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TRAVELS > Travelogues > April 2002::Palo Alto and Napa Valley, CA

OK, the date above may be wrong, but I seriously can't remember when I went was definitely sometime during April through June of 2001, though.

Day 1/2: Driving Upstate

     When Tone flippantly suggested that Wendiva and I haul ass to the bay area one weekend because he would be there too, we took his recommendation seriously and saw it as an opportunity to kill four birds with one stone: we would be able to see Em, Cur, Tone, and Reebok all in one trip! Lil decided to come along as a "surprise," which both Wendiva and I thought was a pretty bad idea (not her coming, but the fact that she wanted it to be a surprise) because we had heard that Cur's place, where we would be crashing, was very tiny and could fit only 2 other people and that she was only expecting two people at her place. Of course, we weren't going to leave her behind...well, not at that moment,'ll see what I mean later. Ann also decided to come up and visit a Cornell friend who was living in San Francisco. So this trip for two became a proper party with four people driving up.

     In order to avoid rush hour traffic and to make the most of our weekend, we decided to leave Los Angeles around 8 PM. When Wendiva came to my house to pick me up, I had my backpack and sleeping bag ready, knowing that at least two of us would be sleeping on the floor. However, when I brought the sleeping bag to the car, I was told that it wasn't needed because Lil had brought one. So I left my comfy, warm sleeping bag at home and climbed into her car. Twenty minutes after getting on the freeway, we hit a major snag: no music. Wendiva couldn't find her CDs, and the only other person to bring music was Lily. We listened to The Wedding Planner soundtrack, which sucked, and ended up listening to a "Booty Call" CD a friend burned for Lil which was OK, but not really "Booty Call" material. The lack of music was not a good omen. Anyway, Wendiva drove like mad and got to Palo Alto within 5 hours.

     When we got to Palo Alto, it was around 2 PM, and minor chaos ensued as we unloaded all of our stuff into Cur's shoebox of a place. Cur greeted Lil with a sarcastic "Lil, what a surprise!", so we knew that someone had let the cat out of the bag (and it wasn't me, Lil, or Ann). Since it was so late, Ann decided to stay with us at Cur's place, thus creating a minor organization problem: how to fit five people in a space that can barely accommodate three? However, being the geniuses that we were, we figured three people could fit on Cur's bed, and two people could sleep on the floor. As we were working out this problem, Cur started sneezing uncontrollably, and I started to do the same ten minutes later. We wondered, could we possibly be allergic to each other? It hardly seemed possible. We discovered that Wendiva's bedding, which she brought in lieu of a sleeping bag, was covered with her cat's hair, and we were exhibiting symptoms of Mimi allergies. Luckily, Cur had some Claritin on hand, and both she and I took some. Our sleeping problem was also resolved. Lil (with her sleeping bag) and Wendiva (with her cat hair) were banished to the floor, and Cur, Ann, and I would sleep on the bed.

     At this point, we could have gone to bed (it was 2 in the morning)...but of course, we did not. Instead, we watched an episode of The Bachelor, which Cur was recording for a friend. After getting our fill of reality comedy, we settled down to sleep but were continually interrupted by Lil whining about how she was cold. It turned out that Lil's sleeping bag had zero insulation and was pretty much useless. Lil wanted to share Wendiva's comforter but Wendiva threatened to kick and punch her if she dared to touch the comforter. To keep warm, Lil turned on Rhonda's portable heater, which was a tad loud. Wendiva complained that it was blowing into her face and that it was loud, but her previous threat to do bodily harm h Wendiva's moaning. Finally, those of us on the bed were able to fall asleep.

Wanna see photos corresponding to this trip? Click here!

Day 1: Sacramento and the Napa Valley

     The goal of the day was Napa Valley. We were going to visit some wineries and then get massages at a spa in Saratoga. Then we were thinking taking Cur to a birthday dinner in a nice restaurant in San Francisco before joining Tone for some clubbing. I repeat, the goal of the day was Napa Valley. While I stared out the window of Cur's car, the scenery changed from suburbia to green pastures with cows munching on grass. Immediately after Cur impressed us with her philosophical musings ("Wow, that grass is so green. If I were a cow, I'd eat that grass. I wouldn't be like the stupid cows off the 101 standing in their own sh*@!t."), our self-appointed navigators exclaimed, "Hey, we missed the junction! We're going east!" Indeed, we had missed the junction HALF AN HOUR AGO and were halfway to Sacramento and could have visited Reebok, had we so desired. But, since the goal of the day was NAPA VALLEY, we had to u-turn. Per Lil's brother's suggestion, we went to the Opus 21 winery. It was crowded and we had to park in the back of their building and walk all the way to the front. Lil, on the other hand, decided that she would take a shortcut and walk up a wall leading to the upper story of the building instead of taking the normal route, which was a very Lil thing to do. Tone most certainly would have disapproved. The rest of us went in the normal way and went to the tasting room, where you had to shell out 45 big ones to taste their wine. Being Asian, we obviously weren't going to pay for wine when we could get it elsewhere for free. We went upstairs to the terrace where Lil had entered and took a look at the view. After a quick glance at the scenic beauty and some picture taking, we decided to leave this worthless place with no free alcohol. Cur very kindly agreed to walk to the car by herself and pick the rest of us at the front of the building. When she pulled up, Wendiva climbed into the front seat, Ann went into the back seat, and I followed Ann. I shut the door, noticing that Lil had a weird wide-eyed look. Upon hearing the car door clam, Cur drove off. After 5 seconds, Ann said, "Hey! Lil's not in the car!" Lo and behold, Lil was trotting after the SUV. When she finally caught up to the SUV, Cur perversely drove off again, like a kid tempting a dog with a bone, letting the dog get close, but pulling it away at the last moment. Suffice it to say, Lil was a tad miffed when she finally got into the car. She thought that the entire episode was planned and that I had purposely slammed the door in her face, which was not the truth. What actually happened was that Ann had been sitting in between Lil and me in the backseat the entire day. When I followed Ann into the car, I assumed that Ann was going to sit in the middle again. I was looking in the direction of the open door so I didn't see Ann climbing all the way to the end of the seat. Cur was looking at Ann, so she assumed that all of us were getting into the car from the right side and that once the door slammed, it meant that everyone had gotten into the car. I closed the right door, not realizing that Lil had a weird look on her face because she thought she was getting in from the right side and that I was slamming the door on her face. Lil then walked to the left side of the car so that she could get in, but since Cur had heard the car door close, she assumed everyone was in and drove off. So, as you can see, Lil was not justified in being miffed at me for shutting the door in her face, although she had every right to be a little miffed about the whole driving off thing.

