I am already in Florida and have been for days. It is much harder to blog while travelling than I expected. I get to the end of my days and am exhausted. When the next day comes, I want to get up an go enjoy new experiences.
For the most part, California was low-key. I only saw a few friends, which is really how I wanted it. I had been there twice in the past year and felt like focusing, rather than seeing and doing as many things as possible. Also, it is my hope that at the tail end of this adventure, I will go back to the Bay Area and catch up with everyone (or get a job there...depending on the circumstances).
I slept in nearly every day, went to dinner with a few people and mostly hung out with my friend Kate. I got a SIM card with AT&T for use within the US. This is not something I'd done before. Every other trip to the US, I've either been fine without a phone or only had wi-fi, but I have to say this was so much better. I was able to text on the go, or check where I was on a map. I felt more mobile and more connected. I felt safe. In hindsight, I think I would rather have gone with Verizon as AT&T doesn't have great service where I am in Florida, but it's been fine.
One day, I had a public transportation adventure trying to get from Castro Valley to Palo Alto. I took a local bus to the Bayfair BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit) then Caltrain from Milbrae to Palo Also. The whole trip took me about two and a half hours. When I got to Palo Alto, I had lunch at a cafe which shared it's space with a co-op art gallery. I had a nice chat with a woman who had been making art there for 25 years.
Another highlight of my Bay Area trip included helping Kate buy a BRAND NEW CAR! On my second to last day in town, we went to a few dealerships in the morning and then back to the Ford dealership to haggle and negotiate for a fully loaded Ford Escape - Titanium edition. I had a blast! Seriously, the process of buying a car and getting a good deal is exhilarating. And BOY did we get a good deal. The finance guy showed us that the dealership lost $2,100 on the car. It's the first time I'd ever seen someone not lose money the minute they drove off the lot.
The weather in California was sunny every day, which isn't saying much because they are in a massive draught, but still...I enjoyed it. The temperature was very reasonable except for the day we went car shopping. It was windy and cold (probably 50). Keep in mind, I'd come from Summer in Australia. 50 F was not pleasant.
When I left Australia, I took all my belongings with me to California. This consisted of two VERY FULL suitcases (30kg & 23kg) and one very full backpack. I reorganised my belongings and left one of those full suitcases at Kate's house. It was full of clothes, books and my laptop...things I am not going to need while travelling.
On Feb 28th Kate took me to the San Francisco airport in her fancy new car. I had one full sized suitcase (45lbs) and one backpack to take with me to Seattle...