Saturday, January 3, 2009

where we are & what's around us

Day two was an adventure day. We started out by finding the local Costco (2.5 miles away), signing up, and perusing the store. We were quite shocked with how fair the prices were. Many people had warned us about the cost of groceries in California, and we were afraid that we'd be paying double what we are accustomed to. This was not the case. Almost everything we purchased was cheaper than we could have gotten in Florida. Maybe Costco just beats out Sam's Club, who knows...

We went to Safeway on the way home, and were semi-impressed. They seemed decent enough for those who do not want to buy in bulk, but we found pasta and macaroni and cheese to be cheaper at Walmart. My main gripe is that they only issue one card per person, so if we both wanted a savings card, we have to apply separately. What's worse: there's not keychain-card option, only the full-size card is available. Eggs were overpriced at $3/dozen (we'll be getting them from Costco from now on for $2.47/18 eggs), and butter was 2 sticks for almost $4!! I'd never even seen a place that didn't sell butter in a 4-stick package! Later in the afternoon we took a trip to the local Walmart, and were taken aback by how many people were there! It is located in a major shopping plaza, with a Trader Joe's, Sears, Jo-Ann's Fabrics, and several other stores. But walking around inside was like shopping on Christmas Eve! Lines for the check-outs extended at least five carts long in every aisle! We picked up some basic cleaning supplies and were out of there! We plan on trying Target next time, hopefully that will work out much better!!

It will of interest to our techy friends that we've already found the HQ buildings for AOL, Yahoo, VeriSign, HP, Symantec, and Motorola. I have no doubt there are more (and I especially plan to seek out the Googleplex!), but these are a few we've driven by and just casually seen.

We did a drive-close of Lockheed. I say "drive-close" instead of "drive-by" because you can't get near the place. Well, I can't, anyway. Just like at the Cape, you have to have a security clearance badge and such. Jonathan will get right through on Monday morning. Lockheed is 4.4 miles away (in Florida it was 44.7 miles), so the commute is very short, and there are bike paths the entire way as well. There's also a stop on the light rail in front of it, but since it's a 15-minute walk for us to get to a stop, the time and price are not worth the transit commute. Speaking of the stop near us, because downtown is so close, we'll be using the Downtown Mountain View stops on both the VTA Light Rail (which Jonathan could take to work) and the Caltrain (which will take us into San Francisco). To give you an idea of where these places are in relation to other cities you may know in the area, I included a couple of maps. While I'm on locations, feel free to go to kayak.com and check out the flight rates from your area to San Jose (SJC). We're a whopping eleven miles from the airport, so that would be the place to come into (although I imagine San Francisco and Oakland are not that big of a deal). We know there's a bus system around too, but we haven't even gotten to looking at that yet!

I guess that covers the basics. We've also seen a fire station and know where the local hospital is, and are currently intrigued with the Santa Cruz mountains... how far away are they, how high are they, what could we do there, etc. The interest factor? The mountains pretty much surround us (we are in the Silicon Valley after all), and prevent the sun from reaching us until almost 9am, and begin blocking the sun about 4:30pm. So very strange for it to be getting dark before dinner!

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