San Francisco and the East Bay

I took a sketchy craigslist rideshare from Hollywood to San Francisco, and only realized half way that the couple driving me were on their way to the Iceland vs. Mexico soccer game in San Jose. I nearly blew my plans to join them, but had a special invite to a ´play´ party that I couldn´t miss.

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a morning run by the water to the ferry building

I based myself in San Francisco for the weekend, the city itself, which is rare for my bay visits. I studied at Berkeley, once lived in Oakland, and usually stayed with friends in Walnut Creek or Danville. Now a handful of UBC friends live in San Fran, Alameda and San Leandro, so that’s where I decided to bounce around for a week and play a good tourist.

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Chez Mike and Maya and their four-legged friends

It´s getting rare to sleep on couches anymore, because my friends are all grown up, figuring life out with their families and homes with guest bedrooms. Our conversations revolved around pregnancies, children, remodelling, gardening and the bowel movements of pets. I became a live-in au pair for Maya, whose 34 week belly made her less inclined to do house chores or walk the dog. We did manage to do some expectant-mother yoga, bake and cook a ton and I squeezed a whole lot of lemons and oranges into delicious, fresh, vitamin-C rich juice.

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every respectable home garden in California has a citrus tree

My friends Stefan and Mane bought a house in Alameda, where they´re waiting for their second miracle to enter the world. Their first daughter Isabelle is the cutest little bilingual toddler I know – I totally understand the desire to make another one. We spent day on the beach flying the biggest, highest kite I´ve ever flown, and when everyone was busy working, I took a brewery tour on a pedal pike around San Leandro and Alameda, finally figuring out that I may be allergic to hops, not anything flour or gluten related.

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Stefan flying his kite on Alameda beach

I reconnected with a couchsurfer I met traveling in Albania in 2016, first for coffee and an overpriced kimchi croissant (only in Frisco), and a night out in the city. Our friend Billy was throwing a party to celebrate his self-proclaimed entry into a degenerate lifestyle, after quitting his cush job at Google and buying twenty people food and drinks at a speak easy bar called Bourbon & something. We had the ´Russel Room,´ hidden behind a rotating wall disguised as a bookshelf on one side, and a cigar cupboard on the other, which made way to an art-deco room that looked like a movie set, but was authentically original, complete with its pre-Vegas Chahuli chandelier.

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Mike, Duke and Maya

My main goals in California were to eat plenty of In n Out, animal style, and shop at all or any Trader Joes that I saw. We hiked thru some red woods and poison ivy, discovered that the Oakland Zoo is not pet-friendly (strange, no?), and I assisted in a photo shoot with two Jess´s for maternity wear being modelled by Maya. Ironically enough the photographer Jess was also pregnant, and I started to wonder how much exposure I could have to pregnant women before being bit by the mommy gene. Fortunately for me, I´m now even more positive I’ll never be pregnant, since everyone else seems to do it so well – I’ve got no chance handle it as gracefully.

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