Monday, July 04, 2005

Living in the Bay

There's one thing I simply cannot get over - the weather in the Bay Area. The air here is always dry and crisp. Bread doesn't go mouldy. Cereal doesn't turn soggy. Stuff dries up so fast.

It's a godsend for someone with ezcema. I've not had an attack since I got here (touch wood).

I also can't get over how going 40 miles south can turn a day from cool and bracing to warm and sunny. There's a big difference between the weather in San Jose and Berkeley. San Jose feels like a dessert - a pleasant desert, but a desert nonetheless. Berkeley feels cool and bracing all the time.

Another thing I can't get over is how...bright the sun here is. It's a whole different quality from the sun we get back home. Sunlight here is white. Sunlight back home has a yellowish quality to it.

Thanks to my 40 mile commute everyday, I now have one arm darker than the other. That's because I drive down south in the mornings and back north in the evenings - meaning the sun's always left relative to the direction I'm driving.

The food here feels no different from the food I get back home. That's probably because I cook a lot. Rice here is cheap enough that I can have it as a staple - and there's no difference in price between Thai Jasmine Rice and them Japanese sticky short stumpies (Rice grains! RICE GRAINS!). Soy sauce and oyster sauce are readily available.

Most of all, I'm much happier about the level of independence I have here. I do stuff for myself, and while I'm very money-conscious here since everything here is so expensive, there's a lot I can do to entertain myself for free. I now relish walking down to do groceries - about 10 blocks down, and 8 of it is beautiful suburbia, complete with lawns, gardens, flowers, fruit trees and squirrels.

In short, I feel the changes coming. It's barely been a month and I don't feel like the person that left Singapore - or more accurately, like the person in Singapore should have been.

I'm not sure if I can fit in once I return to Singapore. I'm not sure fitting in is a good thing.


SK said...

Hey, watch them squirrels during your walks to get groceries, man! Thems dangerous little, furry ... um, sneaky ... ah, tree-climbing ... er, nut-cracking ... things. Yeah, um, yeah, NUT-crackers!! Vicious little NUT-CRACKERS!!! They'd mug girl guides for their brownies given half the chance! They're probably reading this blog right now! Planning to ambush you on your way back home, arms filled with TASTY NUTS!!! Hey, you bushy-tailed freaks - piss off! Leave my friend alone or I'll make furry dice out of you!!!

Anthony said...


Have you taken your medication?

dagger said...

Hey, found any rice-a-roni in the bay area?

Anthony said...


No way - cos packaged food, while convenient, is comparatively expensive and bad for health.

I've been cooking almost every meal I can from scratch - think I can feel the results of a high-veg low meat diet too. More energy, easier to concentrate.

More importantly, it helps me maintain discipline, knowing I've no "fall-back".

Huichieh said...

Rice-a-roni is only so-so, now "Uncle Ben's", now that's something. I know, I know, rice-a-roni is a Bay Area institution... And so is sour bread, by the way.

I know you are not into prepared food (I like cooking too), but you should try the olive bread at Phoenix Pastificio at least once (1786 Shattuck) and the pizzas at the Cheese Board Collective (1504 Shattuck)--which is still run as a commune, as befitting its '60s root.

And for heaven's sake, bring your wife to the Tapas place further down the same row when she joins you (if she like this stuff at all; and if neither of you have tried tapas before, it's basically Spanish dim sum). It's not all that cheap, but it's something.

By the way, I love the Bay Area for most of the reasons you cited too. (But you could have guessed by now.)

Huichieh said...

Just rechecked: the Tapas place is called Cesar (1515 Shattuck).

apocalyptic wen said...

and while we're on the topic of discount food, remember that Tuesdays is also known as "cheap-ass Tuesdays" at subway. Get a foot long sub for the price of a six inch sub. That's one sub for two meals!

Anthony said...


Walked by Cesars a number of times. Will take your recommendations in mind when my wife eventually gets here.


No. Subways. Those things are damn expensive even with the discounts. And not as tasty as my cooking currently is.