Monday, September 24, 2012

What a weekend!

After all the running around that we have been doing for the last few days, this weekend we had planned to just laze around doing nothing. But it was not to be!

On Saturday, we were invited for lunch by our neigbours. They had some pooja at home and 3 other families were invited too. I had a good time eating all the sumptuous food and socializing with everybody. And we got invited for a birthday party the next day.

That meant we had to rush in the evening hunting for a gift. We took the next bus and went to Target, picked up a fancy toy that teaches ABC-pretty useful gift for the 2 year old birthday boy. Since we had come to Target, we decided to strike off a few more things from our shopping list. And we ended up spending our evening shopping. We had dinner in Sunnyvale downtown.

As we were waiting for our train back home, an old lady walked past us. She kept starting at us and then sat on the bench ahead of us. I caught her staring at us and also noticed that she wasn't wearing any shoes. I thought she was going to come and beg for money but strangely she didn't. She then started smoking. Meanwhile, V was on the phone. Suddenly, the lady shouted "Go away!" I thought she was referring to the man who just walked past us. She turned and screamed again "You're pissing me off" We decided not to pay any attention. A few minutes later she yelled " Stop, you're irritating me" That is when it dawned on us that she was talking to V. She did not want him to talk on the phone as it was troubling her for some reason. The funny thing was that V wasn't even speak-all he was doing was saying an occasional 'hmm' in response to the phone conversation. She kept telling him he was loud and that he should go away. V told her "You might want to do the same if it's disturbing you" She replied " You don't have to tell me what I should do" V said "Same goes for me too" Unable to say anything further she just screamed " I know your type"

While all this was happening, my heart was racing. Now, I've heard of many stories where crazy people pulling out guns randomly. I was just praying that the matter ended quickly. But V continued talking. After sometime, a young guy came and sat next to the crazy lady. And she immediately yelled at him "Go away". The poor chap was so scared that he said OK and walked away.

Our train came and we started walking towards the door. She did not board the train. Instead, she started speaking in what seemed like a mix of Italian and Spanish. For all I know she must have been talking gibberish. But I was more than happy to get away from the paranoid lady. It was a very scary experience, at least for me. Although we had a good laugh about it later.

On Sunday noon, we took a ride with our neighbours and arrived at Las Palmas park-the party venue. The place was decorated with balloons and animal pictures. I tried my best to socialize with some of the guests-all were strangers to me. After a while, I got tired and gave up. Food seemed like a better option.  After the cake cutting, we pounced on the food-all my favorite items on the menu-parotta, kurma, biryani, manchurian. Yummy!

On the whole, this weekend was anything but relaxing. The upside was that we had amazing food as a consolation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

California Avenue Downtown

After a week of assembling furniture and looking up more stuff to buy for the home, Friday was the time to relax and unwind. V suggested we check out the California Avenue downtown. Just like the Sunnyvale and Mountainview downtowns, Cal Ave is also near the Caltrain station-which is a blessing for us since we depend so heavily on the train.

Since Cal Ave is not a city in itself, the downtown is also much smaller. It has one lane of eateries and that is about it. Since I was in a mood to try some new cuisine, I spent my time reading through the menus of some of the fancy places. There were the usual Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, American restaurants. I walked passed each, getting a feel of the ambience, crowd, menu and of course the aroma. One particular place that had an inviting fragrance, buzzing crowd, lively music was  
La Bodeguita Del Medio. But as predicted by V, they were booked and the wait time was at least an an hour. Since we weren't in a mood to wait, we picked the next best place-Spalti. 

A classy looking Italian place with candle-lit tables. As we stood checking out the menu, the maĆ®tre d' offered us free starters-bruschetta. I was amused by the cute way he said 'bruschetta' with a strong Italian accent and I gave in immediately. 

The food to my disappointment wasn't up to the mark and so I'm not putting up any pictures. It was too cheesy and lacked any strong flavor. The chocolate mousse though was amazing and made me forget the average food.

Next time I visit this downtown, I'm sure to make a reservation at the La Bodeguita, although they have exactly one vegetarian fare on their menu!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Labor day weekend and we had no plans for several reasons. No car, no energy after the endless shopping trips, need for relaxation at home, more shopping. However, our neighbors had already made a plan and invited us to join them. And we did :)

The plan was simple-start on Sunday morning and head to Monterey Bay Aquarium, then the beach and finally end the day watching the fireworks at Great America. But the only thing that we did manage to do was the Aquarium.

For starters we started from home more than an hour later than decided (expected due to kids and 4 families involved in the plan). Next, the freeway was jam packed and it seemed everyone was heading out to Monterey beach. The journey that was supposed to take an hour and a half took three hours.

The Aquarium has two floors and is huge-the biggest I've ever seen. The 'Jellies Experience' was  one of my favorite exhibits. It displayed a wide variety of jelly fishes and they were gorgeous to look at. They looked almost surreal. I could stand there looking at it for hours.

Jelly fish

Sea Dragon
Another fascinating one was the 'Secret lives of sea-horses.' With heads like horses, tails like monkeys and pouches like kangaroos, these tiny fishes are such interesting creatures. Their ability to change colors, the male fish giving birth to young ones and the mating dance are all so intriguing.

The giant Pacific Octopus is a sight to behold. It is gigantic in size and one of the main attractions of the  aquarium.

The 'Open Sea' is yet another awe-inducing exhibit. The different types, shapes, sizes and colors of fishes underwater can be seen in the open sea.
There was also a touch pool where volunteers would explain the different the creatures and visitors were allowed to touch the fishes. This one was the favorite of all kids.

Overall it was a very educative and fun visit. The place, however was very crowded and noisy due to kids.

It took us about 3 hours to tour the entire place. After which, we headed out to the Monterey downtown. We bought a fridge magnet and got ourselves a hot chocolate. It was already six and we skipped the rest of the plan and came straight back home.

What: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Where: 888 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
Hours: 10 am-6 pm (check website for holidays & specials)
Admission fee: $34.95

Friday Eve in Mountain View Downtown

Within no time, 15 days have passed. After spending most of my time making lists, looking up stores/deals/furniture online, I was more than delighted when V pinged me on Friday noon asking me if I was willing to go to Mountain View downtown. Suddenly my boring day looked brighter.

As decided, I took the Caltrain from home and met V at the station. I was monstrously hungry. We stepped into a Greek restaurant-Gyros House and ordered hummus. To our surprise, it came with regular bread instead of pita bread. What was even more surprising was that they had no pita bread at all. A Greek restaurant with no pita? I was way too hungry to judge the hummus and I ate a major portion of it, although I couldn't finish it.

We were supposed to have dinner with friends so we didn't order anything else and decided to stroll along the downtown. Compared to the Sunnyvale downtown, MTV has a lot more variety in terms of cuisines and restaurants. There were at least 2 restaurants of each cuisine. As I walked passed a Mongolian place, I was fascinated by the way the noodles and vegetables were stirred on a large skillet. However, V told me that non-veg food was also prepared on the same skillet so I had to take heart only in looking at it instead of tasting.

Until our friends arrived, we whiled away time in a second hand book store (one of the few places of common interest for both me and V). When the rest of the people came, we chose yet another Mediterranean restaurant-Cafe Bucklava to have dinner. Food was nothing great but we had fun laughing and talking. It was an evening well spent.