Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bay Area goings-on

The jet lag has its grip on me, so I might as well take advantage of being awake at the crack of dawn and write a bit here.

So far, I've been having a great time in San Francisco, hanging out with my brother, Stephan, and his girlfriend, Julie.

I suppose the one, not-so-great thing about being here is the hill by their house. It's fucking ridiculous. When I spoke with Stephan about staying with him, he told me that we would take the BART from the airport to his house, and that the BART station was at the bottom of the hill he lives on, a hill which is pretty steep.

Do you know what a switch-back is? If you've ever driven in the mountains, you know that you cannot just drive straight up a fucking mountain; you have to zig-zag back and forth across the mountain because it's so steep. Well, Stephan did mention that he sometimes has to switch-back up the hill to his house, so I was mildly prepared. I was not prepared, however, for the series of hills that one must climb in order to get to the final, switch-back hill!

It was a nightmare walking up those hills with all my luggage. Stephan pulled the big suitcases, and I carried my heavy-ass backpack and computer case. Jesus. He's in great shape; I am not, despite all my walking in Seoul. Still, I did better than I thought I would, and I know this is because I am fresh from a stair-ridden, walk-everywhere city.

The switch-back hill was insane, worse than the steep hill by where I lived at SEV. Falling over backward is a serious consideration. As soon as I can, I'm going to post a picture of it. Good grief.

Anyway, on my first night here, I decided to take advantage of being in America for once, and ordered pizza, subs, and wings for everyone right off the internet. Sweet. And for only $30, it seemed like a miracle.

Last night, we went to this amazing grocery store. It's strictly vegetarian, and it was so cool. If you've ever been in a health food store, or hip grocery store, you know that bulk food sections can be limited to things like a few dried beans, some rice, and dried fruits. Well, this place was bursting with the most incredible selection of bulk goods I have ever seen. Jars of dried roots, herbs (I bought some mugwort--thought to increase dreams of your past lives if put in a sache near where you sleep), teas, not to mention a never-ending selection of beans, rices, and mixes (like the hummus mix I bought). Just truly fantastic. This isn't including the other areas of the huge store, which has a specialty cheese section, where the cheesemonger helped me select a lovely goat cheese gouda. Or the produce section, with piles of the freshest California goodness. As I have said before, California truly is the land of milk and honey... It's stores like this that make me wish I lived here.

After the vegetarian grocery store, we decided a little juxtaposition was in order. So, we ate dinner at a burger joint said to be the best ever, the In-n-Out. Holy crap, this place was good. I was dying for a real cheeseburger after being away so long, and I was not disappointed. Yikes, that was a damn good cheeseburger. Better than Seoul's Kraze Burger, to be sure. After sucking down our burgers and fries, it was a quick stop over to the Krispy Kreme for one of their fresh, hot doughnuts that essentially melt in your mouth, and then home again. What a lovely evening out.

Tonight promises to be just as fun. We're going to a Korean BBQ place with my Uncle Max and Aunt Sets. It's supposed to offer delicious and bountiful food, so we'll see how it compares to galbi in Seoul.

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