Monterrey Bay, Silicon Valley, and Yosemite

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July 18th 2014
Published: July 18th 2014
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My flight to LAX from Lima was really long, about 8.5 hours, and I didn't sleep at all. I sat next to a cool guy who went to the USA v Belgium game and was only out of the US for 8 days. He took a zany-bar and passed out before we even took off. I watched Jurassic Park, Need for Speed, Zoolander, and Bad Words on the flight. While I was in LAX I bought Ender's Game and the sequel, since I lost my other copy in Manaus. On the flight to San Fran I chatted with my neighbors and finished Ender's Game. My neighbors were a mother and daughter in 7th grade flying home to San Fran from Melbourne, Australia. I talked to them about my trip and that I saved up for it since 8th grade. The mom liked that and went on to say something along the lines of "see there honey, saving money will get you places." I talked about other adventures I've had and what I want to do. The mom asked me if I had a bucket list. I told her and the daughter that you always want to have a bucket list that grows a little faster than you check stuff of of it. The 7th grade girl was eating up everything I said. You could tell she wanted to do all the things I had told them and thought I was the most adventurous person she'd met. I finished Ender's Game after my neighbors fell asleep. The book was amazing and the ending was very well put together. It tied the while story into a package that you were ready to give to someone else. Once in San Fran I sluggishly got through customs and waited for Megan to pick me up. The fact that O was waiting at departures and not arrivals combined with her confusion about the airport led to me not getting picked up until 35 minutes later. We were gonna go to an In-N-Out before going to the post office, but decided to go get Alan from Google and eat lunch there, FOR FREE!! Me and Megan chilled while we watched him play volleyball. We updated each other on our lives and what we're planning to do while laughing at the comical misfortune of people we both know. We went to their apartment and I met their new dog, Preston, and played with the older one, Parker. I replaced my bags with the stuff my parents sent them and put all of my souvenirs and clothes I didn't new in a box to mail home. Bobby called and since he was in the neighborhood swung by and picked me up. I was supposed to go with him on Wednesday and Thursday, but since he was already in the area he went ahead and got me. We drove to his gym in Watsonville where he's a fitness instructor. I had to let him borrow some shorts and my shoes since he was running late and didn't have his stuff. The class he was teaching was a spinning class. Since I could either sit and twiddle my thumbs for an hour or take the class I decided to do some spinning. It was actually really difficult since I hadn't slept in over 45 hours and I had drank almost no liquids or water. I almost passed out at one point, but pushed through. After the class we went to the grocery store to get food for a get-together Bobby was taking me to. We bought beer, garlic bread, Gatorade, kit-kats, and Cheetos. I met Bobby's friends, Kat and Diane, as well as Diane's boyfriend, Alex. We made spaghetti with meatballs and peppers and watched TV. Kat and Diane were colleagues of Bobby's. Diane had graduate and is moving to Virginia to work as an oceanographer. Kat was still studying at the lab that Bobby was at, Moss Landing Marine Labs. I was so tired I passed out on the couch for a little bit. When we got back to Bobby's I instantly passed out on his couch.

Woke up and showered at Bobby's house. We went to the Moss Landing Marine Labs where Bobby does his studies. After a bit we went and got lunch at a Thai restaurant. I got very spicy noodles. It was nice to once again have spicy food since there wasn't that much in South America. Back at the lab I watched the Netherlands v Argentina game with some of the students at the lab. I was cheering for the Netherlands, as was most of the people in the room. We went back to Bobby's place and changed for workout. We drove to Santa Cruz for Bobby's beach volleyball class. On the way we listened to an interesting podcast called RadioLab. Some of the episodes talked about benefits, repercussions, and methods of removing mosquito populations from cities, the Gomer statement used by the CIA, and other interesting topics. At the beach I ran and talked to friends and grandparents while Bobby had his class for two hours. While talking to Heather we decided to do a triathlon together. Afterwards we went to eat with Bobby's boyfriend. His boyfriend, Bryce, was really cool. He works as a water conservationist and is nationally ranked in volleyball. We ate at Betty's Burgers. I had a 1/2 lb bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and an alcoholic milkshake. This meal was absolutely heavenly, being that it was the first burger I've had since I got back. The people in South America are now and all, but they can't makes burgers for shit. I told them about my travels and we had some fun conversation. When I got back to Bobby's I did laundry and hung out with his roommates, Melinda and Melissa.

