When I had the chance to make a four hour stop in Salt Lake City instead of flying direct from Oakland to New Orleans, I took it.
Phil picked me up at the airport and we drove around downtown, admiring the very creatively named streets… they’re all numbered radiating from a single point in the middle of the city where the Mormon Temple sits. We both nursed hangovers at Phil’s favorite little place, Park Cafe (delicious!) and then took a ride through Big Cottonwood Canyon where in May, we had a legitimate snowball fight. I returned to the airport just in time for my flight to be delayed four hours, but it was totally worth it.
Nate made a similar trip a week later. He ended up taking a free shuttle bus from the airport to the Mormon temple where a group of girls gravitated toward him like magnets and “were really nice, but were trying to get inside me.” Metaphorically speaking of course, asking stuff like “Isn’t the world pretty? Isn’t this such a beautiful and fascinating world? Don’t you wonder where it came from? Some one had to make this right? That’s God.” (Insert dramatic pauses at will.) Phil came to his rescue: a romantic spot for the sunset, some chinese take out, and a few beers at Phil’s place. Not bad for an extended layover.
There is no doubt about it: Oakland is awesome. I’ve heard people call it the Brooklyn of the Bay Area (which I disagree with mainly because the Bart stops running at midnight and a taxi costs way more than a Lower Manhattan –> Brooklyn ride). Nevertheless, it’s just over the bridge from SF. It has great restaurants, nightlife, and its very own beautiful lake — great for a 3.5-mile jog or an afternoon picnic. And while we were there, we had the privilege of attending the Oakland Art Murmur.
That Friday night we wandered through the streets of downtown Oakland weaving among hipsters young and old, (really cute) kids, and some perfectly average looking people. In my opinion, a great mix. All sorts of multi-wheeled transportation crawled through the crowds — I’m talking about really big bike type things with 4′ wheels that seat up to four people. The proud owner of snail-shaped iron contraption invited kids to hop in and pull a “reign” that blew fire from the snail’s antennae. Most of the art was all right, but there were some cool crafts, like miniature origami earrings and a guy with a 1920s manually operated sewing machine that would custom stitch names and shapes onto swatches of canvas for a dollar.
After a couple hours imbibing on a local gallery/bar patio, we headed a few blocks away from the crowds to Creative Growth. Creative Growth Art Center serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities, providing a stimulating environment for artistic instruction, gallery promotion and personal expression. Artwork fostered in this unique environment is included in prominent collections and museums worldwide. And while I realize I’ve been out of the country, not in the epicenter of art culture like I was in NY, I still think that the art on display was the best I’ve seen in recent memory. The walls are covered in art — all for sale, but much of it already sold. I loved the paintings of jellyfish and birds, owls and cats. There were pedestals adorned with paper-mache masks and an entire warehouse full of ceramics. The place was inspiring and I’m sure the photos don’t do it justice.
Next stop was a place called the Fort Gallery. The neighborhood was a little questionable, and ironically I think it’s really close to our new place. There was a sort of make shift bar in the place selling two things: “Health juice” and absinthe. Evidentally “health juice” was a concoction distributed in very small quantities (less than half a solo cup), made of ginger paste, absinthe (minus the wormwood) and ginger ale. We had a great time watching music in this unique space, but the next day, after ONE of these absurdly named drinks, I felt like I got hit by a bus and struggled to maintain casual conversation.
All in all, fantastic night in Oakland. I think this experience sold me on kicking off our Bay Area residency in this sweet little city.
When moving to a new city, I think it’s important to do a round of touristy stuff to get to know the city from that point of view that you may never have again. While we stayed with Leah in April and May, we made sure to do just that.
– Clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf, [...]
Hop in the car with some of your favorite people. Roll the windows down. Turn up the music. Stop when you have to pee. Stop when you’re hungry. Stop when you see people kite surfing and you want to have a closer look. It’s a real road trip — something completely different from what we, [...]
Decent wine and real cheese are hard to find in Southeast Asia. And while we wouldn’t call ourselves connoisseurs, we missed both dearly while abroad and thought it necessary to spend a few days catching up with our old friends. What better way to reacquaint ourselves than a day trip from San Francisco up to [...]
En route to San Francisco, we had a 10-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. When we arrived, we checked into our 5:15pm flight and hopped onto bus 6005 to the city. On our way there, we kept feeling like we were cheating the system, visiting a city where we were supposed to be confined to [...]
In the middle of the cave, we switched off our flashlights to find ourselves in complete darkness, surrounded by the sound of hundreds of swiflets clicking and water slowly dripping from above. The air felt damp, having long ago surrendered to the unique and putrid smell of guano (bat droppings) that burned our noses. We [...]
In our mad dash through the tiny sultanate, we found ourselves staying in an apartment on the 11th floor of the tallest building in Brunei, probably the richest country in all of Southeast Asia. As broke travelers, we did not expect our short visit to be so stylish.
The small country of Brunei Darussalam sits on [...]
The night market in Kota Kinabalu was the highlight for me. A leisurely walk along the bay past the central market and through the handicraft market leads to tantalizing smells and variety of eating options. I felt like I was swimming through a sea of bright colors and rich aromas as we made our way [...]
We arrived in Kota Kinabalu from the jungle, and had just two things on our mind; laundry, and beach. Before our arrival a nice gentlemen from Holland had mentioned a few islands were very near KK, the largest city in Borneo. In fact, he said a little Island named Mamutik was just a twenty minute [...]