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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

San Francisco Bay Area, USA: Filled My Impressive Memory

May, 2001

is a place in my "Must Talk" lists. And Berkeley was a place where I arrived first. I actually e-mail many of my friends when I was studying there in Berkeley mentioning a lot about "Berkeley". Those ones were gone. I should have kept them all.

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First time in Berkeley was strange; there were a lot of weird people. Some were real weird, some were faked weird, some were weird and homeless and some were homeless. For me, most of them were weird and homeless. Some were gross. Some were faked handicap. Before we came over here in Berkeley, my uncle's friend's Japanese wife told us that "Berkeley is strange". We were doubt about that. One week after we moved in my place and surveyed around Berkeley, we just realised, these dudes were jam-packed.. hehe. The reason for this is because Berkeley offers shelter and services for homeless and transient people.

Berkeley looks old. UC Berkeley has been existed like hundred years. It is an oldest campus of all Cal. Berkeley got smell. And it’s a Berkeley smell. Everyone (students in my school) called it 'Berkeley smell'. Since my first step into some Berkeley places e.g. my school and the housing center, I smelt it. My first day in Berkeley: after I went to pay my tuition fee there in school, I went to the housing center to find a place to live. Got a few listings, but called them the next day. I stayed in San Jose for my first few days in SF Bay Area in my uncle’s friend's home.

First of my phone calls (to house listings), it was a funny conversation. Well, maybe not for me. I was not sure why the woman I called was laughing at me for the whole conversation. I thought my English would probably not get too funny accent to make her laugh this much. We made an appointment the same day (also with other places). We all (my uncle’s friend, my sister and I) drove all the way from San Jose. We went to see the other landlord before getting to her house. She took me to her “NICE” backyard (She claimed it). Well, I took a quick look then said good-bye right away. You can imagine how her opened house was and how her backyard was.

We all back to the car and laughed on her NICE backyard, then moved to my first-call house. On the way in downtown Berkeley, I was getting bad stomach ache feeling like going to the restroom so bad. We followed Yahoo map to her house but still could not find, then she and her husband drove out to lead us there.

We finally got there and she left us alone (in my to-be room). That was my great moment to quickly get into the restroom in there. With window opened, I was soooooo happy releasing my stuff :P. Hur, eventually. After I finsihed with my business in her restroom. I got out with decisive answer with “Yes! We take this house”. They were like “Are you sure??”. We ended up with this house in a real short discussion.

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My Cozy Place and Around

I finally moved into this house with my sister (She was with me in Berkeley for 2 weeks then moved to San Diego). Not sure why I suddenly decided for this house, but while I was looking through the opened window, I felt really imposing and cozy. When we both first moved there, the house owners (both of them - husband and wife) were very kind to us. They took us out around almost everyday before my school. She said to me that first she got my call, he could sense something that I would be the person to live there in her house. She could touch that I was kinda funny person. She mentioned that noone asked her for reducing the rental, but I negotiated a lot. That's why it was funny on my first time talking to her.

I was actually not so "normal" that time. I was just dumped, man. She confessed to me first time she saw me she thought I was an addict - she noticed by my awful look. She seemed like she really liked my sister because my sister was talkative and she looked more "normal" than me. Well, I knew that but I just could not pretend to be happy all the time.

San Francisco Tours & Activities

One month later, I got many many friends and that suddenly took me out of the blue, but nobody knew I tried hardly to hide my tears while my class was going on. BTW, by time to time, my house owners and I spent more times together on chatting and drinking. Right in front of the kitchen bar, we always drank and shared personal stuff. They said "You are crazy", I said "Yes I am :D". That was great. That was cozy. They drank, they smoked, I talked more and more telling them how my day was. Most of the times, we finished up with "I Was DrunK". I love it though.

Her cooking could compete with hotel restaurants. She liked to cook, sometimes she made a special meal, she did not forget to take part of it for me and put the plate on my stairs. She's not American, she's Korean. No matter western or Korean food, it was greater than great. Anyway, my apparent favorite menu did not need taking any afford to cook it; it was just fresh oyster with a kind of Korean source. OMG, really miss it. Really miss the way we sit and talked in front of the kitchen bar in evening time.

We met each other again in June last year (2005) by my nice surprised visit. We had Korean food at downtown Oakland, then moved for some drinks at Berkley Arena.

I lived nearby Claremont Resort & Spa and environment around there was terrific. If talking about Claremont, Claremont Resort & Spa always pops up in my head. I'm sure people around there think so too. By taking 5 minutes walk from Claremont Resort, it took me to College Avenue - College Avenue is the main shopping drag in Rockridge. By day it's crowded with shoppers buying fresh flowers, used books, and clothing; by night the same folks are back for dinner and locally brewed ales in the numerous restaurants and pubs. Most restaurants were always packed on Friday night. To drive along College Avenue from Berkeley, it takes right to downtown Oakland.

If you read the next chapter, you will have an idea how much I love Berkeley and East Bay

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Travel Around Berkeley and East Bay Neighbourhoods
Auther: Eugene Liang

{I invited my Berkeley brother, Eugene to be an hornour writer for this chapter. He's from Brazil but very good in Russian food cooking - his master piece menu was "Chicken Straganoff". He's good at writing expression too. Enjoy his journey :D}

sf bay area map Before going there, let me brief on San Francisco Bay Area and Easy Bay first, *The San Francisco Bay Area, also known as the Bay Area, is a geographically diverse metropolitan area that surrounds, and is named after, San Francisco Bay in Northern California. Home to almost eight million people, it is composed of cities, towns, military bases, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks sprawled over nine counties and connected by a massive network of roads, highways, railroads, and commuter rail.

The Bay Area, unlike the typical metropolitan area, contains several distinct urban and suburban centers. While San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area (having surpassed San Francisco in the 1990 census), for most of its history San Francisco was the largest city in the region, and remains the traditional and cultural center. The metropolitan area comprising the city of San Francisco together with Oakland and San Jose is the fifth-largest consolidated metropolitan area in the United States, behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington-Baltimore.

*East Bay - The eastern side of the bay, dominated by the city of Oakland but also including Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont, Livermore, Hayward and several small cities, is known locally as the East Bay. The East Bay is split into two regions, the inner East Bay, which sits on the Bay coastline, and the outer East Bay, consisting of inland valleys separated from the inner East Bay by hills and mountains.

Source: (with thanks)


P!NK said...

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ggberry said...

Thanks P!nk !

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