There are plenty of things to note about California (I’m sure), but since I spend most of my time either at work or by myself, these three things really jump out at me. Here are my current observations on 3 things that have a great impact on my life.
Definitely different here. Besides the traffic that we’ve all heard about there are some notable things about the roads:
The street with two names
It is very common here for a street to have two names depending on where you are on it. So, you may (will) come to an intersection where turning right is marked (unclearly – see below) with one street name and turning left is marked with another. Honestly, I think this is dumb, not-to-mention confusing.
Two car pool lanes and one bike lane
Traffic is a big deal here, so much so that some roads have TWO carpool lanes. I currently live right off of the Lawrence Expressway which has two such lanes. Get this, though, one is on the far left (as you might expect) and the other is on the far RIGHT. So, if you make a right onto the Lawrence Exp., you need to quickly move out of the right lane and into the middle during rush hour or receive a hefty ticket.
Many roads also have bicycle lanes. This is a good thing as many more people seem to use bicycles as a primary means of transportation than in the suburbs of NY. In fact, several people on my floor at work ride regularly and some of my coworkers do it several times a week – Yahoo even has onsite bike repair. As inspiring as it sounds, though, I’m not quite there yet….
It’s a Bad Sign
Road signage in CA stinks compared to NY. The signs are way too small and put in unusual places. I guess they’re really not terrible but they fall short compared to LI. On Long Island, I’m convinced you could probably find your way around by just using the signs. Here in California, I think the signs really serve more as hints rather than true markers of roads and turns. There are definitely points while driving that you are not exactly sure what road you are turning onto due to the unusual placement of the sign. And as I just said, they’re way too small.
Forks and U-turns
I’ve never seen so many roads that fork nor have I seen so many opportunities (or encouragements, depending on how you look at it) for U-turns. I feel good about this, however, because I now know that I’m not the only person who doesn’t know where he’s going.
I’ll sum my driving experience as:
“I spend alot of time making U-turns because I missed the fork in the road due to the fact that I couldn’t read the signs and therefore couldn’t move over to the appropriate lane in time due to carpool restrictions just find out that I’m on the wrong road because it is called something else in the other direction.”
Nothing to see here, keep moving. Really. TV seems especially lousy here. The local news is particularly bad. Good thing for Yahoo News. Seriously, I resorted to watching it like TV. I just fire up the video player and let it go. Less commericals, too. Right now I’m watching an Intro to Computer Science course put up by De Anza College which is the highlight of TV around here. I guess there really is no reason to watch TV, though, as the weather is pretty awesome for the most part.
Of course, I like to eat and the food here is pretty damn good. What really did surprise me was how hot the people here like the food – they mean business! I always considered myself a fan of hot food but I’ve been put to shame by the California folks. I went to Wing Stop the other day and ordered a 10 pack of the Atomic, their hottest flavor. Man, it was HOT!!!! I actually had to rinse my mouth out in the bathroom the sauce was so hot. It started off quite subtle but quickly became a raging flame. I’ll definitely have to try it again.
Until then, I’ll stick to URL’s. URL’s is the main cafeteria on campus which has deli, grill, Mexican, Indian, Chinese and salad bar, plus assorted packaged food and snacks. Each building has a cafe which will have one or two of these but you go to URL’s if you want the grand selection.
California is definitely lacking in donuts, however, and it is not worth eating a bagel here. The pizza is edible only because they seem to load it up with lots of toppings, otherwise, it is just bread, sauce and cheese. Any New Yorker knows that’s not pizza.