Friday, August 17, 2007

Just another work day...

(I know I'm supposed to continue with Adventures in Sweden, but I'm taking a vacation from my vacation postings.)

I went to work today. But instead of being stuck in Cube World I was in Bolinas, a tiny, tiny town about 30 miles north of San Francisco. Lately Bolinas has become the collision of hippies vs. yuppies. Good thing development in the town is practically non-existent; a water board basically halted any new developments by placing a moratorium on new water meters (no water = no house).

Today, instead of staring at computer monitors and getting cross-eyed I tried to keep the sun out of my eyes, having left my sunglasses in my car. Instead of sitting at my desk wishing I was outside, I was outside taking a walk on the beach feeling the warm sun on my skin. Instead of eating the same ol' lunch, I feasted on yummy Baja shrimp tacos from Bolinas Cafe. Instead of taking a 10-minute afternoon walking break around Emeryville with views of I-80 freeway or the Amtrak station, I took a 3-hour bike ride along Bolinas-Fairfax Rd to Alpine Dam on Mt. Tamalpais, enjoying spectacular breath-taking views of the coast, San Francisco, and even East Bay since it was such a clear day. Instead people watching worker bees I was people watching the locals, some of whom are definitely interesting characters (e.g., woman parading around in mismatched clothing and wearing a newspaper paper hat and her counterpart with the tin foil hat). Instead of seeing people mill about Peet's Coffee, I saw people milling about the Free Box, rummaging through the latest additions.

Views from the mesa in Bolinas.

Not surprising to see anti-war/anti-Bush sentiments in Bolinas.

On the other side of the lagoon...

... Stinson Beach!

Sun setting over the hill...

Just a sliver of the moon...

If you click on the picture you'll see an orange moon, reflecting the light of the sun.

As an added bonus, I caught part of an episode of The Simpsons, a show I love but haven't seen in years. Homer is spot on: "Yeah, and if you get kicked out of that one you're going straight in the army where you'll be sent straight to America's latest military quagmire. Where will it be? North Korea? Iran? Anything's possible with Commander Cuckoo-Bananas in charge."
(see the clip here)

Another Homer line: "Oookay, let's make some magic here. I wiped a booger on your shirt, made a dog and a cat kiss, I swiped a bolted-down TV from a Holiday Inn (Cut to Homer in confessional box) I coveted the wife in Jaws 2, I lied to a waiter, I masturbated eight-million times, and I have no plans to stop masturbating in the future. (Darts out confessional door) Wahoo I'm clean! In your face Lord!"

I wish every work day was like today.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Swedish bröllop (wedding)

My European vacation continued...

Saturday July 28, 2007

I slept most of the night, only waking up a couple of times but able to fall asleep each time. One of the times I woke up Mom started talking to me about not being able to fall asleep. I must have been extremely tired or my ear plugs worked extremely well, either way I slept through Mom’s restlessness - her walking around the room, taking a shower, and even her blow drying her hair. All my sleeping caused us to miss the breakfast buffet (I know! It could have been 10 buffet meals!). When my uncle found out we missed breakfast, he immediately walked up to the receptionist and somehow sweet talked the receptionist into allow us to pack sandwich ingredients to go. I need to learn how he did this.

My cousin's wedding was held in Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), a former pagan-cultic-center-turned-Catholic church. This wedding was a first of many for me as far as weddings go – the first Swedish wedding in the oldest church I've been in (built in the 11th century), the first wedding at a church with an “active” cemetery (parishioners are still buried here), the first wedding presided over by a black Swedish-speaking minister, the first wedding where there was an uneven number of bridesmaids (2) to groomsmen (1), the first wedding where the bride and groom walked down the aisle together, and the first wedding I didn’t cry at (probably because I couldn't understand what was said).

Wedding party - 2 sisters and 1 brother

The reception was held at Odinsborg restaurant, next to the church. The service was slow and I can’t say the food was worth the wait (though I'm sure it cost just as much as a meal at a 4-star restaurant). We started with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and salad (the meal was supposed to include pita bread, but I didn’t get any). The entrée took forever to come out and consisted of overly-done beef (and I usually like well-done beef) with a salty brown sauce, a thick slice of boiled tomato, a PIECE of broccoli, and fried potatoes (best part of the meal) with a cream sauce.

The strawberry mousse wedding cake was really good!

Even toilet flusher says "I Do." The small drop on the right is for a small flush (i.e., requires little water), while the big drop on the left is for times when you need to call upon waters of the Amazon River to take care of the job.

More to come...

Sverige, ja!

My European vacation...

July 26, 2007 - Philadelphia – local time 17:12

After pulling an all nighter to finish some work, it wasn’t surprising that I slept for most of the flight. Since arriving at SFO at 05:40 I’ve ate two peaches, two nectarines, one banana, and one cheese roll from Arizmendes. Apparently my dad packed a few fruit trees for my mom to take on the flight. Between my relatives and I, somehow we managed to consume it all before arriving in Stockholm. It’s a good thing I forgot to bring my snacks.

July 27, 2007 - Welcome to Sweden, land of Volvos, IKEA, and smorgasborgs!

Eventually we made our way to downtown Uppsala, where we stayed at the "luxurious" Hotel Svava (aka Comfort Inn), which was not much bigger than my bedroom at home.

I left mom napping at the hotel while I went out for a jog along the “river”, which was the size of a creek. The route started in downtown and took you away from the city and out to open fields within about 15 minutes. At some point I felt like I was in the boonies, expecting to see corn fields (or potato fields since it's Sweden??) around the bend. I soon found out found out I was jogging along a path named after Carl Linnaeus (also known as Carl von Linné, who is often called the Father of Taxonomy for creating a system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms) so it was fitting that this route lead to a nature preserve where you can watch birds frolicking near a marsh from a birding hut. Back in the city I jogged up to Uppsala Castle and here is where the rain started. It was a light sprinkle that turned into a downpour forcing me to seek shelter under a restaurant awning. The heavy rain barely lasted longer than Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” song.

Dinner was at the Chinese Palace; little did I know this was the first of NINE buffet meals I would consume over the course of my vacation. The menu was a mix of Chinese and Japanese food – I hope Swedes know the difference between Chinese and Japanese food! The food was ok and the watermelon was really good! Lack of sleep finally caught up to me and I was caught falling asleep/nodding off during dinner.

After dinner I again left mom at the hotel and took a stroll around downtown. It was past 9 PM, but was still light out (Sweden isn't nicknamed Land of the Midnight Sun for nothing). I walked up these stairs to get a shot of the sunset when some guy walked by and said, “Hey, hey! If you want to take a beautiful picture, take a picture of me!” Cheese ball!

Though it was a Friday night, not many people were out and about. August is popular vacation time and often businesses close while owners are on vacation. There were some clubs and bars open, but the clientèle barely looked old enough to drink. They were dressed in tight jeans that taper down (I later saw this was the typical European fashion trend). I didn’t see many hot blond-hair, blue-eyed men (not even not hot ones!).

What's the fascination with Texas?

I'm not lovin' it!

I wonder what they sell here? (Later found out it translates to "Final Sale")

More to come...