Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DK & Berkeley

First, problems with guesthouse keyboard (only about 2/3 keys readable and most things in Chinese), so not my usual meticulous writing. Also, posts will be incomplete for awhile. And now I discover photo issues - maybe I can fix tomorrow.

Day 1. Up at 3am for 4am pickup shuttle to DFW. Buddy knew something was up - he refused to get into car to go to Shirin's. Finally picked him up and took him to Shirin's and he seemed okay once he was there.

Check-in at United was bad. The "customer service" person was unhelpful, impatient, and rude - and this for $2800! The flight to San Francisco was okay, except the service continued to be minimal at best and the man in front of Leslie was twitching, jerking, gesticulating and eating Pop Tarts the whole time. At first I was thinking uh-oh, we have a situation here and so was poised to go after him if necessary. But finally realized the problem was mental illness, so no problem (for me, anyway). The other guy in front of Leslie was coughing (productively) the whole time - so, so it goes in low rent seats. Photo: Thanksgiving dinner

At SFO we discovered that despite having paid ahead we were not (for awhile anyway) shuttle-worthy. Finally, after conversations with drivers and then shuttle HEADQUARTERS, we got on old #120 and on into SF and then Berkeley (the driver had no idea where David's street and here we are at David's apartment ...

Walking up the driveway past the beautifully detailed big house and up the stairs to DK's apartment set like a treehouse among magnolias, lemon trees, Japanese maple, lemon trees, pines and I don't know what all. Ahh, good to see you son. One oh my ears remains stopped up and painful despite compulsive yawning, gum chomping, and other attempts at unblocking.

I'm reading A Walk in the Woods (about the Appalachian Trail) by Bill Bryson. Really good and funny and inspirational - not in terms of the AT, but re long trekking.

Leslie fixed breakfast for us all - scrambled eggs, pepperoni, onion, cilantro, feta. I served up some cafe sua da ("the strongest coffee I ever had," said Katy). We hung out and then Leslie and I walked to Peet's - my favorite coffee chain in the world.. Then we walked around David's neighborhood - talk about inspirational! Our house/cottage garden is pretty unique in Dallas. In Berkeley, most of the houses in DK's neighborhood have cottage gardens - not to mention wonderful gates and fences and not to mention lemon trees, pomegranits, persimmons and tons of herbs. The houses are mostly wonderful with great detailing. I've never seen so many plants I don't know the names of.

The airport in Bangkok is closed because of demonstrations, which include fighting between taxi drivers and stupid yellow shirt people. It'd be great to jump into the middle of all that lot - no matter where you swung it would be good. We saw on CNN that civil liberties have been suspended in Thailand, so I think the soldiers will be headed in and the airport will be open in a few days - a week or so before we fly in (I'm writing from my notes - later found out I was wrong about this).

Meanwhile terrorists have slaughtered more people (125 and counting) in Bombay, no doubt shouting, "God is great!" Guess what guys, you are Hell-bound - for murder and blasphemy. Photo: corridor in Chungking Mansion

We (Leslie, David, Katy, and I) had Thanksgiving dinner with Holden and some of his family and friends in Holden's classic Berkeley house - for sale - 1000+ square feet for $565,000. Arts and crafts furnishings, everything very nice. It was a good time with good food (thanks Colin).

Friday: We got up early and walked to Peet's again, had coffee on a lush deck/patio . Then after breakfast (thank you Leslie) we caught a bus to Telegraph Avenue. On this holiday day it seemed like as many "gutter punks" and homeless people on the street as anyone else. Cody's Books, our main objective was gone. Caught a bus to College Avenue, more coffee, Safeway, and back to David's with a ton of groceries on the bus. David and Katy were studying as usual. Leslie cooked some more and I made a good beef stew with Burgandy wine. David and Katy ate prodigious amounts and my plands to freeze a lot came to naught.

Saturday: Leslie fixed breakfast and we walked to Safeway for more stew ingredients and asorted other food. We need top hurry up and get to Hong Kong so we save some money! Back at David's we started cooking - stew, spaghetti, cookies while DK and Katy studied and studied and studied. In the afternoon David went to play tennis and Katy to climb. Leslie fixed meatloaf and asparagus for dinner - tasty. Jared came by and we had a nice visit. Later I walked up the hill past the Claremont Hotel. From the hill I can see across the Bay, sparkling lights in the night.

It's been a joy to be with David these past few days. Our son has some good friends in Berkeley - good in terms of friendships and being supportive of one another and in terms of good working relationships. They're all working hard and seem perfectly focused in this first semester of law school. It was awesome to us that we (DK, his friends, Leslie & me) all spent so much time together.

In the morning Leslie fixed breakfast and we had more Vietnamese coffee. Watched a little CNN, but this isn't a good thing to do before an international flight - "Terror in Mumbai," Bangkok airport closed, recession, deflation. And away we go.

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