Monday, August 17, 2009

California Day 5: San Jose

We were back on the BART on the morning of day 5 to get to San Francisco Airport in order to pick up the car we had rented.  Once at the station we managed to quickly get on the Sky Train, which connects the various terminals at the airport with the car hire place.  When we finally got past the queue and the bureaucracy we found a red Ford Escape waiting for us in the carpark.  Working out how to drive the thing was interesting; obviously US cars are all automatic and do not really have a handbrake, and we found the brakes on this car were quite shall we say responsive.  We headed over to San Jose which is on the way to Pleasanton, where we were staying.  

San Jose lives in the shadow of the much more famous San Francisco, but is actually a city with a bigger population (just smaller than the size of Birmingham).  The problem is there is not much to attract tourists.  There are a lot of Art galleries and museums, and we amused ourselves in the shop for the Tech Museum of Innovation for a bit before walking around downtown San Jose.  It was absolutely dead but very clean, and the parking only cost us $7 for the whole day.  We ate some sandwiches/ paninis in a European-style cafe in the city centre and walked back through the Plaza de Cesar Chavez past some undesirables who had not been there when the mounted police had rode through earlier. I was amused to see a bus to Alum Rock.

After driving home we relaxed back at the pool in the hotel while waiting for our friend to get back from work.  After a quick drink at the hotel, we set off out again this time to an American Mall which I will describe as a slightly posher version of the Bull Ring.  We decided to go back to the Alehouse after and because I had managed to catch a cold at the beach on Saturday I volunteered to be the designated driver.  This meant I got behind the wheel of the behemoth that was the Ford Escape for the first time.  I found it quite easy to drive, not having to worry about the gears and with wide roads and no overtaking lanes, it proved relatively easy.  I managed to get to the Alehouse and back without killing anyone, so overall it was a successful day.

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