Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sam Clam's Disco*

For the last few weeks, during our blog-post silence, we have been in the San Francisco Bay Area visiting friends and relatives for the holiday season. Shortly after arriving, I sat down for some quality time with my parents (watching TV of course), and, alarmingly, Top Gear was on. To keep abreast of British culture, my parents have been watching BBC America, so they knew all about various British TV shows. We even got into detailed discussions of recent episodes of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. American culture is, of course, forced on the rest of the world in Borg-like fashion, so it's good to see at least a bit of foreign culture being imported into the US, even if that bit happens to include far too many episodes of EastEnders.

London doesn't have a monopoly on odd signs

It was great to visit the Bay Area during the winter, where the weather tends to be cool but clear and gorgeous -- a nice break from the grey and early dark of winter in London. Coming back to the Bay Area from some time away really highlighted the natural physical beauty of the area. London has many beautiful aspects including the amazing architecture, wonderful parks, and views along the Thames, but it can’t match the Bay Area for pure grandeur.

San Francisco from the East Bay hills

Sunrise over the El Sobrante hills

Maggie on the beach in Alameda

The San Francisco Bay Area is well known for its high quality food and its food-obsessed citizenry (including ourselves), and we had to hit a few of our favorite restaurants and eat some local treats while we were there. Mexican food was an obvious must-eat, and we managed to have a great variety of Mexican cuisine: holiday tamales (one of the best things about Christmas), top-notch burritos (the true San Francisco treat), the highly underrated taco truck experience, and some underwhelming chain restaurant food as well. We also got pizza from our favorite local haunt, and squeezed in a few super gourmet places. We had some great holiday meals with our families, and this time I made some real circular pies.

One of our many gourmet experiences in the Bay Area

While it is great to be back at home in our London flat, it was hard to say goodbye again to our old home and all of our friends and family. The weather on the last day was spectacular, and we were graced with one last beautiful sunset just before we boarded the plane.

*Where I left my harp


Phil said...

Hey great post you guys! I'm glad to hear that you made it back safely to England. Leslie and I definitely share your feelings about missing the Bay Area. Even visiting the tourist traps in San Francisco was a great break from the desert, despite Arizona's own natural beauty and mild winter weather. We miss California with you! Hope all is well and you're enjoying the new me anytime.

Dad said...

Amen to what Phil said. It was very difficult to leave the Bay area (my second home)and return to the frigid and arctic-like Midwest. Happy new year to you both.