USA Page 1
Los Angeles (13/3/07 - 15/3/07)
This was a bit of a let down. Santa Monica beach at about 10am. I think the weather might have had something to do with it. The bus there took such a long time, I had to get a taxi back so that I could be at the airport in time. LA public transport struggles a bit.
Mountain view is a quaint little town near the San Francisco bay area. It is famous for being the home of Google. In fact, Google has been so kind as to provide free wireless internet access ANYWHERE in Mountain View. We stayed with some family friends of Nick's and this was the idea launching pad to visit the campuses of UC Berkeley (in Berkeley, an hour away by BART) and but a few short train stops on the Caltrain to nearby Palo Alto, home of Stanford University.
The University of California at Berkeley. Unfortunately, the day wasn't the clearest and one could not see much of the bay, even from the tower. Me and Nick thought, being a government university, Berkeley would not look as pristine as some of the private institutions. Well... maybe it didn't look *quite* as nice, but it was still mighty impressive.
The large grey building you see in the centre of shot is the whole reason we're here. That entire building does maths. The view from the top floor is pretty sweeeeet.
The noticeboards here get quite a workout.
...and one for those mathematicians who are following our progress from the safety of your own homes (or offices), some maths jokes.
These curious looking gates link... well... they look nice don't they? Apparently, many years ago, the area where I was standing was outside of university bounds and was where a lot of student housing was located. The uni realised that they actually owned all the land there, and decided to do away with the streets and build their big student union buildings there.
The buildings and cafes here had nice names.
...but... what if you already look really good?
They were terribly subtle when it came to advertising for jobs in the bookstore.
I hate to spoil the fun, but the sign actually used to say "geological" Laboratory. You can *almost* see where the old letters were painted over.
The next day, we boarded the Caltrain to San Francisco to have a look around.
Those Australians who read this blog will understand the (slightly strange, to be sure) humour associated with these signs.
There is a famous pier in San Francisco, I'm not sure if it is famous for this reason, but in any case, the sea lions are very cool.
Trams, for various reasons of practicality, are not able to run as much as they used to. However, if one's eyesight were bad enough, one might not even notice the difference...
We decided to rent bicycles so that we could cover more ground more quickly. Here we are riding on the wrong side of the road... again. Although it may not look it, it was quite cold on that day and we had the good fortune of being able to ride into the wind on the way to the golden gate bridge.
Another deceptive photo. It was actually very foggy on that particular day and we were just very fortunate that, just as we got to the bridge, it cleared enough for me to take a good picture of it.
This shot was trickier to take that it looks... I was riding an unfamiliar bike (which felt HEAPS different to my road bike at home) and trying to operate a camera while also trying to remember to ride on the right side of the road... multitasking at its best.
Our next stop was Stanford. We were fortunate enough to have one of Nick's family friends, a former student of Stanford and now part of the faculty, to take us around. In the morning we sampled her (rightly) famous pancakes with all sorts of add-ons, including whipped cream. They had a 3 year old daughter who delighted in watching her breakfast become a work of art, only to be consumed moments later.
On our way there, we stopped by the organic farmers market. (and also because I left my bag in the other car...)
We parked just north of the main quad and ventured in, accompanied by our guide (she's the one in the cart).