We also discussed that in every star ship, the captain has to make the big decisions but the admirals would be the bosses of captains. I told him his mother is his admiral and we have to listen to her. He asserted that he is the captain so he still gets to be the boss of me. More discussions followed on who is the boss of everyone. That his dad could be the boss of his mum and that Santosh, because he is so tall, could be the boss of everyone.
My speech was jotted in points on the back of the Meeting Agenda. I spoke about how so many countries have enhanced public transport, so why not the Bay Area? Traffic problems are going to get worse as new projects bring more people to this area because everyone wants to drive. Cars cause congestion. It’s a very car centric growth, we have to be more people centric – So many people benefit from it including the elderly, children, disabled, students and poorer people, many of whom are coloured and live along the ECR corridor. I talked about the cool new features which would be in this project and how sitting in a car with a dedicated lane for buses would make people stressing out in cars wish they were on buses, relaxing, using the WiFi or sleeping.
Winter Solstice is just around the bend. Christmas decorations and songs are in all shops here. But it doesn’t look much like winter. It has been raining (making up for the 3 years of drought in CA) and it’s much colder now but according to German standards, this could well be Autumn. I keep waiting for it to get worse. In many ways though, CA is much less built for the cold.
We reached my friend’s house three hours later and were welcomed by her and her husband. Their friends were just stepping out for a break. We sat down to a warm, nutritious, elaborate and mildly exotic meal and pleasant conversation. In no time, their friends were back and a lively discussion on world history and European prejudices began. Then we began to play a game similar to Taboo, called Million Dollar Password
Prof Sen walked from the elevators towards his office and asked if we were there to meet him. (There was a student sitting on the same bench too) I got up and said yes, thinking he might ask one of us to come in with him. He said “Sorry I’m late. I have to take a call, could you come in 2-3 minutes after I go in?” So I waited 4 minutes to be polite and went to the door.
We went to see the Glass Pumpkin show in Palo Alto and walked around after dinner at Oren’s Hummus on Friday, and to Sunday Assembly (http://sundayassemblysiliconvalley.org/) yesterday which I had heard of from James Doty after the lecture at Stanford. I practiced driving after more than a month.
The safety and rules here are quite different to Oldenburg. Bikes ride on the road with the cars instead of elevated next to pedestrians. In many roads there are no separate lanes and you have to share a lane with cars. The rules say that you should keep as right as practical but the safety tips on several websites say that if you ride without taking as much space as you need, the chances of getting hit by doors of cars parked on the road or even cars entering the road from driveways is much higher – as drivers are going to look further into the street for other cars and could easily miss a bike. But on the bright side, Google maps shows which roads have bike lanes and recommends very different routes to what you would take if you were driving a car based on safety.
The dry yellow grass of Californian hills gave way to more and more trees as we entered the area of Yosemite mountains. We reached Olmstead point just after sunset and made our way towards our lodge. We stopped to eat a late lunch/early dinner (linner as we have started to call it) under the stars near Tioga Lake. We had been watching the weather and Santosh was worried about the cloud cover predicted. We saw half the sky full on stars on that night itself.
home made banana icecream which is the coolest kitchen discovery of late – it’s a one ingredient recipe:
chop up ripe bananas into coins and freeze them (one scoop= one banana (large)) and once it’s frozen, use a blender to crush it until it reaches icecream consistency and voila! You can optionally also add cinnamon, nuts, other fruits
or chocolate on top of it once you’re done and refreeze whatever you don’t eat. It’s perfect for vegans, lactose free and gluten free people and those who have issues with preservatives/added sugars.
After a filling lunch, we went to the boating place. Though the initial plan was to use canoes and kayaks, given the size of the group, we decided to go with two rafts to increase the bonding. Santosh and I were with two fourteen year old boys and a ten year old girl. The energy and competitiveness of the kids got us to stay ahead of the adult group throughout the ~1.5 mile route. We went down some rapids. Later we got stuck on some rocks because the water levels were lower. I sat at the back muttering ‘left back, right forward’ to remember how to paddle to keep the boat straight despite the occasional imbalance in rowing from the two sides. B, the coxswain of her rowing team, the niece who’s grad party it was the next day, was at the back of the other raft. Apparently she became exasperated with her rowers’ lack of coordination.