Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Californication

One side never ending coast line and the other snow covered peaks. California's evergreen trees and clear skies even in the middle of winter make it an amazing place to visit and the most wonderful place to live. After 5 months stuck in NJ I landed in SFO airport and was picked up by one of my good friends, Garima. I was excited to have the opportunity to see all my friends and family over the holidays.

The skies were clear and blue and the weather was warm enough for T-shirts and shorts. I headed to Roseville for my dad's art show and then hurried to meet my friend from Argentina whom had arrived the same night. On the way to meet up with her my friend who had gone to the airport to pick her up decided to pull a prank on me. My friend Tim said that they could not find her and had just left the airport to go back home without her. Of course I almost had a heart attack and scared the passengers in my car. Luckily it was a joke. 


Sole and I met in Machu Picchu two years ago, ever since we have been meeting every 6 months to travel together. It's always great to see her again. The distance makes me appreciate the friendship I have with Sole even more. Tim, Garima, Sole and I had a much anticipated reunion. We were all exhausted and headed to bed for a slumber party. 


We woke up to cook a typical Indian breakfast of aloo paratha and chai tea. After the filling breakfast we headed to SF for some exploring. First the Golden Gate Bridge walk, then the painted ladies, and Lombard street. We enjoyed clam chowder in a bread bowl for lunch at pier 39 (fishermans warf) and watched the sea lions fight with each other. We headed to the mission where we appreciated the street murals and the Latin culture. After the mission we headed to the Castro, which is the gay district of SF. We enjoyed window shopping and walking through the streets admiring the holiday decorations. 


That evening I took Sole to my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Saturn Cafe in Berkeley, to meet up with my friend Daniel. After a Space Cowboy veggie burger and a Turkish coffee milkshake we headed to the Claremont Hotel bar to enjoy the view of SF. Sitting on the lookout deck under warming lamps we enjoyed talking and fancy cocktails admiring the sparkling lights of SF across the bay.

The next morning we woke up and headed to see mi abuelita in Modesto. She recently had a second stroke, but is doing much better. She thinks I am her daughter (my mom) but that's ok because my mom is pretty cool. I am sure she wonders why I talk like a gringa (really badly), since my moms Spanish is perfect. After hanging out with mi abuelita and my cousin we headed back to Benicia to get ready for a night out in SF. I picked up my friend Hanna and we headed to SF for some drinks and a walk around Union Square. The weather was perfect. We enjoyed a couple different bars and a stroll down the main street, Market, where all the crazes come out at night. After some wonderful adventures in interestingly decorated bars we headed home. 


The next morning I dropped off my rental car and we picked up my friend Effie from Bart and went back to Benicia to prepare for Christmas dinner. We took a walk by the water and down the Main Street in Benicia. We feasted on turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce home cooked by my father, veggies, biscuits and stuffing. After dinner we enjoyed coco cake made my Sole and some pumpkin pie. My whole family got together, including my brother, and we sung holiday songs while Effie played the ukulele. After the singing we did some swing dancing followed by salsa and cumbia. We opened presents and went to bed hoping santa would leave us some more presents.


We woke up the next morning to have a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs. Sole's friends from Buenos Aires came to visit from LA. We all drove to Berkeley to visit the beautiful UC Berkeley campus, and then to SF. We went to Ocean Beach and then out to eat in China Town. As a surprise Effie and I drove Sole to Coit Tower lookout. The view at night of the bay bridge and all the lit buildings is absolutely fabulous.

The following morning we woke up at 4am to drive up to Tahoe to go skiing. On the way up we picked up my friend Brooke. We skied and snowboarded all day through the evergreen pine trees, and despite the poor snow fall in California, we still managed to have a good time. It was Sole's firs time, but she did great on skis, she only fell when I was watching. We went to Tahoe to meet my friend Stephanie one of my classmates from medical school at a popular German restaurant in South Tahoe. 

After completely stuffing ourselves on spaetzle and German beers, we headed back to Brooke's parents home on the top of a mountain near Placerville. We went to bed in an oversized bed and woke up for brunch. Sole, Brooke, Brooke's mom and I went out to Cosmic Cafe (where Brooke and I use to chill back in the day, before I moved to the east coast). We had a very organic brunch and explored the caves that cosmic cafe uses as additional seating area. After brunch we said our goodbyes and Sole and I returned to the bay. 


We prepared for a night out dancing. We picked up Garima and headed to meet up with Sole's Argentinian friend. We went out dancing at The Cafe in the Castro. It was supposedly Sole's last night in Cali.

The next morning I drove Sole to the airport, we said our goodbyes and I started back home. Just Before I got back on the bridge I felt the urge to check my phone. Lucky I did because Sole's flight had been canceled and my whats-app was littered with distraught text messages. I turned back and picked her up from the airport. We sat at a Peets coffee and tea and tried to work out the situation. The people at the cafe were so nice, they saw that we were having a lot of trouble so they brought us free mochas and cookies. It felt so nice that someone cared. We left them a nice tip and a hand drawn thank you card. We were able to book a flight for the next day. 


We headed back to Benicia to meet with my dad. Sole and I had a relaxing walk by the water. We headed to my aunts house in Sacramento for a Christmas gathering. We played White Elephant game and Sole and I won a Kindle, which was perfect since that's exactly what Sole wanted for her trip. 

I realized that sometime things happen for a reason. Sole and I were able to spend an extra day together. She got exactly what she wanted for Xmas and so did I. 

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