Cupertino diary, day 2

Sunday, 17 June, 2018. 21:52

My sleep was a bit restless at first, but I eventually nodded off, only to be awoken too early by the sunlight peeping through the Venetian blinds of the hotel room. I got up about 07:20, dressed, and went down to the breakfast room. It was pretty busy, but I managed to find an empty table, sitting down with a bowl of very soggy oatmeal porridge, a plate of fresh fruit (watermelon, rockmelon, and strawberries), a small pot of plain yoghurt, and a sesame seed bagel and cream cheese. There were also eggs, bacon, French toast, fried potatoes made with various colours of potatoes including orange and purple, and some other things, but I avoided all those.

I grabbed an apple and a banana from the fruit bowl to have as snacks during the day, then walked across the road to the nearby 7-11 to get something to carry for lunch. I got a turkey and Monterey jack cheese sandwich plus a small packet of crackers with cheese and turkey slices, and also a 1.5 litre bottle of water. My plan was to catch an Uber out to the Fremont Older trailhead, which leads into walking trails through the Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

I booked the Uber using the hotel WiFi, but once I got in the car I lost reception so I wouldn’t be able to mark the trip complete and rate the driver until after I got back into a WiFi zone. The driver was friendly and we chatted about various stuff like my travel and what I was planning to do for the day. We drove out of the city and up a narrow road into the hills, passing a road sign indicating deer in the area, as well as increasingly expensive looking houses nestled in the woods, until we reached a small car park and an obvious hiking path leading up the hill away from the road. He dropped me here and I indicated I didn’t have reception so would rate him on Uber later.

Fremont Older trail head
The Fremont Older trailhead

I headed along various trails, up to the peaks of Hunter’s Point, then to Maisie’s Peak, the highest spot in the reserve, and which gave a great view over Silicon Valley towards the southern Bay.

Fremont Older panorama
View from Hunter’s Point, over Silicon Valley

Things were a bit closer together than I’d expected, so I decided to extend my walk by heading north along the Coyote Ridge Trail into Stevens Creek County Park. I used the toilets in the picnic area there, before returning south via the Stevens Creek Tony Look Trail and Lookout Trail. The former passed by the small Stevens Creek Reservoir, where the water level was really low. Some people were paddling paddle-boards on the water. Somewhere on the other side of the reservoir must have been a shooting range, as frequent loud sounds echoed across the valley that I imagine could have been gunshots.

Steven's Creek
Steven’s Creek

After a lot of walking, I emerged from the parks behind the Cooper-Garrod Estates Vineyard. This is combined with Garrod Farms stables and horse riding, which conducts riding trips into the parks. The vineyard had an open cellar door for tastings and outside under a large shade cloth were tables full of people having lunches with wine and listening to live music supplied by the P.S. Acoustic Duo, two older guys with acoustic guitars doing classic rock covers and a few original songs.

I sat for a while on a stool on the balcony outside the cellar door, looking over the lunch area. I tried a glass of the Cooper-Garrod Chardonnay, and then a bit later a Pinot noir. They were both okay, but a bit sharp, more in a French style than the Australian I’m used to.

Lunch at Cooper-Garrod Estates
Chardonnay and live music at Cooper-Garrod Estates

After relaxing a bit, I walked from the winery down some narrow roads back to the suburbia near Saratoga. There were some very wealthy looking houses out here, with huge properties and enormous mansions set well back from the road. Once back among more normal looking suburbs I found a shopping area with a Starbucks, where I sat and used the WiFi to call an Uber to take me back to my hotel. The driver was a woman named Nadeen, who chatted with me about my trip. She has a cousin in Sydney who is getting married soon, but she wasn’t sure if she would go down for the wedding as she said the fares were very expensive.

After a bit of a rest it was time to head out for dinner. I decided to try The Fish Market, the seafood place next to the pizza place I went to last night. This time I was prepared to wait for a table, and was quoted a 30 minute wait when I got there at 6:15. It took a bit less than that, and I was seated on a table for four out in the back annex. It was a large restaurant, a sign saying it seated 292 people. I ordered a crab cake appetiser and a small cioppino, a seafood stew with tomatoes that was developed in San Francisco. It came with garlic bread to soak up the sauce and was delicious. For dessert I had a slice of key lime pie. The meal was all very good, but incredibly filling. During the meal, at another table further back was a squealing child, who repeatedly broke out into the most incredible high pitched squeal. I saw several other customers complain to waiters about it.

Cioppino at The Fish Market

I walked back to the hotel, completing well over 25,000 steps for the day according to my phone’s step tracker, covering a distance of more than 20 kilometres walked today. Passing through the lobby, a voice called out my name, and I turned to see it was Urabe-san, from Shizuoka University, another of the ISO standards meeting attendees, who I’ve met at several other meetings. He is staying here for the same reason as me: because it’s cheaper than most of the hotels closer to Apple.

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