Saturday, September 20, 2008

If I don't travel, am I not me?

At the Cape of Good Hope, South AfricaJerri at the Cape of Good Hope
I haven't traveled out of the country in about two years. I just haven't had the means. Well, that's not entirely true. I never really had the means to travel, but I did it anyway. I always found a way even if I didn't have the money as long as I had the time. I'm worried that my interest in traveling is going away and that I'll never get it back.

I'm worried that I'll become one of those people who tells stories of how I traveled around the world when I was in my twenties when I am in my 60s. The feeling that I'm out of touch with the world is beginning. I don't really dream about going places like I used to.
When I see pictures of travelers on beautiful water, islands, boats, adventure I say to myself, "Hmm, that looks nice. Lucky them." Then I rationlize it and say, "Well, I've already done that. Let them have their turn." Then I freak out thinking to myself, "Wait! What if they catch up to how many countries I've been to! What if they have more fun than I did!" Lastly, I think to myself, "Well, Jerri, this is the life you've chosen for yourself. It's time to be stable and begin saving up for your retirement." Really! Who am I?

Antigua, Caribbean

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Finally! San Francisco and San Jose

I took a long weekend-flying out on Friday afternoon and returning Monday afternoon, Labor Day, to visit Kristina in San Jose and San Francisco. I've been dying to go to San Fran for about ten years and the opportunity just never came up until now!

I had no idea what to expect. In my head, San Francisco is home to On The Road, beatnik types like Jack Kerouac and Full House.


I arrived at the San Jose airport around eight where Kristina picked me up and took me down to Santana Row for dinner at Thea's. I had an awesome Raspberry Caiprinha and we (Kristina, me and Kristina's friend, Kelly) shared phyllo pie stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, leeks and onions and pita with hummus.

Afterward we went to the Hotel Valencia that I recognized as being in San Antonio as well. The crowd was pretty posh. The courtyard has nice running water fountains and fire pits with lounges set up around them. We were pretty tired and Saturday was going to be our big day, so we decided to go home and crash around 1 am.


We woke up early and drove to San Francisco from San Jose. Of course, I had to stop at Google and get a picture.

The amazing thing about San Francisco that I didn't expect was the sudden temperature change. It was at least ten degrees cooler once we got there and I saw clouds hanging low above the valleys. As we approached the city, I saw rows of small houses packed in tightly along the hills. It reminded me of the townships in South Africa. Weird. I know, that this city reminded me of third world living conditions. When we arrived in San Francisco proper, the sky was clear and we could see the top of the Golden Gate bridge, which I am told, is rare.

We ate at a cute coffee/wine cafe and explored the city seeing all the touristy spots before taking our luggage to the hotel- Westin in Union Square- and getting some rest before our big night on the town.

As a sweet surprise, Kristina took me to the Bobbi Brown counter at Nordstrom's so we could get makeovers before we went out. We got dressed up and decided to leave to go around the corner from our hotel to a club called Slide. We managed to find some cute Marine boys in town for the Labor Day weekend and spent most of the night talking to them and dancing. They were about to leave to go on their third tour of Iraq and I'm not much into long distance relationships so we said our goodbyes and Kristina and I went home to our awesome Westin hotel room and beds.


We packed up our belongings and said good bye to the beautiful city of San Francisco and drove back to San Jose. Kristina took me on a tour of the huge homes around San Jose. To be honest, while the homes were spectacularly large to be sure, I was pretty unimpressed with their lack of personality. They were big, the yards were small and the view was pretty uninspiring. I don't love San Jose.

In the afternoon, Kristina took me to some vineyards (wine trees as I like to call them) outside of San Jose. Not Napa Valley, but still quite fun! First we headed to Fortino Winery where we had some amazing Almond Champagne. Next we made our way to Sycamore Creek Vineyards where we jumped in their vineyards.

After several glasses of wine for me, not Kristina, we drove home and rested before beginning the last leg of the vacation: the continuation of our Melting Pot World Tour! Kristina and I have been to the Melting Pots in Ft. Lauderdale, Houston and now San Jose. With belly's full, we went home and watched Exiled on MTV and laughed with Kristina's mom about all the fun we had and all the silly things we said (i.e. "Horses are pretty chill as long as you eat them.")


The next morning, Kristina's mom made me a goodbye omelette and then they drove me to the San Jose airport around 11 am. It was the perfect mini-vacation!