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Published: March 19th 2013
Circle Of Palms Plaza
As part of the Christmas In The Park celebrations, there was an ice rink in the middle of the Circle Of Palms while I was there.
My cab driver obviously didn’t.
He chucks me a satnav and asks me to input the address for him. When I arrive, he even asks me to fill out the receipt myself. So this is a self-service cab is it?
His cab (and him) reeked too. So like Will Smith said, “smell ya later!” No dice in the mirror though.
I had arrived in San Jose to undergo three days of training, a “perk” of my work.
Googling for things to see and do while here, there didn’t seem to be a lot – I hoped to be proved wrong.
The roads are really wide here which is consistent with the city profile; San Jose is the tenth biggest city in the US, but walking around downtown you wouldn’t know it. It’s pretty dead and there are a lot of empty lots around. Coupled with a large number of homeless people (much like San Francisco), I actually felt a little uncomfortable walking around.
San Jose is vast and sparse, spread out over a massive area, which is why it feels like a small town, even with just under a million people.
Perhaps the main reason for the large population
San Jose Tech Museum & Ferris Wheel
Being the capital of Silicon Valley I guess it makes sense to have a tech museum. The ferris wheel is there as part of the Christmas In The Park celebrations.
and sparse urban development is the fact that as the capital of “Silicon Valley”, arguably the tech capital of the world. All the way from San Francisco down to San Jose are satellite towns where all the big companies are based including Redwood City, where my company is headquartered. It is pretty much all urban sprawl the whole way and it’s difficult getting around without a car. I think I prefer denser cities with good public transport, like the major cities in Europe – it is just a more efficient use of space.
I understand people liking the space though and not feeling cooped up in small spaces but you have to travel so much further to get from place to place. I guess it is just the lifestyle I am used to now. Funnily enough, the California lifestyle is a lot closer to what I grew up with back in Auckland.
Has to be said though, I am not the keenest USA enthusiast which also influences my opinion.
Looking for things to see and do, the event of most interest was right opposite my hotel on Plaza Cesar Chavez, where the landmark “fountain square” has been taken over
St Joseph's Basilica
Perhaps the only real historical landmark in San Jose, the basilica was built in 1803 and is quite large.
by a Christmas park. “Christmas In The Park” it was called, although nothing like the one in Auckland.
Instead, there were loads and loads of lit-up Christmas trees and Christmas displays for the kids to enjoy. Christmas songs blared out of the speakers, there was a ferris wheel, and other assorted fairground rides, as well as an ice rink outside the San Jose Museum Of Art where the “Circle Of Palms” landmark is.
A "San Jose tradition", it really is something more for the kids.
Walking around in my suit, I felt like the most overdressed person in town; a city full of tech companies and programmers, everyone dresses pretty casually.
The city has a rather large Hispanic population as well – there is almost more Spanish spoken here than English.
All in all, I couldn’t wait to get out of here.
The training was dead-boring, there was nothing going on in the city, there was nothing to see.
Having walked all the way out there, the city’s Japantown was a huge disappointment and to top it all off, the high pitch, painfully, and scarily loud fire alarm kept going off at my hotel at all times of
Plaza De Cesar Chavez
Usually home to spouts of water that shoot out of the ground, Plaze De Cesar Chavez was hosting the annual Christmas In The Park while I was there.
the night, keeping your ears ringing after each time it went off.
Worst of all, my company didn’t pay me back an expense claim I was expecting that week which meant I was so poor I was almost stranded there.
So that was San Jose, so unremarkable it probably doesn’t even merit a blog entry, but something has compelled me to write about it – I’m not sure what. I guess bad trips sometimes need to be written about too.
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