Relaxing and Delicous Little Morsels
16.12.2015 - 17.12.2015 13 °C
I've been here for four days. I have to say I am completely relaxed after doing pretty much a whole lotta nothing. Each morning I've been for a walk uptown, which takes about 15 minutes. A nice walk through a lovely quiet neighbourhood up to the main street of Noe Valley where there are lot of little shops and boutiques and a great little supermarket called Whole Foods. The new IGA Marketplace stores are based loosely on this set up. They have a mind boggling array of fresh/organic food including fruit and veg and a eye-popping butchery where everything is of course, larger than life. I could definitely eat my way through the cheese department, no problem. A big variety of French cheese, the likes of which you wouldn't find in Australia...probably because of our import restrictions. The French brie (which I know we can get back home) was incredibly inexpensive. A huge slab for just over $3. There are so many others I want to try, that I had last time and still remember how delicious they were. Parmigiano Reggiano is way cheaper here than in Australia. They also sell the rinds in a tub, dirt cheap (with still a fair bit of cheese on them). I've had a lovely leisurely stroll through this market each day. Lucy is at work all this week, so it gives me a chance to just wander at my own pace. I'm definitely not a fan of American bread - the supermarket kind anyway - it tastes so sweet. Like cake! The artisan breads are great. Just as well I can buy them here because I love my bread! Then there's the supermarket etiquette. You know how we Aussies just amble along taking our time, blocking the aisles and not giving a toss about other people's needs. Well, here they are very much in tune with doing the right thing, not getting in anyone's way and they line up behind a line with a sign declaring "Line up here for Checkout 3" etc. I almost blew it the first time I went in there. I hadn't realised that people line up down the aisles where the food is....I just went straight to the checkout.....until I noticed people glaring at me. Then the penny dropped. As I've said before, these guys love lining up for things.
All in all, the shopping experience so far has been really good. Hospitality is as it should be - hospitable! We Aussies could certainly take a leaf from their book when it comes to service. None of this "Are youse right?" stuff. It's "Good morning. Please let me know if I can help you in any way".
On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to go in to work with Lucy to Pixar Animation Studios. I was last there three years ago and not much has changed except for her office and position. The place is just fabulous. Whichever is the latest movie released, there are giant statues of the characters in the foyer, on posters, in paintings etc. It's really well done. At the moment The Good Dinosaur is being featured. Can't wait to see this movie for myself. They have apparently used ground breaking technology in this movie that has never been done before in any animated movie.
In the foyer is a large display case of Oscars and Golden Globes. Quite a sight to see. The studio is behind huge closed gates with a security guard, of course. Once inside, you can tell right away that everyone is well looked after. The main cafe has a fantastic array of gourmet delights with a wood-fired pizza oven, a grill, carvery, salad bar etc. The food is very inexpensive but SO good. All top quality. Nice to see a workplace doing the right thing by their employees.
You can get to see a fair bit behind the scenes if you are accompanied by an employee. Lucky me. The halls showcase an amazing range of talent showing the ideas behind currently featured movie in drawings, sketches, videos etc. from inception to completion. There are some hugely talented people working there. There was so much more to see, which I have seen before, but time didn't allow us this time.
After a fabulous lunch at Pixar, Lucy and I headed over to Emeryville (where Pixar is located) across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco. A whole street of all different kinds of shops, boutiques, cafes etc. There was one place in particular I wanted to go to called "Charming Charlie". My two older grandkids and my daughter-in-law would go crazy in there. I bought a few lovely things for myself. I have to say the quality was amazing for such a great price. Might have to go back there before I leave to head home.
After a little shopping we went back to Pixar, where Lucy had to attend a meeting for the afternoon and evening. She arranged an Uber car for me to go back to the city. Incredibly cheap and such a nice ride. $24 and no tipping necessary. I can see why people prefer to use Uber than a taxi service.
Once home, I took advantage of the afternoon and evening to myself and just relaxed watching Netflix. USA Netflix is so much better than the Australian version. This puts us to shame.
The weather has been pretty nice so far. Only one day of rain, which was much needed apparently. Today began nicely but the fog and overcast skies have rolled in. Usually by 2:30 in the afternoon there is a definite chill in the air. This apartment is bloody freezing. Being a very old building it has no insulation, therefore the cold comes right through the walls. Right now, at 3:30 in the afternoon I have four layers of clothes on. It's going to be a cold night! The temperature outside is 13C but I'm sure it's colder than that inside!
Tonight sees me babysitting a friend's one year old daughter, Georgia Lee, who is just as cute as can be. Met her the other day and an instant bond was formed. At least their apartment has heat so I'm not going to mind it one bit!
The aroma of sweet smelling melting moments is filling the kitchen so i think a cuppa is in order and a sample taste test.
I'm looking forward to one more day here alone. Lucy starts three weeks' holiday tomorrow aftenoon. We have lots to see and do and lots of entertaining to do. Bring it on!