I had a really excellent day today! I have the loan of a friend's car for a few weeks, so me and some other friends headed down to Monterey to go to the Aquarium but more generally to get the fuck out of Berkeley. We had a lovely time! My friend E injured her back a few weeks ago, so we had to break the trip in San Jose; after some misdirections, we wound up at Barefoot Coffee
in Los Gatos, which is now the only place I've seen a cafe Cubano for sale outside a Cuban restaurant. Thanks, espresso map
Less than ten miles south of Los Gatos we hit a bump, literally, in the form of a piece of debris that flew across the highway and went right under the front driver side tire. We pulled off the road at a handy country club literally half a mile down the highway and discovered that the tire was in fact flat; luckily, my friend had a spare in the trunk and, secondary to the horrible not-trip to Austria in January
, my dad renewed our AAA membership and sent me my card in the mail, so we only lost about 40 minutes to calling AAA and waiting for them to come change the tire, which they did for free. It was a beautiful day to be hanging out on the side of the driveway to a country club, let me tell you.
When we finally got to Monterey we were starving, but thanks to Yelp we had pre-identified an absolutely delicious vegan Mexican restaurant
, and after stuffing our faces, we went down to the aquarium. It was indeed really cool, although the price was not cheap, even with a student discount. But! There were many fish and OTTERS and PENGUINS and PUFFINS, and it was generally really fun and awesome, and I was well-satisfied. Monterey is beautifully located, and the sand dunes and the ocean were beautiful.
On the way back we drove up the bay and through the Santa Cruz mountains, then hit Liang's Village Cuisine
for dinner. OM NOM SO DELICIOUS AND SO REASONABLY PRICED. The server asked if we'd been there before (me yes, my friends no), which only later did I realize might be because they may not see a lot of parties of white people wander in, particularly on a Friday night. But the food is so delicious! And then, because it is practically next door, we hit Fantasia Coffee
, albeit after a lot of wandering around semi-lost in the shopping center where it's located. But my friend E found a store selling some of the Chinese snacks she likes (she does Song Dynasty-era Chinese history), so even the wandering around wasn't a loss.
After I dropped people off at their domiciles in Berkeley I took the car and went driving aimlessly up in the hills--I went down Marin Rd. in lowest gear because it's just that steep, I doubled back up Grizzly Peak a few times, and then I wound up on Wildcat Canyon Road, up through the houses in Tilden, up Grizzly Peak again and to the Laurence Hall of Science parking lot to look at the view for a while before heading back down through the Botanical Gardens down to the Rim Way and past the stadium before back down into Berkeley proper. It was a beautiful night, the moon at first quarter and low in the sky over the bay, fog lying lightly over the city.
I could get used to this. Have I mentioned that I've been doing really well? I'm ridiculously, ridiculously busy with orals, but my mindset flipped about a month ago and now everything seems doable and mostly interesting and I'm generally in a very good mood. I just wish I could give some of my own recent good fortune and good mood to some of my friends who aren't doing so well.
Tomorrow I get to see about getting the tire repaired at the Toyota dealership, and on Monday I have to do a lot of paperwork and actual work and hopefully figure out why I still haven't been paid for one of last semester's gigs, but still: it was a good day, and a great adventure.