Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cali! Roses!

In mid-April we headed for California – a couple of days in Berkeley, then I went to San Jose for a conference while Leslie stayed in Berkeley with David, then a few days in Berkeley, a few days in San Francisco, back to Berkeley, and then home. Photo: Sidewalk in front of Star Market. Where the dogs are is where we sit and drink coffee

Ahhh, Berkeley, the land of my dreams, where almost every yard looks a lot like ours, where almost all the houses are old and graceful, where Walmart isn’t, where drivers always stop for pedestrians, where developers aren’t running hog-wild through communities tearing down homes to build mac-mansions and even bulldozing whole blocks. Of course it helps that our life in Berkeley consists of fixing breakfast, walking to the Star Market or Semi-Freddie’s Bakery for coffee and pastry, walking on to Safeway to shop, bus back to David’s, fix more food, read, take it easy … We had a very good time with DK (who is working very hard). Photo: The future is now - CK and the shopping cart he shares with Leslie

San Francisco was good. We took the bus from David’s to the BART station, except while we were standing at the bus stop a woman pulled up and offered us a ride to the station. How great is that! BART went straight to downtown SF, we got off at Montgomery, and walked to the hotel. Photo below: Sidewalk in front of the Star Market in Berkeley, on Claremont

We stayed at the Grant Plaza in Chinatown - $69 base rate with windows overlooking Grant Avenue. We could walk north on Grant a few blocks and cut up the hill to Stockton and except that the buildings are just a few stories high, it was almost like being in Hong Kong. We ate twice at the New Moon Restaurant – a huge plate of roast duck and pork on rice. Once we got BBQ pork, the crispy skin off the half a pig hanging at the end of the counter and once we got char sui, which is what we wanted. Also a 20 minute walk to the Yummy BBQ Kitchen on Broadway and vast quantities of dim sum 3 pieces for $1.50. A few minutes past that is North Beach where we checked out cafes and groceries, hung out at City Lights, spent a few minutes at the park, and had an espresso at Café Trieste.

Walking south on Grant for four blocks we caught the bus to Japantown to shop at Ichiban, then transfer to Clement Street, the “new Chinatown” where we made it to cheap dim sum Mecca, Good Luck Dim Sum, where we feasted on more than we should have eaten for $7!!! We had an espresso at a depressing electronic gambling place, spent some time at Green Apple Books, then went back to Good Luck for just one more round of chive dumpling with shrimp. Photo: Dim sum at Good Luck

Back in Berkeley, David and Matt fixed linguine and clams for us for dinner, and that was nice. So were the chocolate chip cookies I made. Had a leisurely packing, picked a lemon from the tree by David’s balcony, and caught the shuttle to the airport. Had we had one fewer bag, we could have taken BART, but we were bringing things home for David so took the van. Photo: Mirror shot at the New Moon
There are 15 or more roses in our front yard. There are bushes, ramblers, and climbers. A few, like New Dawn (1930) and Don Juan (1958) are more modern, but most, like Zepherine Drouhin (1868), Cecile Brunner (1894), and Perle d’Or (1884) are old garden roses. The fragrance is intense, with the classic rose scent of Maggie and the delicate bouquet of the New Dawn in magnificent bloom on the arbor at the walkway to the house and again over the front door mixed in with the Confederate jasmine climbing with countless tiny star blooms all the way to the peak of the roof.

There’s a place I can sit on the front porch where even in the daylight hours I’m almost invisible to any but a person with a keen and searching eye. I look out and see the herbs and perennials blooming to the arbor with all its roses and in the evening, the “welcome lights.”

Last night I saw my first firefly of the year and tonight, a hummingbird at the delphiniums.


James said...

You look so distinguished in that pic of you sitting in front of the bookshop reading the papers!

Mandela said...

I was lucky enough to attend college in the Bay Area. Isn't it the greatest! I plan to visit again very soon myself.

Glad you had a nice trip.

CK said...

"Lucky enough" indeed. That would be a great stroke of luck to be given 4 years in the Bay Area. It really is the greatest. No place in America calls me like SF area.

stacy said...

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