The wedding was beautiful and untraditional. San Francisco was as gorgeous and foggy as always, though I got lucky and it did warm up the afternoon I was there.
It was a great time, though, I admit not particularly relaxing as we seemed to constantly be running from one event to the next. As such, I didn't have a ton of time to just sit back and reflect, but I couldn't help but notice how sustainable the Bay Area seems to be.
See, I grew up in a small town 40 miles south of San Francisco. Now let me tell you, suburbs 40 miles outside of Los Angeles aren't particularly erm ... crunchy or diverse. There are very few non-chain restaurants, and the suburbs are one housing development after another after another after a strip mall. There doesn't tend to be much in the way of public transport, and while there is often one farmers' market nearby, there's usually only the one within 10 miles. So, essentially, they are similar to the suburbs that have been much maligned (unfairly or no) by various environmentalists.
My little home town is entirely different. Because while it's 40 miles south of San Francisco, it's only 10 minutes from San Jose. So there are still plenty of small, independent restaurants, and stores. The city is fairly diverse, there are multiple farmers' markets that operate in a 10 mile radius, and the Cal Train that travels to San Francisco isn't particularly far away. The public transit situation could be better, but altogether, it's fairly sustainable for a suburb.
So while it is technically "the suburbs" its very different in character from what we normally view as the suburbs. And because the Bay Area consists of THREE satellite cities (instead of one) every suburb in the ring between San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose still tends to be fairly diverse, with lots of small shops, restaurants, and somewhat reasonable access to public transit. And the public schools are almost all excellent. In fact, if they ever get BART to San Jose, and find a good way to connect San Jose and Oakland, the Bay Area might be the most perfect place in the world. Did I mention that my mom is there? And that she cooks for me so I don't have to eat the pitiful meals that I otherwise make?
I wasn't in town for very long, but I did manage to see Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute, and I got to meet the Breakthrough Generation fellows, who are an awesome group of intelligent, committed college students. And on Tuesday, I had breakfast with the lovely Cindy W, and the great Green Bean. Although none of us had ever met in person, it was funny because all three of us felt we knew each other so well! The conversation was easy, and frankly, I could have gabbed the day away, but alas, we all had various family obligations to attend to. The only bum note was when our waiter informed us that the restaurant had neither syrup nor oatmeal which meant that we were unable to order about half of the menu. But menu selection aside, it was a pretty great breakfast.
And that's the story of my mini-vacation. How have you all been doing?