Sonntag, 30. März 2014

Visiting San Francisco

Already more than one month that I'm here and all kind of stuff happened, including an out of body experience.
After two perfect weeks we got again some rain. Just in time for the arrival of Philipp and Eveline. As a lucky coincidence they're giving California a visit and started their tour in San Francisco. So I took of Wednesday afternoon and together we explored the city a during the afternoon. We decided to defy the weather and headed towards twin peaks. But first we made a stop in the Castro district, just to look around before getting some refreshments. After a bus ride through narrow streets and tight corners we arrived and enjoyed the view from a very windy place.
Thanks for the visit!

The view was very nice and we could even spot where I work. Can you find it in the picture below?
My office is almost visible in the back, on the hill directly over the bay bridge. Just a little bit left of the black skyscraper on the outer right part of  downtown.
So that's about that. On the weekends I still do quite some running and went to discover Tilden Regional Park. It's really a marvelous place and I like to run around in the nature. There are many trails that you can take and you don't hear the city at all. It's still close and on nice and sunny days you meet many hikers. Enjoy the view!

And last but not least, I can tell you that I'm not yet infected with the out of body virus. I got tested during the spatial stories event at SwissNex. Take care and don't get infected!

Sonntag, 16. März 2014

The show of sports

Thanks to a good old friend I could go and see the Golden State Warriors in action.

Maybe first some other things. It was a wonderful week with sun everyday and warm temperature. Somehow astonishing that it's only March, but spring is already in California and you see flowers blooming everywhere
some tree on UC Berkeley campus

Last weekend I met Paul and Kara, our lovely neighbors from last time, again. They welcomed me to their new home with delicious steak, salad and sweet potato fries.

We also talked about sports and soon after Paul wrote me that there would be a Warriors game on Tuesday evening. So we headed out to Oakland where the Oracle Arena is located. I had a little trouble at the security check, because I forgot about my classes case which has quite a lot of metal. But as a foreigner you can always play the card of not understanding to well and so I got in.
After buying some tasty nachos, we looked for our seats and got to them just right in time for the start.

The game was quite the show. First all got dark and with light effects and video played on the big display in the middle of the ring, how the players come through the city and run into the stadium. Impressive music underlined all the special effects and then the speaker announced all the players of the home team. It was a bollywood special this evening, so all cheerleaders were dressed in Indian robes while encouraging the players. 

Soon after this initial show the game started for the first quarter and the visitors, the Dallas Mavs, had a fast start and made the first points. The Warriors were always on their heels and not long into the game they took the lead. After a couple of minutes into the first quarter was a first break. Unfamiliar to me right in the middle of the quarter. After an attack was finished, the players left the field for the cheerleaders and music was played. Short while later the game continued as nothing had happen.
Sold out stadium, almost 20'000 people!

It went on like that, couple of minutes of Basketball, then a break with little shows or games. Like kids doing a kind of race with dribbling, throwing a basket, some guys try to throw the ball through the loop from increasing distance, a band playing or an Indian dancing group. The game was also outstanding and there were some very nice moves and we saw almost everything, from dunks to three point throws on the very last second of a quarter. At the end, the Warriors won clearly and the final score was 108 to 85.

It is a fascinating sport to watch and we had a great evening with an entertaining game. I have to say that they make a huge show all around the game, and sometimes you don't know where to look at. Or as Paul said it: "This is so American!"
Pauls comment to parachutes falling from the sky: "You have to take a picture. This is so American!"

Samstag, 8. März 2014

Back again

Time flew by fast and now it's been already two weeks since I've arrived safe and sound in Berkeley. This time I'll stay a little longer and want to share once again my experiences besides the work in the lab.

And after a short run this morning, I'm motivated to write something about what I experienced this first two weeks.
The apartment looks familiar and without problems I found my ways around Berkeley. So what to do when you arrive on a Friday evening, tired after a 12h flight and not yet accustomed to the local time and rhythm. Well go, grab a six-pack and go all the long way down the stairs until you get to Birdlands.

It was good to see some familiar faces once again from almost three years back, when we made our first expedition to this northern Californian city. There are some changes though and not everything looks exactly the same. Birdland is a bit less wild, but you still find great people to talk with and amazing bands are playing life jazz. Other things don't change and there are still a lot of birdhouses all around the garage and backyard. Enough Birdland for the moment.

I got lucky again with my flatmates and one of them needed some wine for work. So I could join her on a trip to Napa Valley.

My feet still remembered the way to the bus stop to go up the hill and this time, my supervisor was prepared that I would come.
Besides other things, I finally managed to ride a cable car in SF. And my curiosity didn't stop just on the ride, which lead me to visit the Cable Car Museum. An interesting place where you see the actual cable coming together and hear during the whole visit the clatter and rattle of the cables.

Just one advice, if you ever want to take a ride with this kind of public transport. Next to the Powell BART station is a final stop of the cable cars, where they are turned around and go back uphill. But you have always a long queue to get on. I wasn't motivated to wait I don't know how long. Therefore it was more convenient to just to wait at a cable car stop and jump in when it drives by.

So far from me. Enjoy the ride and have a good time.