I’m back! I think that was the first thing that popped into my head when I arrived in SFO International Airport. I thought it would take me a while to figure how to get out and look for my chauffer, but before I knew it I was on the exit, and there he was. At that point I was so tired that nothing much interested me but to get to my hotel and get some rest. I was not even able to take a picture of my limo.
The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of SFO International Airport is the weather. It’s not as terribly cool as I expected but it was much wetter than I had hoped for. It was raining hard! It’s a good thing I had a limo service picking me up and bringing me to my hotel so I won’t get wet. I can’t imagine getting wet in such a cool weather. And because of the rains I hardly saw anything with San Francisco’s skyline. It was around a 40 minute drive from the airport to my hotel in Pleasant Hill. And 40 minutes along California’s freeway is a very long distance!
The moment I arrived at my hotel and completed the check in process, I rushed into my room to prepare to sleep. It was already past 11PM then so you can’t blame me, but it was fortunate that I remembered to take shots of my room in its “pristine” state. It would be the last time that room saw that state while I was in it!
Because my body clock is quite confused, I can hardly say I had a good night’s sleep. It was fortunate that the following day was just a Sunday so I have quite some time to prepare before work. It was also a great time for me to roam around the area and familiarize myself with me home for the next few weeks.
My hotel is conveniently located beside a shopping area called Downtown Pleasant Hill. This place is much like Bonifacio High Street in the sense that everything is just on the ground floor and there are a smorgasbord of shops in it. Also within the area is a cinema which kind of reminds me of the Talon from the TV series Smallville, a supermarket, and some department stores. But what got me excited the most was the presence of Five Guys which makes my favorite burgers!
One of the perks of being a runner is that you get to cover a lot of places on foot. I visited just about every store within Downtown Pleasant Hill and even the nearby shopping center across the road called The Courtyard. And if you don’t have a car in California, you should really be prepared to walk a lot as things are spread so widely around here because they still have the luxury of so much space! Even commercial centers seldom rise above the ground floor so everything is just spread wide.
After a whole day of just walking, I was just tired, and hungry. But regardless of how hungry I was, I was no match for the humongous serving sizes of the food they serve here! My appetite is always huge, but my tank is not that big!
Walking around in Pleasant Hill is quite nice because the weather is cool but is not freezing. You don’t need to wear very bulky jackets to stay warm and you won’t get sweaty if you just walked around. It was just a bit difficult for my first weekend here as the rain pours on occasion. California is under a severe drought so they could use as much rainfall as they could so I’m not complaining, but sometimes the rains do pour, as in crazy downpour, like we have in Manila.
Travel Tip: Bringing umbrellas on travel could be a bit inconvenient especially if you’re not expecting rains. A very light and waterproof jacket is a great alternative, and you can either buy a very cheap disposable one (ponchos in the Philippines could be bought in the mall as little as ₱20 or less than $0.50 each) or invest in a good one you can reuse. Personally, I use one from The North Face not only because of its very light weight and very little volume but also because it has pockets I can use to bring my passport, wallet, etc.
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Bay Area Chronicles
- The Trip to the Other Side of the World
- The First Weekend
- Getting Around
- San Francisco Quickie
- San Francisco Redux
- Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and My Last Week in California
- Way Back Home