Friday, August 29, 2008

A few firsts from our 1st week here...

First apartment viewed - Last Sunday. It was in Nob Hill. It was a no. I'm not too keen on living in a neighborhood with "hill" in the name anyway.

First major fall on my bike - I'm fine, just a bruise on the hip and a scrape on the arm, right where I tend to lean on it :/ I would suggest, if you ever cycle over trolley tracks, try to keep it as close to a right angle as you can. I'm kind of proud that it took me so long to wipe out on my bike since I've been cycling for five months now. Oh yeah, we were on the way to view the apartment

First siting of the elusive, almost-mythical sea lions - We cycled right by them. Twice. It took having our roommate, Michael, take us there during our whirlwind driving tour of San Francisco, which also included Danielle Steele's estate and Danny Glover's place.

First commute - On Monday, Martin started heading to his office in Mountain View. It's a 15 minute cycle to the train station. An hour long train ride. And a 2 minute cycle to the office. He's getting a lot of reading done.

First crepes - My friend from high school, Ben, took us to a crepe restaurant for dinner one night. I had the Ratatouille and mushrooms crepe. It was really good! It was the first time I had Ratatouille too.

First milonga - Wednesday night, I cycled to my first milonga here. My first milonga in a long time actually. Maybe first of the year. It was fun. They did a great job, in my opinion, of mixing traiditional music sets with un-traditional music sets. I only danced with a few people. I'm really bad about asking people to dance myself. I usually leave that up to the guys. I had a great time people watching though.

First yoga class - I think I may have found my yoga studio, though if we don't end up living near by that may change. I went to my first class this morning. And yes, Floyd was there, and he was taking class with us. To understand that you'll have to click on the link to the yoga studio website.

That's all for now, we have a long weekend ahead of us full of apartment showings and exploring. I'll try to bring the camera with us on some of our journeys.

Friday, August 22, 2008

We made it!

In the early afternoon on Tuesday, we reached a milestone in our journey west - California - the state that held our final destination. We stopped for lunch at an In 'n Out Burger, which is a fast-food place that has good veggie options apparently. After lunch, we drove through the Mojave Desert and skirted LA, but we noticed the smog in the distance. We settled in with Krista, Gamelan, Rob and Paul - Martin's friends from Sault Sainte Marie - for the evening and the next day.

It was nice to have a day of rest and relaxation. We watched internet videos, walked on the beach, got our feet covered in tar, and played Munchkin. We were also treated to many wonderful meals out (it's our treat, Krista when you visit us in the Bay!).

Thursday morning, we were on the road again headed for San Francisco. We made one pit stop at the Hearst Castle. We took the basic 1-hr 45-min tour of the main floor of the house. During the tour, Martin realized that he was not a fan of excessive displays of wealth. I found it odd and some what disturbing to see so many artifacts from Europe - particularly ones form Italy - mismatched together.

After our detour, we hightailed it up the coast on California Highway 1. Well, not hightailed it exactly since it's pretty tricky driving. We made it to our sublet and home for the next 3 weeks around 7pm Thursday evening. And running on empty, we managed to get everything out of the car, and to eat a quick dinner. Then, Martin returned the car to the rental place at the airport. Where was I, you ask? Where do you think - passed out in bed, of course.

Today was our first day in the city. Because our internal clocks are still set somewhere east of the Rocky Mountains, we got up around 8am and headed out in search of a grocery store. Eventually, we stumbled up on a Safeway, the San Francisco equivalent of Kroger, and got ourselves breakfast and food for future meals. Then, we ambitiously decided to go home and cycle to Golden Gate Park. To my amazement, I was able to cycle there without any trouble at all. We walked around the Botanical Gardens a bit, before heading to a bike shop and lunch - that cycle was a bit more troublesome. Needless to say, when we got home this afternoon, I took a nap, while Martin somehow continued to function.

Our last adventure this evening was heading to a dance performance at the Yerba Buena Cente for the Arts. We braved the city's light rail system - Muni - and found ourselves in downtown SF. The show was great. There was an interesting combination of modern dance and cultural dance in the show. I walked out and wanted to head to dance class. I guess that adventure is still in my future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Filling in the blanks

Martin forgot to mention some important points about our journey so far...

