Donnerstag, 30. Juni 2011

A last weekend

Well not for us, but our friend Carlos. Our guide to the mission, pubs, bars and touristic stuff during the first few weekends, is heading back to Columbia. The weekend started on Friday with BBQ and Jazz of course at Birdland's.

Before the hangover could get hold on us, we organized a trip to the mountains to spend the afternoon in the sun. Sooner than expected we went back to lake Anza. With some difficulties and loss on the way, four of us arrived at the goal. Due to some misunderstanding, Charlotte wasn't picked up by the bus (I apologize) and Baptiste was left home because of health problems. Luckily he regained fast his health.

This time we were better prepared and we took our bathing suits with us. So swimming in the lake and sunbathing has been the afternoon activities.

On sunday we got up even earlier, well most uf us. Fitting somehow in a quite full bart, we went to San Francisco. With Market Street full of people and a parade in the middle, we saw a lot of things. Some you don't mind and some ... well never mind.

Walking from Powell to Civic Center we saw most of the Gay Pride parade. Once we've walked through the festivities, Nona and Kathrine joined us. In Golden Gate Park was an free concert: Alice's Summerthing.

So after an active weekend Carlos' last evening in Berkeley approached. Even the weather was sad and it rained all Tuesday. But like Carlos himself said: "I guess it was meant to be in this way." We made the best of it and enjoyed one last Pizza and a few last beers together.

Dienstag, 21. Juni 2011

Lake Anza - Tilden Regional Park

Finally the rain has left Berkeley and we are enjoying the sun. It's becoming warm and almost hot. Luckily most of the buildings at the lab have air conditioning, But it seams the one in my lab is broken, as well as Baptists who works in a office just down the floor. Marc and Kean have more luck, well only a bit. It seams that the regulation of their system isn't very sophisticated and the room is to cold or to hot.

Stop the complaining and let's go back to the weekend. Friday evening was a pasta dinner at Vicky's place. My thanks to Alice for cooking. It's a lovely house with a huge garden a bit more up the hill. A lot of wild animals like squirrels and deer roam through the neighborhood.

(Thanks to Charlotte for the picture)

After a good night's sleep we looked for ideas, what we could do on Saturday. Looking at google maps, I've found a small lake in the hill. Lake Enza is on the southern part of the Tilden Regional Park and according to google maps within 90 minutes walk. So equipped with a beagle filled with whipped cream (one of our most consumed grocery) Mark (red) and I (blue) started our odyssey to find the lake:

By pure luck we found ourself together at the lake. After a 2h walk, in my case, and some less time on the bike, in Marc's case. But it was worth it and we took a nice hike around the park.

For once the sign had a good reason. This was part of the path around the lake.

Lake Anza is another place we think about going back. Not only because you can bath there and we didn't took our bathing shorts along. It's a really pretty place and the parks invites for some other hikes.


Since last week we are mobile. From our kind landlady we received two high-tech bikes. Now we are cruising around Berkeley to go shopping and do other stuff. Actually, since I found a helmet (you are obligated to were a helmet to enter the lab), I bike all morning up the hill to the work.

Montag, 13. Juni 2011

Napa Sonoma

Because a wine loving guy from our group didn't want to believe there are good wines in California, we had to check this. Luckily there is Birdland where you meet all sort of people, as it happens also a local wine connoisseur. So last Saturday morning after a fried egg for breakfast we left with the usual Californian delay of about an hour.

Chris, our friendly guide had chosen some nice wineries. And after a 2 hours car drive we arrived at the first place: Francis Ford Coppola Winary. We had picked a beautiful day, but somehow I'd expected something different, or would you say this is a winery?

This is America and they have some good wines. We spent some time trying more than half a dozen different wines. Chardonnay, Syrah, Touriga and a 2006 Archimedes, to mention just some of them. Then we went on driving towards the second destination through a very nice landscape.

But sometimes you just have to wait...

The second and already last place we visited was Beringer. Another huge winery with a beautiful castle and garden. Again we tasted us through the assortment. We even got the possibility to take a sip of a 115$ bottle. Even as a not-vine specialist I've to admit, that this is better than two-bucks jack. But finally I'm happy with the few bottles I acquired without blowing up the budget.

We thank Chris for the trip and we hope to find time for a second expedition to taste some other good wine.

