Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Under the trees, on the road to the Googleplex

Yesterday we visited the redwood forests in Muir Woods outside San Francisco. It was nice not to be driving long distances, walking for 10 minutes and then driving back again for a change. Whilst there were bus loads of school kids visiting, taking one of the slightly longer trails we went for 20 minutes at a time without meeting anyone. It's a fantastic place, unbelievably close to such a big city as San Francisco. It seems strange that it's been a protected forest for about 100 years now. That's not a side of America that's as well known as some of the other aspects of this country. Although in Death Valley one of the volunteer rangers was telling us that funding in at least that national park is less than it was 5 years ago. So perhaps these great natural resources aren't as well appreciated as they used to be. Maybe if oil was discovered in Muir Woods....

We had a great time emptying our credit card in an all vegan shop called Otsu. The guys running it were really friendly. We even found vegan marshmallows and bought their entire stock, a paltry 3 bags. Vegan marshmallows are hard to get. These ones are from Vegan Supreme Marshmallows. They pointed out a completely vegetarian supermarket not far away called Rainbow, a workers' co-operative. It was a bit busy to even get parking nearby so we passed on it yesterday. Apart from the sheer novelty value that such a thing actually exists, I'm not sure that being on honeymoon we have much business going supermarket shopping,but we might go back before we leave anyway!

The guys in Otsu made a funny comment, which I guess is mostly universally true. We were talking about how great San Francisco was for vegans and all the restaurants, shops, supermarkets and facilities there were to make life easy, especially compared to Dublin, which incidentally isn't that bad at all for vegans. Their immediate reaction was "New York is much better for vegans, it has 55 vegetarian/vegan restaurants, the most in the world". The grass is always greener!

We spend some time and a lot of money in a posh nightclub place upstairs in the hotel we're staying in, called Harry Denton's Starlight Room. If you're not dressed up you're allowed in from 6-8pm and they strongly encourage reservations for later in the evening. We were undecided as to whether it was a Betty Gable or a James Bond kind of place. But it's on the 21st floor sitting at a table with a view across the San Francisco skyline sipping cocktails. We had a good time. It's nice to have time to actually talk, with children around going out is an enjoyable experience, but very different. We made yet another resolution to find a babysitter and Do This More Often.

So in a few minutes we're off to Google where Rose-Anne can experience the delights of Charlie's cooking. The Google canteen must a contender for one of the best vegan cafes in the Bay Area, except that it isn't open to allcomers. it usually has two or three main dishes suitable for vegans each day, with lots of standbys (like the salad bar and the Middle Eastern food) which are always available. I was surprised to still fit into my wedding suit when I came back after a month of this cooking. Rose-Anne's not really a meet the work mates kind of person, so I hope she enjoys it. Plus we get to do our laundry for free!



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