First of all, my apologies for not updating on my time in Berkeley. We had an incredible time there and I will explain how so…below:

*Berkeley…oh where to begin? Berkeley is…interesting. I loved it though! The restaurants were diverse, the people walking on the street were diverse, even languages used all around you were not just various dialects of English. It is a conglomerate city of cultures from around the world and that makes for a place seldom with dull moments. Also, it is a city where just about everyone on the street talks to themselves (some bluetooth, some…not)!

*Friends…it was so good to see and catch up with my close friend Jack and his girlfriend Kaitlin as well as seeing some of Allison’s college friends also at Berkeley. We ate at various restaurants, cooked some delicious meals and kicked the soccer around a bit (just enough time to hit a car hood and contemplate if it was time to go back inside…) But my travels are always worth it when I’m with people who are important to me so I’m glad that I was able to see them. In the movie, “Into the Wild,” the main character realizes at the end that “Happiness is only real when it is shared.” This trip was another such time that I’ve come in agreement with that statement.

*Food…from the delicious to the peculiar, our taste buds got a work out in California. During my time there I had Thai, Brazilian, Pizza, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Nordic and Japanese! Some of the weirdest foods I tried were cactus tacos, cabesa (cow head) taco, liver pate, GIGANTIC burritos and Brazilian beef with a green sauce on it. Our mealtimes were certainly an adventure and Berkeley is the place to go if you’re looking for a city where there’s enough variety that you could live there and almost eat at a new restaurant each day.

*Weather…from the chilly and cloudy forecast we were told about we experienced a warm week filled with sun. And believe me, I was NOT complaining! It was crazy when the intense fog rolled in as evening approached and surrounded us. I will say that we were able to visit the WINDIEST place in the USA on the Pacific coast: Point Reyes National Seashore. Just north of San Francisco, there’s a national seashore (first time going to one of those) and we arrived to frigid temperatures and high winds. We hiked to the edge which turned out to be large cliffs leading down to the Pacific (about 11 stories down) and that was the moment I was happy to have packed my jacket! We enjoyed our time there though as we saw bountiful wildlife (deer, elk, cows?, SEALS, and a baby WHALE!!) Oh and when we arrived there it was QUITE foggy so the views were pretty terrible but as we started to leave it cleared up and it was actually a lovely view of the coast and the Pacific. On the walk back to the car I tried to sneak up on a deer in a nearby field and got about 15 feet away before it bolted. Altogether, it was a cold but cool day! (haha…sorry I couldn’t resist…)

*San Francisco!… We had an awesome time in SF. Allison’s friend who lives there gave us a ride around in her car which meant seeing more of the city in a fraction of the time. We saw the Golden Gate bridge, the Painted Ladies houses (think Full House!),  the curvy street (not sure of the name but it was sweet!), and we just had to make a stop in the Italian district (where we stopped for pastries and coffee… well not coffee for me but a steamer for me and coffee for everyone else). Jack and I had some great conversations at the cafe as we tried to comprehend the reality that 2 guys from Lugoff were sitting at a San Franciscan cafe just chatting away. It seemed surreal and a good change of pace.  Oh yeah, and my sinuses were bothering me so I took two Benedryl before going so I was a little loopy as we traveled about. Which led into an interesting lunch experience where we met Allison’s friend at a restaurant that had the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen…and I finished the entire thing in record timing. I was out of it for most of the conversations but I wasn’t missing out on that burrito and it was good! PLUS, we entered and departed SF on the BART which is always a lovely experience. San Francisco was a great day-trip and a fun place to adventure around.

*LOST… So of course while we were there, I had to get my Lost fix (btw… only 6 episodes left!!!) Allison’s friend, Luke, helped me out and we were able to watch several episodes on the TV which is much better than watching on my laptop screen. Then he helped us out by showing us how to watch the rest of the season since we couldn’t find it online.

*Yosemite National Park… Also, during our stay in California, we spent a night and a day at Yosemite Nat’l Park and oh my goodness was it incredile. We arrived at night so we couldn’t see much on the drive in but we noticed the strangest thing. When you looked up you’d see so many stars then as you look to the sides you would just see blackness. Well when we woke up that blackness was massive rocks that rose up on all sides of us. We saw Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan, some famous rock structures that Ansel Adams did some BEAUTIFUL photography with. We checked out some more rock/mountains then went and played in a stream. Later, we hiked up to see a waterfall and ended up swimming around the in river which was FREEZING cold! Fortunately, the weather was actually hot so it balanced out but we had a blast at Yosemite and it is a must see for anyone who enjoys camping and can get out to California.

Well, I’m sure more happened during our time in California but those are some of the highlights. We had a great time there and I can’t believe how much we did there in just 8 days. But the adventure was far from over as we were about to set out for another 6 days of travel to visit Death Valley (the real one) National Park, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon State Park in Oklahoma, Atlanta again for some family time and topping it off back in the other Death Valley for a Clemson football game. More to come on that soon…

Mpaka wakati halafu…