Sunday, January 21, 2007

First Impressions of San Jose

Duncan, one of the Vic students already over here, kindly agreed to pick us up from the airport. This was a very good thing as it would have taken us a considerable amount of time to find our "way to San Jose", let alone the issue of 40kg of luggage. Each.

On the way to the apartment, we saw just how easy it is for people to "miss" San Jose (presumably what makes it so hard to find). From San Francisco to San Jose is one continuous urban/suburban sprawl, most of which you don't even see because the freeway is walled on both sides. But at least now we both know the way to San Jose: go south of San Francisco on the 101 and keep going 'til you see the off-ramp.

San Jose, as we've experienced it so far, is mostly suburban, although it has a highway running through it, so it doesn't really seem as sleepy as, say, Levin (although Levin also has a highway running through it, it still counts as sleepy because it's full of old people). The apartment complex is pretty flash and pretty damn big. Unlike the apartments we imagined, Santa Palmia is quite spread out and none of the buildings are more than 4 floors. It has a great big fountain outside the central entrance, a pool, spa and gym in each of the three main subdivisions, and around 20 buildings total, each with 15 apartments of varying sizes. The whole thing is styled in a very Mediterranean theme. Will post photos when we get our computers.

So first off we decided that we should go out in search of basic supplies, something to eat and a sense of direction. So after getting directions to the nearest block of shops, and being hastily warned only to cross the roads on pedestrian crossings (more on that another time), we sallied forth. Our first stop was a predictable one: McDonald's, which succeeded in its mission to always be the closest source of nutrients (for some description of nutrients) to any given location. Also we thought it would be slightly treasonous for our first meal in the US not to be takeaways. The meals tasted like they always do, the drink was slightly larger than an NZ size, and the service was the same with the exception that we were given order-number tickets. The only hint that we were indeed in America came when I ordered us two Double Deluxe Quarter Pounders (or something like that), one of which was a combo, and the server then looked earnestly at Christina waiting to hear what her order was. Evidently ordering two huge burgers for one person is quite standard now that they've taken away the Super Sized meals.

Having dispensed with that tradition, our next stop was a store called "Rite Aid", which was essentially a diary expanded to roughly twice the size of New World Metro. Despite being this large, it didn't appear sell much more than a standard dairy, it just sold more of it. More on our adventures with Rite Aid later, but we left the store with two packets of noodles (which were to be our dinner), a gallon of milk, and some cereal named Smart Start, which we foolishly assumed to be reasonably healthy because it slathered itself in vitamin-sounding things.

We also paid a visit to Radio Shack (which was like a smaller Dick Smiths, complete with a staff of two geeky 20-year-old guys who appeared visibly exited by the presence of a girl in the store). In the end we picked up two plug adaptors, mostly to ensure we wouldn't be without our own geeky toys for too long.

And that was, more or less, it. An extremely kind Duncan cooked dinner for us (note to Blaise: Duncan is a member of the evil forces of vegetarianism, but we escaped unscathed and satisfied), we organised bedding (one couch, one pillow, one mattress, two sleeping bags, you work out the possibilities), read for a few hours while desperately trying to stay awake long enough to go to sleep at the "correct" time and stave off jetlag, and then got some well-deserved sleep.


Ellena said...

hey nice stuff ya got there, crack up about the geeky dudes, muhahaha.

cheers,El Nojo!

Geoffrey said...

did you start your day smart?

Tina said...

No, we started our day full of sugar.

There were about 10 different listings of sugar on the ingredients, including honey, fructose, molasses, sugar alcohols and generic sugar. I was quite scared.

Geoffrey said...

a sugar overload (complimented by caffine overload) is probably regarded as a smart start to any american's day.