     We found our free alcohol at Beaulieu Vineyard, better known as BV. Cur enjoyed saying "Beaulieu" over and over again. Although Wendiva and I, who took high school French, attempted to correct her abominable pronunciation, Cur was her usual stubborn self and persisted in saying it incorrectly. Unfortunately, none of the grapes were growing on the vine, so we didn't see much on the tour. The tour was very educational, for those of us who were paying attention. It was a big group and there were some very obnoxious people who were trying to appear funny and smart, but they failed miserably and instead invited ridicule upon themselves. It became very apparent that some of our group did not understand exactly what the tour guide was saying because they came up with some very interesting notions of how certain flavors are brought out in the wine. Cur and Wendiva developed the following understanding of the process: Some wines have an apple taste. In order to bring out the apple taste, grapes are grown underneath the shade of apple trees. When the sun shines through the leaves on the tree onto the grapes, somehow the apple flavor is transferred from the tree to the grape, thus resulting in a wine with an apple taste. If you thinking that that is the weirdest and most illogical idea ever, then you can imagine how surprised and confused Cur and Wendiva were when they discovered this flavor-infusing technique. Actually, that's not how it works, but I know that you don't really care about how flavors are brought out in wine, so I'm not going to bore you with more details. We left BV and went to Saratoga, where we got massages at the Golden Haven Spa. Cur was beat after driving us all day and staying up so late the night before, so she opted to nap in her car. The rest of us got half-body massages. Ann wanted a masseuse. Lil asked if I wanted a masseur or a masseuse, and I knew that she had a preference so I told her I didn't care. Lil got a masseuse, and Wendiva and I got masseurs. Unfortunately for Lil, the spa ran out of rooms and only had a "couples' room" available. She had to share the room with Wendy, who had a masseur, and that defeated the whole purpose of getting a masseuse. Ann and I had a little chuckle over that. Anyway, after getting massages (I was the only one who was satisfied with my massage), we headed back to San Francisco/Palo Alto. On the way back, we were listening to Lil's CD, which I could not stand, and since I was sitting in the front and could reach the CD controls, I decided to skip a song she really liked, which made her angry, so she demanded that I return her CD to her, which I did. Good times, good times.

     Since it was Cur's birthday, it was her choice. When we asked her where she would like to eat, she provided several suggestions, all of which were shot down by people ("I don't feel like Chinese." "I'm not into that kind of food." "I don't want to go there."). On and on the objections went. Every once in a while someone would say, "Hey, it's Cur's choice so let her decide. Stop rejecting everything!" This outburst would be followed by a period of pondering and indecision which would then be followed by objections to suggestions. And so the cycle continued. We finally decided that we were all too tired to go all the way to San Francisco and meet up with Tony for clubbing so we headed back to Palo Alto and ate a Thai restaurant, where Ann did most of the ordering for us. It wasn't bad, I must say. Then we headed back home and watched more episodes of The Bachelor. I fell asleep soon afterwards and awoke to people talking about relationships and what not and to Lil complaining about how she was cold. We berated her for bringing such a lame sleeping bag and showed no pity. When they finally shut up, I went back to sleep.

C'mon! I know you wanna see the photos! Click here!

Day 2: Food, food, food

     Not surprisingly, we did not awake very early. However, Wendiva and I awoke earlier than the rest, so we headed out to Palo Alto to get some breakfast. Palo Alto is very similar to San Marino, so I think that people from Stanford should stop their whining because they don't know what it's like to really be in the middle of nowhere. When everyone was up, we headed off to eat Sunday brunch with Em. We ate at a place called Hobee's, which had giant blueberry loaves. They were gynormous. The food was very good, and we stuffed ourselves. Afterwards, we headed off to Stanford mall to meet up with Ann's college friend Masako (finally!). When we had finished our shopping, we headed to San Mateo, to visit Reebok, who was working at her aunt's combination tapioca tea/jewelry store. Weird, I know, but somehow, it works. Anyway, we saw Reebok, who looked very good and let Lily watch her perform the magic of tapioca-tea-making. Tone showed up an hour later and we all caught up with one another and made Tone recount his Bloomingdale's incident. Tone told us about how Michele, who was letting him crash, was forced to make all the food for social event, so Tone slaved over tarts, cakes, and other goodies in the kitchen all night. It was very amusing to hear Tone tell his story ("Michele has only ONE oven!"). We tried a slew of tapioca drinks. When 4pm rolled around, we said good-bye to each other. Masako and Tone went back to San Francisco, and the rest of us headed to Cur's place to collect our luggage. We then headed back to good old Los Angeles. Wendiva decided that the only way to solve our music problem was to force all of us to listen to her music, which she purchased earlier that day at the mall. We had a relatively uneventful trip back, which consisted of us stopping by a Burger King for dinner in an area with lots of cows or manure or something that smelled like poo and Ann discussing how she wants to give Lil a makeover. Finis.

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