I know...my correspondence has been pretty much nil in the last three months and I do apologize. I have been a busy busy gal traveling all over California and a few other places for that matter and I just haven't had time to keep up. So, this is going to be my attempt to catch you all up on what has been going on the last three months. Charlie arrived from Cape Town in late November and since then I have been trying to be as hospitable to him as everyone was to me during my stay in South Africa. When he arrived I took him EVERYWHERE!!!
I picked Charles up from the airport and it was a bit of a shock for him to have to deal with my superb driving skills and the flow of traffic being in complete contrast to what he was used to. It was fun to be on the other side, I was now at home and everything was so new to him. We went to Davis and I showed him the campus and he enjoyed his first burrito. We were soon on our way to Prunedale (where my parents live) to start the Thanksgiving festivities (food, football, and family). He got to experience his first Thanksgiving (we all thoroughly stuffed ourselves) and meet the family all before even given the chance to recover from his travels and major jet lag. Everything was so new to him it must have been a shock to his system. Just going to the supermarket was an adventure, "there is so much of EVERYTHING!!" I don't think he had ever been presented with so much variety.
While were at my parents place we took the opportunity to check out the many beautiful beaches and towns near Monterey. The next few days were busy! We went to Fishermen's Warf in Monterey and Charles got to try his first bowl of the famous Fishermen's Grotto clam chowder. I took him to Carmel where he was fascinated with the houses and the architecture in the area. We checked out a couple of art galleries and spent some time at Carmel Beach. We headed out to Point Lobos reserve to check out the hiking trails and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean. We went to Pacific Grove and to Lovers Point and climbed around on the rocks. We went to Capitola and looked around Santa Cruz where we met up with one of my flat mates from South Africa. It was great to see Dana girl and she was thrilled to hear that South African accent again. We caught up and had coffee and she showed us around a bit. You can spend all day in Santa Cruz just people watching. Everywhere we went was absolutely stunning and we had a fantastic time together. So that was Charlie's whirl wind tour of Monterey County.
After we were done looking around Santa Cruz we headed over the mountains and made our way to Tahoe where we would see where Charles would be living and working for the next three months (and where I would travel to just about every weekend). Tahoe is beautiful!! When we first arrived there wasn't much in the way of snow, but it was still pretty cold. We went for a walk around the lake and it was gorgeous! Charlie got to meet a couple of his new house mates (Harmony and Melody the St. Bernard dogs) and started to get settled in while I went back to work for a couple days. Every weekend for the next three months was filled with adventure. Either I would drive up to Tahoe or Charlie would come down via train.
We spent one weekend in Berkeley where we spent most of our time in the bookstores. If there is one thing we have in common it is our love of books. We looked around the Campus of The University of California at Berkeley and went up the Sather Tower, known as the Campanile. The tower was built in 1914 (pretty old for California) and is about 307 feet tall. From the top you can see a spectacular view of the entire Bay area and the campus.
We spent another day in Old Town Sacramento. If Berkeley was the city of books, Old Town is the city of candy. There are so many old fashion candy stores you could get lost in them. Charlie got to try some salt water taffy and we enjoyed looking around the crazy shops.
We went to San Francisco and looked around the Museum of Modern Art after being blown away by the huge buildings of the city. We both loved the city and looking around the museum, and vowed to come back. We met up with my friend Annette and watched the sunset from Twin Peaks. The view from Twin Peaks is stunning and you can get a great view of the whole city. That evening we met up with Matteo (my brother) and Ravi (his wife) and went to their company Christmas party (after getting ready in only five minutes, I have never seen a Cape Townian move so quickly!). The party took place on several floors of the Marriott Hotel. There were a dozen different themed rooms with dance floors and food in excess. We had a great time filled with food music and libations. The view from the top floor was stunning and we spent a good part of the night (when we weren't dancing our feet off) just looking at the lights of the city.
Well that is about as much as I can handle for now. I hope this update finds you all well. Take care and there is more to come!!