Redwood Shores

And as we noticed, I didn’t write the following morning. I have been writing on this post for 3 days now. Quite a lot of the time went into fighting with the pictures. I tried many gallery plugins but didn’t find any I like, so finally I fixed it with some html and css instead.

Four weeks ago, about this time of the day, I got a text from my manager at work asking if I wanted to go to our office in Redwood Shores in California as soon as possible. After asking for how long and then asking Annie for approval I decided that I would go. I thought it would be a good opportunity to develop and also to show my manager that I am flexible so that she might use me for other interesting things in the future. The 30:th of August which was the following Monday I left for US together with one co-worker and my project manager. The project manager went home after one week though.

The travel started about 9 from my apartment to go down to the train station and catch a train to Copenhagen. From Copenhagen we went with SAS to Washington Dulles where we would change plane to a United bound for San Francisco. The trip was not great as I started to become ill, Annie had been nice enough to give me a proper cold. My project manager decided to have some bad pizza and threw up while we were waiting in line for security in Washington, then again at the domestic flight, twice. I didn’t sleep much on the plane so I was pretty tired when we arrived at our hotel around 22. This way I could shift my day right away to pacific time which I managed to do. So no jet lag on the way there!

Work there was to help out with the multimedia parts on the product they’re developing. The guys in Redwood are very talented and highly skilled with their specific area, but they lack people with multimedia competence. While there we worked quite a lot but we also had a few days off. The first Monday was labour day, which we worked on, and the second Sunday we also worked. There was a whole lot of things to do at least. I would have had no problems staying longer if Annie had been with me there. I missed her a lot throughout the trip.

Some things that are different between the Swedish office and the one in Redwood Shores. First of all, they work a lot over there, pretty much all of them. They are in general also more competent than the people in Lund and they get more done in less time. At the office in Lund, there is fruit for the employees. At the office in Redwood, there is crisps, pretzels, sodas, cookies and some candy. The people at the office is not overweight in general though, about same as in Sweden. Many of them are swedes though. There’s also 24 hour service at the reception, always security guards sitting there, good for when you need to order a cab and only have an international phone number. The picture facing the front of a building is of the Sony Ericsson office. The other picture is of Oracle’s buildings. They were located close to the hotel and they look awesome.

Enough about work, the first Saturday we went in to San Francisco together with one of the guys from the Lund team who had been there for three months. In the city we went up to the Golden Gate bridge. I had heard earlier in the week that it was always cold in San Francisco and one should always bring a sweater no matter how nice and sunny it was in Redwood. Of course I forgot all about this and went in a t-shirt. At the Golden Gate bridge I think it was about 20 degrees celsius in the air. But it was so very damp and very windy. In short, it was cold. At the time I already had a cold so it probably didn’t help much with curing that. We took some photos of the bridge from a viewpoint. Then we walked up to the gift shop where I got a postcard for my niece. I in general do not send postcards ever when I’m on trips, but as it was her birthday I thought she could get one. One thing that is cool with the Golden Gate bridge is that even though the amount of cars that want to cross it each day, they still have a lane each side for bikes and pedestrians. We walked about to the first column took some photos of Alcatraz Island and headed back to land.

A large part of the rest of the day we spent driving on the 49 mile drive. This is a 49 (about 79 km) long scenic route that goes through San Francisco. As we were going by car it was not optimal for taking pictures, but we got to see a lot of the San Francisco city. Due to some construction work and we in general being a bit tired of driving around we didn’t do the whole 49 miles. The part I found the most fascinating was the tour through the Golden Gate Park. The park is about one km wide and starts down by the Pacific Ocean more or less and stretches for a few kilometers into town. The fascinating part about this park is that you don’t go there to walk around in the park. You drive there, to drive around in the park. If you leave your vehicle it’s to get your BBQ and games out. Then you perhaps walk a few hundred meters to a good spot. This is very different from parks in Europe where you usually go to walk around. Very weird!

The following day we drove our project manager to the airport and then headed for Muir Woods. To get there we had to cross the Golden Gate bridge. This day it was clear weather though so we took the opportunity to take some new photographs. Best pictures of the bridge you get from the other side though, so on the way back we took a small detour. It was very windy this day as well and when we were at the viewpoint on the north side of the bridge we met some suicidal dutch people. If she would to fall backwards, she would most likely die. After I took this picture, her friend asked me to take pictures of the three of them standing on one pole each. Crazy people….

Muir Woods was a really amazing experience. I normally like to go out into nature, but this was something else. The trees were so magnificent and large. Been standing there for hundreds of years and to stand there hundred of more years hopefully. After crossing the bridge we parked the car and took a shuttle to Muir Woods. When we arrived we concluded that this was a good move. There was about 50-100 slots for parking at most and there was about 1000 cars which wanted to park there. The cars instead parked at the side of the road, for a few hundred meters back at least. National parks in the USA isn’t like in Sweden, they’re not open and free to explore as you like. You have to pay an entrance fee and you have to stay on trail.

In the park there was 4 loop trails crossing the broke on 4 different places. I wanted to go the long route but Jan Olof who was with me thought it would take too much time. After we reached the third bridge we concluded that the time estimates on the map was on the high side, for fat Americans I guess, so we did the longest loop. There were some trails leading away from the park further on up the valley as well, which would have been nice to do if I were to go there again sometime, but it’s more of a project.

One of the reasons it would be nice to go on one of those trails is that they would probably be less maintained and more natural. With the amount of people coming there each weekend the trails are more like roads. Some of it is covered with asphalt and a lot of it is board walk. The best part was after crossing the fourth bridge, then the trail went up on the slope and there they couldn’t do much with it, so it was a nice small natural trail. Still way too many people to make it feel natural though.