1st - We had some amazing eggplant enchiladas at my aunt Joni's house. And apparently it was my uncle Curtis's birthday and no one told us. So happy belated birthday uncle Curt!!! They also took us to another amazing coffee shop that had gelato!

2nd - We did not camp out in Santa Rosa. Apparently it's the rainy season out here. On the way to Santa Rosa, we got caught in an awful rain storm on the highway. By the time we got there, it was still rainy so we got a hotel room for the night.

3rd - The next morning, we met my uncle Jimmy in Albuquerque, where he satisfied our cravings for breakfast burritos. I had mine covered in green chili. Martin had salsa over his because all of the chili's had meat in them.

Yesterday, Martin and I woke up in Sedona. We got up early and took a short hike on one of the trails out there. Then, we drove into Flagstaff to grab brunch and meet up with Martin's sister, Sara. We then drove out to the Grand Canyon for the afternoon. It was big. Huge even. While we were there a rain storm came across the canyon. It was fun to watch it approach, but once lightning started striking near us, we high tailed it back to the car.

We'll post pictures later today when we make it to sunny California.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I have to admit, it was hard to blow by Pickles Gap Village and Toad Suck Park in Arkansas, but Lauryn and I made it to Santa Rosa, New Mexico last night in record time. Today we continued on through the rest of New Mexico and into the interior of Arizona.

Arizona and New Mexico are both excellent and beautiful places and stand in stark contrast to the flatter and more desolate regions of Texas and Oklahoma. Arizona is so varied: it transitions from khaki-colored shrub desert to coniferous mountains to flat, rusty, saguaro vistas within a few hundred miles.

Behold the painted desert:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It begins

We did it! We fit everything we wanted to take in the Honda Accord the rental place gave us. I don't know how Martin did it, because I ran away (to get a new phone and plan, don't worry the number is the same). When I came back, all that were left were odds and ends that I easily found places to stuff them. True, we can't see out of the rear view mirror, but that's what side mirrors are for, right?

Amazingly, we left only an hour behind schedule and that was because we had to stop to load up on snacks, get a car adapter for the mp3 player, and to get a road map. We also gave ourselves a treat before leaving and had brunch at the Highland Bakery, one of Martin's favorite places. And we got into Little Rock only a half hour behind schedule, which was only due to the time change.

Our route - Atlanta to Birmingham, up to Memphis and over to Little Rock.

Highlight - finally figuring out a good use of the poorly designed gps system outside of
Memphis by using it to find a really cool local coffee shop (with wireless).

Low point - Throwing away the manual to the mp3 plug-in/radio thingy and not being able to listen to our tunes in populated areas (too much radio interference).

Miles driven - the trip tick says 519, but I didn't start it until OTP (outside the Atlanta perimeter) so you should add at lease 10 to 15 miles.

Next on the menu - Heading to Oklahoma City for lunch with Aunt Joni and her boys. Then onto Santa Rosa, NM where we have a campsite for the night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A newsworthy event

Here's the scoop, for those whom we have yet to tell,
Martin and I are moving to San Francisco!

For my friends and family
who have yet to meet him,
this is Martin.

For Martin's friends and
family who have yet to meet
me, this is me, Lauryn.

Martin's company is moving their headquarters from Atlanta to the Bay Area (Mountain View to be exact). They offered everyone the opportunity to move there. And it seemed, to us, that this was a great opportunity. Martin's been wanting to explore other parts of the world since I met him (he was supposed to join the Peace Corps, but stayed because of me). And since all of my jobs are tied to the academic calendar, summer was a good time for me to let my employers (Moving in the Spirit, APAL and Emory Schwartz Center) know that I was leaving.

So here we are. Our last day in Atlanta is tomorrow. Our room is a mess with boxes and half packed bags. I'm still trying to get rid of some of my furniture from my old apartment (Anyone in Atlanta need a HUGE bulletin board, a fake marble bedside table, or a blue rocking armchair?). We're both exhausted, and at the same time, we can't wait for Friday when we load up the car, head west on I-20, and start this crazy, exciting, new adventure!