Donnerstag, 9. Juni 2011

San Francisco, part two

Since we're in the states and doing all the work in English, You can profit as well and try to understand what I'm writing.

We survived the second week as well as the first one. Starting with Memorial Day the week was again a short one. Working hard all day and night the weekend came fast. Well of course we still got home for sleep and eating dinner, relaxing, looking around the internet and checking the latest news. We didn’t have really nice weather, it was everyday cloudy and almost every day we had some rain. All the people we’ve met so far said that it isn’t normal to have rain this time. But we make the best out of it and in Birdland the BBQ on Friday evening takes place in all the cases.
Saturday came and went by without us doing great things. With cloud and rain and low temperatures nobody was really eager to do something great. Finally around 6pm we found some motivation and went to the Telegraph Avenue. We found a nice place with live music. After the band stopped playing, we went to another god place, where you have live music and BBQ. Passing by Trader Joe’s to get some Six-Packs we enjoyed listening to a great blues band with different lead guitarist and singers.
Next day we went to SF, again, and walked down to fisherman’s wharf. After some problems with our mobile communication (the connection broke after saying hello, several times; bad quality in the sound; paying for receiving phone calls, to mention just a few) we met with our friends form Columbia and France.

From Pier 39 we walked all along the bay, passing Ghirardelli, Ocean Beach (with a brief excursion in the sea), the Exploratorium, to the Golden Gate Bridge. At the first pylon, we had a great business idea of selling beer at this spot, but we couldn’t solve all problems, like restricted place and probably even more restricted laws. So we went back, this time by Bus. But we jumped out after half the way back, just to see a small road. We concluded our touristic tour by walking through little Italy and Chinatown.

Ah and by the way, if you want to know where the underminer form the Incredibles ended, he’s momentarily working at the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sonntag, 5. Juni 2011

San Francisco, zum ersten

Schnell hatten wir unseren Arbeitsplatz im Labor. Jetzt mussten wir nur noch wissen, was wir genau machen müssen. Die ersten drei Arbeitstage waren wir also mit Lesen beschäftigt.

Am Freitag landete die zweite Hälfte der Gruppe aus Fribourg und so machten wir uns zu viert auf in den Birdland Jazzista Social Club. Nach einem langen Fussmarsch (einfach die Eingangstreppe hinunter) kamen wir dort an. Birdman Mike hiess uns herzlich Willkommen.

Am Samstag gingen wir zu viert nach San Francisco und schauten uns ein erstes Mal richtiag in der Stadt um.

Am Sonntag war Carneval. Da wir aber am Abend zuvor erneut ein BBQ machten und alle etwas ausschlafen mussten verpassten wir leider den Umzug. So flanierten wir durch die Mission Street (irgendwie wie Schnittersonntag, nur dass man für ein Bier in ein abgesperrtes Areal muss) und genossen später das schöne Wetter im Dolores Park.

Im Trinker-Gefängnis:

Dolores Park:

Samstag, 4. Juni 2011

Die ersten paar Tage

Hallo alle zusammen

Vor einigen Tagen, schon bald Wochen, sind wir gut in San Francisco gelandet und ohne Probleme eingereist. Etwas Schlange stehen bevors zum Zoll geht und schon ist man in den Staaten. Im Vergleich zu unseren Kollegen im Norden hatten wir es sehr leicht. Kein zusätzliches Arbeitsvisum oder sonstige Probleme.
Nur kurz umschauen und dann ab in den BART und direkt nach Berkeley. Mit Hilfe von GPS fanden wir auch über die Strasse und in unser zukünftiges Heim. Am Eingang trafen wir auch gleich auf unsere Mitbewohnerinnen und einige ihrer Freunde.
Der erste Barbesuch folgte wenig später und damit auch das erste amerikanische Bier "Blue Moon". Weitere werden folgen.

Am Mittwoch war unsere Eintritt ins Labor. Schnell bekamen wir den Badge der uns Zugang zu fast allem erlaubt.Shuttelbusdienst inbegriffen. Anschliessend mussten wir das Büro von unserem Supervisor finden und damit hoffentlich auch diesen. Als er nach
ein bisschen warten auch auftauchte, war er sichtlich überrascht uns zu sehen. Irgendwie hatte er uns erst eine Woche später erwartet.

Unsere Wohnung

Die Aussicht

Und der Jazzclub im Keller