Two things that are quite cool with redwood trees. Redwood trees can absorb as much as 50% of their daily need of water from the air. This is one of the reasons they only grow at certain places. In the valley where they live in California it’s very damn, it rains a lot in the winter and in the summer huge amount of fog and mist rolls into the valley. On the roots of redwood trees there are lumps that are waiting for the tree to become stressed. When the tree becomes injured or stressed these lumps begin to grow. This can be seen afterwards when you have a stump of a redwood surrounded by a ring of healthy new redwood trees. This is known as a Redwood Family.

After we had our walk we had something to eat and I bought a Redwood in the gift shop. It’s now standing in the windowsill of my kitchen window waiting to getting planted in a proper pot. Got it in a plastic tube and packed it in my suit case for the flight cross the Atlantic, seems to have survived without trouble.

The following weekend we went across the worlds 25:th longest bridge, but it’s not spectacular in any way, just long. All other moments of free time went into resting and relaxing at the hotel. I had prepped the laptop with a bunch of movies and tv episodes to watch while being at the hotel. Also went for a swim in the hotel pool and a bit of hot tubbing.

Finale

I have now worked my last day in Redwood. Got home from work shortly after 1 am. Did some packing and had a shower. Now it’s 2:40 in the night and I’ll head for 4½ hours of sleep. Then I’ll get up, shower some more and finish packing my stuff. Short night so I hopefully can sleep a bit on the bus (plane) that will take me from San Francisco to Chicago.

In Chicago we probably need to go through security again as we’re switching terminals. At least we won’t need to re-checking our luggage as we had to do on the way here. We got about 2½ hours in Chicago so will hopefully have time to eat something. Not the whole world if we miss it though as we’ll get some food on the plane from Chicago to Copenhagen. I should land in Copenhagen sometime after 13:00 and will probably be home around 14:30 – 15:00. When home I’ll sure have another shower, and I can’t wait to cut my nails, didn’t bring any clippers as I thought I as staying a shorter duration. But trip got extended and I haven’t had any opportunity to buy any. They are really way too long now at least.

Can’t wait to get home to Annie either. I just want to hug her tight, tight, tight!

It seems like if work was to decide, I’d be back here next Monday. Have to talk a bit with Annie and my manager when I’m back in Sweden. I sure won’t go for next Monday at least, want to be home and have some everyday life with Annie for a while.

I intend to write a post tomorrow morning about my stay here, but knowing me, I will probably not do it. We’ll see…

Late

I have never before eaten dinner as late as I did today. Today I got up around 7:30 and had breakfast around 8. Went to work 9:30 or something and had lunch around 13:30. Then I had dinner at 0:30 at on of the few places that serve cooked food at shortly passed midnight. I wasn’t that hungry actually but still was nice with some food. Just got home and brushed my teeth now, time for sleep, 1:25 am.

The wet creatures

Aquarium
My aquarium shortly after new fish has been introduced after moving it to Lund.

Moving a 240 liter aquarium tank is an interesting project. I had a quite simple move though as I was moving it away from my parents where my father also has aquarium. As I was moving to a place where I can’t collect soft acidic rain water I decided to switch fish from the lakes of Malawi and Tanganyika. I decided to keep a few of my old fish that was likely to survive in the new harder and more alkaline water. It took a few months after I moved until the Aquarium was setup and an additional month before some new fish moved in. I will post a picture of it when I get home. Today Annie told me that my princess of burundi have a whole bunch of kids. She had been away from the apartment at her parents over the weekend so don’t quite know when we got them. We’ll see how many of them survive in the end.

When I was moving the aquarium I took the opportunity to add a proper background in the tank. It is something I can recommend to all fish keepers, it looks much, much better with a proper background instead of looking into the wall or into some picture glued to the back of the tank. As my tank is only 40 cm wide, I had to go with a quite think background though, it’s only about 3 cm thick at the thickest part. It will be nice with a larger tank some day where I can have one of these backgrounds with lots of depth. But what I have now is at least much nicer than nothing.

Moving

After I got employed at Sony Ericsson I started to look for a new place to live. It was a bit tricky to get the bank on board as I only had a project employment at the time and the financial crisis had hit Sweden. But switching banks and with the help of my father’s security I managed to get promised a loan so I could buy something for up to 1.5 million SEK. I went to look at quite a lot of places, probably twenty or so of them. Many of them were 2 minutes visits where you more or less instantly knew that you would not like to live there. There were quite a lot of interesting ones as well though and I was involved in bidding on two, or perhaps three, other apartments before I got the one that I currently live in. This was after looking for a few months and I had started to get tired of it, but I think it was good that I didn’t get the first ones I looked and bid at as I’m very happy with where I live now.

So the apartment I got is a single bedroom apartment on the third floor, 70 sqm large and built in 2003. I will post a bunch of pictures of it later when I’m back in Sweden. When looking for the apartment I also wanted to have the possibility for Annie to move in with me if our relationship continued developing in the right direction. She was with me on quite a lot of the viewings and I think that we today are both happy with the apartment.

From the apartment I got about 10-15 minutes on a bike to work depending on the weather. I also go by two different grocery stores on the way home from work so it’s all very nice. As Annie currently works in Malmö though, it’s not quite as practical for her, but I think she still likes where she lives. It’s located in a part of Lund that’s quite close to everything but in a very calm neighbourhood. I got a quite large balcony where Annie grows all kinds of weird things, I only got a chestnut growing out there, but it’s quite small so far.