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Took a short trip to Steinbeck country last weekend. This was my second visit to the area and it was as beautiful as I had remembered it. Enjoyed a very scenic drive from San Jose to Marina on US101 and US 1. Strolled on a private beach in Marina, enjoyed Ghirardelli ice-cream while watching the Pacific Ocean in Monterrey, had an extremely hearty dinner meal at this place and a lovely outdoor brunch at this place in Carmel (ok enough with the food!).
The highlight of the trip was going out for whale watching on a cold, rainy and grey Saturday morning.Got to see a hump-back whale from pretty close quarters. More amazing was the literarily thousands of pacific white sided dolphins that surrounded our boat, when we had chanced upon a feeding area. This is the closest I have seen dolphins in the wild. They were swimming alongside and below the boat (called bow-riding) – there were several in the distance that were doing aerial jumps and flips. (I might have caught it on my camcorder too. Will try to post pictures later). Pretty amazing sight.

All in all – a very satisfying mini-vacation – except for some rather tiresome experiences at the San Jose airport. For an airport located in the heart of Silicon Valley and hence quite heavily used, it is quite poorly designed and lacking in some basic infastructures. After renting a car, I had to drive around for about 2-3 miles through all the terminals before I could actually exit the airport area and find my way to the freeway ! The terminal was small, had very few choices for eating – half of the joints had closed by 9pm and the gate area was cramped and stuffy. Combine that with the very large number of desis hanging around (it is Silicon Valley after all) – for a moment I had a feeling I was back in India.

In other news, it is exploding amphibians in Hamburg, Germany ! Well, at least its not raining frogs.

Finally, check out this post (and this) in the Indianwriting blog on pavement bookshops near Churchgate in Mumbai. I fondly remember spending hours browsing these shops while I was in Mumbai (that is whenever I could overcome my inertia and make the almost hourlong KanjurMarg-VT trip). This was where I first found Dirk Gentry !
College Street in Kolkata has a similar book bazar – unfortunately all you can get there now (or at least when I went there last in 2004) are IIT and other such engineering and medical ‘joint entrance examination’ prep guides.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

April 27, 2005 at 9:01 am

Posted in Food, Life, Rants, Travel

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