California… Day 2

My day started about 2am, I’d kept going until 10pm, but woke up feeling pretty fresh at 2. One of my dubious talents is the ability to stay in bed, even  if I’m feeling pretty awake. I watched some junk on tv for 15 minutes and was soon back asleep until 0615 when  I decided it was getting ridiculous, so got up and unpacked my case.

A good few minutes were lost to wandering around my room, marginally dazed trying to figure out WHERE THE HELL IS THE WARDROBE? It got to the point I was considering calling the front desk… could I be defeated by a wardrobe,  sorry, closet?

It’s in the bathroom. Obviously.

And so I made quite a few cups of coffee and pottered around before going for a run. Finding a nice bike/footpath I ran a very pleasant 6.8 miles.  Perfect temperature, I regretted not taking my sunglasses but really loved the run. It wasn’t fast, my legs felt heavy from the flight and the gym the other day. There was a really cool purple bird that hovered for a while. It’s always nice to run somewhere new; I’m considering a 7 miler tomorrow morning,  to go and see some sea. That will probably require a 5am start, but making the most of the jetlag, why not?

Breakfast at a diner, I couldn’t help but think of Jack Reacher and the heavy mugs of strong black coffee. A light breakfast seemed reasonable,  eggs with some cheese and bacon and stuff… I was wrong, this thing was gargantuan. So big I felt slightly unwell, and had to return to my room for a bit of a lie down. I’d like to say that was more down to jetlag than my gluttony,  but I’d be lying.

I don't feel this photo really does it justice. How big must the chickens be?

I don’t feel this photo really does it justice. How big must the chickens be?

During my lie down I watched a little bit of NASCAR – bonkers. 200mph average speeds, and they just seem to bounce off the walls all the time. Somewhat recovered I went to Whole foods. These are not what one would typically consider fun, but wholefoods was great! So many fun looking supliments and a LOT of cheese. While I lived in Canada I suffered a dearth of cheese and assumed it was a North American thing. I was wrong,  some of these smelt awful, which is always a good sign.

Stalinade was not purchased in Whole Foods. It's red coloured sugar water, but fun!

Stalinade was not purchased in Whole Foods. It’s red coloured sugar water, but fun!

Having walked yesterday I decided to treat myself and get the bus into town today. There was a world music festival on in Palo Alto and I’d been assured it was worth checking out. It was fine, basically a closed road and a bunch of buskers some of whom were very good, some seeme more like they’d been forced to perform by their parents and were now hating every second of it, I found myself feeling sorry for them, and slightly awkward watching.

Alas, the rug gallery was closed...

Alas, the rug gallery was closed…

I also decided to go and check out the Stanford campus. Crikey. I went to Cardiff University,  it has some pretty nice buildings,  the imaginatively named “Main Building” is pretty impressive but The School of Biosciences next door is one of the ugliest constructions in history. While walking around, checking out the Rodin sculptures (not many of them in Cardiff) the very impressive church (I’m not religious,  but those who are can really throw up a decent building) and the Hoover Tower (I’d hoped to check out the viewing deck but it was closed by the time I got to it), I was shocked by the complete absence of anywhere to buy a beer.

What do you mean your uni doesn't have Rodin?

What do you mean your uni doesn’t have Rodin?

Oh, you know, we've got a little church on site...

Oh, you know, we’ve got a little church on site…

I think there had been graduations today; a lot of folks in Cap and Gown, an incredible number of folding chairs and a strong feeling that this was a better class of Graduation that The St. David’s Centre in Cardiff, where I was accompanied by a hangover that could slay a Walrus.

I’d been told to check out Phil’s coffee, and to have the mint mojito iced coffee. I found a place called Philz coffee, it seems I’m not sufficiently down with da kidz to realise the spelling. Anyhow, I went in and with some trepidation orderer the aforementioned beverage; I like coffee simple- black and strong. The barrista asked “do you want that the way it’s best? Sweet and creamy?” I couldn’t help but think that an odd question; he’s basically said “I can make this nice, or a bit crap, which do you fancy?” Naturally I went with his advice, and while it was more like a dessert than a coffee it was pretty good.

My experience of the weather I  Palo Alto so far is that it’s very pleasant warm and with a slight breeze. This is PERFECT weather for the outdoor consumption of beer, but the concept of a beer garden seems to be lacking. Having walked around for about 5 hours I had sore feet and fancied a swift half (US pints are almost 20% smaller than UK pints, so basically halves) so gave in to a beer but it seemed a shame to be drinking indoors. I also went to The Rose and Crown English Ale House… Old Speckled Hen is not a beer that travels well, and this place was a bit of a dive, but with a very impressive beer list!

Ah, the Rose and Crown. Those windows, and the Tudor looking wood? Painted on.

Ah, the Rose and Crown. Those windows, and the Tudor looking wood? Painted on.


While I was walking around, I noticed in a lot of places there were markings on the pavement reading “USA” with an arrow. I cannot fathom what this means, is it just in case one’s ambulating and suddenly things “Crap, where am I? What country am I in?”. There was always an arrow too, perhaps it’s a sign that one’s not in the most American spot and following the arrow will fix that?


What do you mean?

What do you mean?

And with that I retired, I updated this late on Sunday for a post relating to what I did on Saturday that most people won’t have seen until Sunday. But quite a few people looked at it; do you folks really have nothing better to do with you time? And someone from Brazil looked at it. Olá whomever you may be!

Oh, I almost forgot, I saw an excellent train – not a great photo of it, but three power cars. I also discovered that the Cal Train (mentioned yesterday) only has a powercar at one end, and so in one direction pushes, in the other pulls. How does the driver see where it’s going?

TOTD - train of the day

TOTD – train of the day