I went to the gym with Bobby in the morning and did his spinning class. We went to a small breakfast place before going to the lab. We got some delicious sandwiches and I ordered grits, but I forgot that no one on the west coast knows what grits is. I took a shower at the lab and chilled there all day. I ate some of Kat's soup she brought to get rid of and met a 6 year old kid who was the son of one of the students. Before I left the lounge I taught him how to play FFXII on the PS1. I met one of Bobby's peers, Lindsay, who is 27 and was a Tri Delt. We chilled and joked around for a while about school, research, and life. After she went to work I went to the library and read a few theses for a while. The most interesting one, that I read all the way through, was about trace elements, specifically Ag, Cu, Cd, Cr, Pb, Zn, and Mn, in mussels that have been transplanted to the San Francisco Bay from a clean body of water. The rest of the time I played Bobby's Pokemon X, which was fun. Yup, 22 year old world traveling nerd still loves Pokemon. After the lab we went back to the gym for step and sculpt class and grabbed Del Taco for dinner. Its one of those regional chains like Cookout or Bojangles. It was more delicious than taco bell, but the sickening feeling after eating it was the same. We talked about our lives and where we were going. Back at the apartment we watched the new second Star Trek with the roommates.

Bobby woke me up to go to a fitness class with him, but since it was Friday and I never workout on Fridays I passed and went back to sleep. I packed up my clothes, which were now fresh and clean. We drove to San Jose and had lunch with Alan and Megan at Red Robbin. After lunch I said goodbye to Bobby and went back to Alan's apartment. We hung out, played with the dogs, and watched funny videos for a while. That evening we went to an MLS game. The San Jose Earthquakes v DC United. The game was entertaining, even after seeing World Cup games. I was the only one in our section cheering for DC United. The great thing about watching MLS is that there's nowhere near as much diving and embellishing as European, South American, or international soccer. This game in particular had a lot of aggression and the ref didn't really call that many fouls. We ate fried chicken and rice for dinner at the stadium. The fried chicken was really good, but weird. As if it had a little too much breading on it. It was a good reintroduction to southern food. I bantered back and forth with the mom sitting in front of me. After the game we went back to the apartment to plan our trip to Yosemite and watched Netflix until everyone fell asleep. I think Alan and Megan enjoyed the game a lot and might have become fans.

I woke up very early and ran 3 miles at half marathon pace. When I got back I made eggs for everyone while Alan made bacon. We got ready, packed the cooler, and drove the 4 hours to Yosemite. We got there at about 10:30 and went to Bridalveil Falls first. We climbed the rocks around the falls for two hours so we could get some amazing views of the valley and the waterfall. Some of the best vantage points required some risky maneuvers to get to. It was like being in the middle of a greener version of the Grand Canyon. It was huge with steep rocky sides and trees growing straight up out of the rock. We relaxed by the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and I dipped my feet in. On the way down to is I busted my ass on the wet rock and nearly hit my head. The water was ice cold. We got a lot of great pictures and saw various breathtaking views. We went to the tunnel nearest the valley center and saw a spectacular panoramic view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. We traveled to Glacier Point and ate lunch on some rocks on the way. At Glacier Point we got some great views of the valley and a full look at Half Dome with all the distant peaks behind it. Some guys at the edge decided to go around the barrier and dangle their legs over the edge. Part of me wanted to do it as well, and then I remembered my fear of heights. We drove back to the apartment and got In-N-Out on the way. Alan's friend John, who was in ΘΤ at NC State and in IFC with Alan and now works for Cisco, came over to eat burgers and play Settlers of Catan. Megan made some cookies and did school work.


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