, cars, bikes, and even tennis balls were rolling down the street. I also ran into someone in my accounting program at UNT (the world is shrinking!).

I relaxed a bit before meeting Joe at his bus stop. Joe had another busy day of orientation classes, but he's really enjoying his time in Silicon Valley. We had dinner at Tuk Tuk Thai restaurant and later picked up some tiramisu down the street. Tomorrow, we will meet my cousin, Nima, for a birthday dinner downtown! Keep reading. :)

Love you all,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Financial District

I woke up to the rings of cable cars and the light rain hitting the window. As soon as the rain stopped, I walked through China Town again on my way to the financial district. It was more lively this time around.

It seemed pretty quiet for such a busy city, mainly because many people were quickly devouring their lunch at nearby cafes. I saw everything from street performances and hustling business people to petitioners and protesters. I window-shopped for a while, grabbed some coffee and headed toward Union Park. I was pretty tired once I got back from the two mile walk (or hike, rather).

After meeting Joe at his bus stop, we headed back to the apartment. I made pasta and grilled cheeses and we watched the Mavs game (another close one!). I had plans to visit Joe at work tomorrow, but we might reschedule. Joe's been pretty tired, but you'll hear from him soon! :)

With love,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

San Francisco

This city is incredible. Not only is the weather near perfect, but the people are jovial and extremely positive.

On Monday, we grabbed lunch at a quiet Italian cafe, and after walking up all the steep hills, it was like we never even ate. We visited China Town and the strolled through parks along Pacific Avenue. We keep discovering vibrant, colorful places on each street.

On Tuesday, Joe started his first day at his internship. Although he was drained today, he has a lot to look forward to this summer. The commute is manageable and the campus has plenty of food and amenities to offer.

I caught a glimpse of a park on my way to the grocery store, and later that day, I checked it out. The park was full of dogs catching frisbees, children playing tag, and businessmen eating lunch. I kept getting distracted from my new book as soon as kids cheerfully laughed or dogs laid down lazily next to me.

I walked over to a bookstore a few blocks away (which felt like dozens after climbing those hills!) and lost track of time perusing through all the books I'd someday like to read. In the evening, Joe and I met at an Indian restaurant next to his bus stop.

I plan to discover more beautiful places and people tomorrow.
Love you all,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Palos Verdes and Hermosa Beach

Yesterday morning, Dulari prepared scrambled masala eggs for us and planned our last afternoon in LA. We took a short drive to Palos Verdes and hiked on the cliffs. It was a much different experience than Florida, with the mountainous terrain rather than long, flat beaches. We saw dolphins swimming after boats, people surfing, and pelicans swooping. It was cloudy all morning, but the sun started to peek out halfway through our hike.

We drove around the area and gaped at the mansions on our left and the Pacific Ocean on our right. Dulari took us to Hermosa Beach for lunch. We walked along the pier and found a delightful Italian restaurant. Our waitress even gave us dessert on the house!

Saying bye to Dulari was difficult, but we're looking forward to coming back to LA!

We set off for San Francisco in the evening and reached downtown by midnight. We can't wait to explore the city today!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Los Angeles!

Before leaving Flagstaff on Friday, we stopped by a quaint, bohemian coffee shop/vegetarian restaurant. The journey was pretty dull until we hit the first sign of LA traffic. We were welcomed with lots of hugs from Nrupaal, Anu, Fia and Fua once we reached downtown.

First, they took us up the winding roads to the Hollywood sign. The steep hills and sharp corners reminded us of the streets in Hungary. Next, we went to Hollywood Blvd. and visited Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater and the Walk of Fame. Seeing all the attractions made us think of Sonya and I Love Lucy! :)

We had a late dinner at this charming Italian bistro off Canon Dr., next to Beverly Hills. After a very filling meal of paninis, pasta, and Milan-imported tiramisu, we all drove down Beverly and Rodeo, and visited LA Live on our way home.

On Saturday, we feasted on homemade bhel, chole, puri and samosas. We all traveled to the Santa Monica Pier, where we enjoyed coffee, amusement park rides, the Pacific Ocean, the boardwalk, and of course, people-watching. We walked down 3rd Street and resisted all the shopping temptations.

For dinner, the six of us went to Thai Town (in Hollywood) and met up with Dulari, Sushil and Kanchan. Even after a full meal of Panang curry, Pad Thai and coconut water (almost comparable to India's!), we managed to squeeze some dessert in at the 101 Cafe. We indulged in chocolate waffle brownies smothered in ice cream. Only Sushil and Joe finished theirs. :P

Once we reached the apartment, Anu, Sushil and Kanchan took us to the helipad. We were able to bypass security to see the entire city lit up from 18 stories above.

Again, we are amazed by the generosity of family. It feels great to be here!

Joe and Sophia

From NM to AZ

We started later than expected and were further delayed because of a hail storm near the Arizona border. Outside of Flagstaff, we took a long detour to visit the meteor crater ... which was unfortunately closed. The setting sun behind snow-capped mountains made the ride not as dismal anymore. Flagstaff had about three inches of snow the night before and the temperature lingered at about 43 degrees.

After touring downtown Flagstaff, we met our wonderful hosts for the evening. We enjoyed long conversations over homemade strawberry shortcakes. Many thanks to the Rand family for such a nice night.

We are already eager to come back to hike and explore the natural beauty of Flagstaff.

With love,
Joe and Sophia

Thursday, May 19, 2011

California, here we come!

Hello again!

We began our roadtrip to San Francisco yesterday, pulling into Tucumcari, New Mexico at around 8:30 p.m. The drive was long, but we kept ourselves entertained with audio books, Hindi music, and lots and lots of snacks. We had dinner at a historic Route 66 Mexican restaurant. We've had better enchiladas and rellenos. ;)

This morning we woke up at 5:30 a.m., against our will, because there was a fire in our building!
On the bright side, no damage occurred and we were able to see the sunrise.

Today, we will head into Arizona and tour the Flagstaff area, perhaps a trip to the Grand Canyon or any of the other natural beauties.

Stay tuned for more updates. We will try to blog every day, assuming we have a connection. Happy reading!