San Francisco is an interesting place. Last month, I did a short visit up there with my bosses, Rudi Wiest and his wife Erna, and during that trip, the city reminded me of other times I had been there, and gave me new inspiration. We actually started out east of the city and worked our way into the city, and on the east bay, I visited some towns that I had never really been to - Walnut Creek, Alameda, and Berkeley, just to name a few. I was a little surprised that I had never been to those places, but I guess I didn't have much reason to go. It did surprise me how scenic and beautiful some of these places were. There was a back-drop of mountains, and at the time, they were covered with new fallen snow. In Berkeley, we visited a small town within called Kensington, and driving there, we were treated to gorgeous views of ocean as we ascended to some older neighborhood that was perched on some heights. I was impressed with the views, to say the least.
Driving over the Bay Bridge into the city gave me the feeling of going into a big city... like New York or something (a place I have never been but have many impressions of in the mind). When we were in the Ferry Building meeting with the buyer at the Slanted Door, I felt like I was in Vancouver... the cold weather that day helped with the image, but it was more the view of the water from the restaurant's huge windows that reminded me of being in a similar restaurant in Coal Harbour in Vancouver's downtown.
Later, at a chic seafood restaurant in the Embarcadero called Waterbar, I was stunned by the magnificent view of the Bay Bridge by night, its glistening lights showcasing the stunning structure, all visible through huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
About 4 years ago, I came to San Francisco to meet my mom, my aunt and my uncle, who had flown in from Vancouver to attend their friends' father's 100th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, it happened to be in June, right after a Rudi Wiest Rudipalooza tasting which I thoroughly enjoyed and stayed too late at....when I arrived at LAX, I discovered that I had missed my flight. I had to catch a later flight to San Francisco, which would arrive that evening, but I totally missed the dinner celebration that my mom and aunt were at. In the airport, I bought a book called the Yes! Attitude, because I was so pissed about missing my flight!
I finally did arrive there, though, and we were staying at my aunt's friends' house. Her friend's husband, Sam, came to pick me up at the airport and drove me to their home in a suburb of San Francisco. I remember there house was way, way up on a hill, but I don't remember the name of the town. We spent the weekend out and about, mostly shopping (all the ladies wanted to shop, mostly at some great mall in Stanford) and we also visited a relative in San Jose. We also ate once in Chinatown, and when I stepped our of the restaurant at night, the scene was like it was from a movie - it looked like movieland's Chinatown, with its old buildings with restaurants and storefronts on the street level and apartments above, and the hilly streets and the lights. It was just a weekend trip, but it was a fun one for me, one of those trips I got to share with my mom, her sister, and also her brother, who was there for part of the trip.
This was not the only time I went to SF with my mom - I was there another time when my mom came to visit me in LA - and we drove up to SF to see her childhood friend. We drove all the way up there and even went to Marin County to visit Mill Valley on one of my coworker's recommendation. Mill Valley was a quaint cute place, very out of the way, and it took a bit to get there, so I'm not sure I'll ever go back. But it was fun to go, and we had a nice walk around the downtown square, and this is another nor cal memory I won't forget.
Thirteen years ago, back in 1997, I drove down from Vancouver in search of work in California, and before I applied for anything in Los Angeles, I first looked in the Bay area. There was an institute that I applied at in Sausilito - it was a heart institute - Dean Ornish - that proposed a very strict low-fat diet for the treatment of heart disease. I had spoken with the woman on the phone before showing up there, and when I did walk in to meet her that day in Sausilito, I remembered that she gave me a hug. No handshake, just a warm, friendly hug. It was nice; and it was different, and that made it memorable. It didn't turn into a job, but it was a fun day in Sausilito, and yes, they do have great views of the city across the water!
I poked around at the time for other jobs, but there weren't any in my field, so I continued down to SoCal, where I had much better luck, and that's why I'm still here today. My luck brought me down here, and keeps me down here, so I go with it.
This new thing with going up to NorCal to work a week out of the month also fell into my lap and I decided to say yes to the opportunity, and so far it feels right. I'll keep you posted on the fun adventures. Though at this point, I'm kind of wishing I had a lap-top, because I won't really have computer access when I'm up there...