Bug Abroad: A Slower Side of San Jose (Day 7)

Day 7.1: Gang Wars. As it happens, there is a raging avian gang war in downtown San Jose that is centered around the territory of the Selina San Jose courtyard. Creatures for miles in every direction can hear shouts and arguments between the Sharks and Jets (or whatever the bird gangs are called) claiming victory over one another and the land beneath them. It’s just like Sondheim, but less aurally pleasing and with little-to-no snapping. And it all takes place at daybreak, about 5:30am. Screw you and your wars, birds. SERENITY NOW!
At least the sunrise is worth being awake for.

Day 7.2: Raj and The Invisible Market. Since we had been forced awake by the bird wars, we decided to pack a couple bags and see about holing up in a coffee shop somewhere. Google Maps had plenty of suggestions for locations, but most didn’t open until well after noon, which is more of a third-cup-of-coffee time. What about the first two cups? Time to ask someone in-the-know. There had to be someone awake downstairs; the techno music that seemed to serve as the Selina’s heartbeat began playing from the kitchen the moment the smoke had cleared from the latest Shark/Jet stand-off.
Raj was already shining a bright smile when we headed downstairs, and he offered directions to a local Saturday market. All organic, very local, great chocolate and coffee and baked goods… Raj had our number. He marked an easy route, leading us just a couple kilometers away, slightly off the beaten path. Go time.
Long story short, we never found the market. Despite Raj’s suggestion that there would be plenty of people streaming toward the location as we neared, it seems that Holy Week is one of the times that the market doesn’t happen. But who cares? We came around a corner to where we thought the market would be and stumbled upon a beautiful overview leading into a park. And that took us to another cut of jungle before the city began again. The walk got us even more ready for breakfast and coffee than we had been. No complaints here.
Raj found us upon our return: “I meant to ask, how was the market?” We shared our story, causing Raj to place one hand on his hip, another on his worried brow. “Oh, I’m so sorry… well, there’s another yoga class starting soon, if you want!”
I think we’re good, Raj. Thank you.

Day 7.3: Working Breakfast. I didn’t know it when I woke up, but this was to be the morning of the best breakfast of my life to date.
Since returning from our early morning excursion, Cam and I were starved for food and caffeine. Just $5 later, we were well on our way to rectifying both of those problems. The hostel offered a solid breakfast buffet with some standards — fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, pinto gallo, granola, tea, and coffee. A fresh bowl of pineapple, a fruit which only days ago I had sworn to eat minimally unless I give myself a mouth-ache? Don’t mind if I do. (I’m telling you, fresh pineapple in the tropics could serve as proof that there is a god who wants us to be happy.)
My delight surged when I decided to try the yogurt sweetened with coconut cream. Wait. If I put the pineapple into that… and if I mop it all up with this banana bread made with the freshest, most ripe bananas you could ask for…. THIS IS AMBROSIA.
I would be satisfied never eating another food for breakfast ever again.
We were, of course, welcomed to as much as we would like, so the morning’s indulgence continued until my stomach could hold no more. The coffee was available until 10:30am, encouraging us to camp out in the hostel for a few hours’ work to make the most of the caffeine and wifi.

Day 7.4: Forecast-Schmorecast. We missed a free walking tour at 10am, being engrossed in work projects (not that we minded. We were both perfectly content to feel productive and connected to home for a little bit). Besides, the forecast said rain, and all signs pointed that way. Our camp-out continued with late morning smoothies. The wind kicked up, clouds racing past. It seemed a good day to work and cafe-hop.
The last of our computer-focused energy expended, we decided on a midday walk to one of the cafes that we had passed in the early morning. A few had shown signs of life and were likely to be open for at least part of the day. I had also wanted a cortado something fierce, the search for which Cam was kind enough to indulge me in. We found a small cafe that specialized in a coffee drinks and pies, both sweet and savory. Just what the doctor ordered. The cafe owners were exceedingly kind and patient, and one even ran a few blocks after us to return Cam’s hat, which we had accidentally left behind. So very kind. And, though they didn’t have cortados, the coffee was phenomenal.
The rain never hit that day. Shows what Google knows.

Day 7.5: Hammocks and U2. With waning belief that we would find much else happening outside of the hostel, we decided that our best course of action was to take up residence in a couple of hammocks. I made more leisure reading progress this trip than I have on my own in ages, and it was a welcome relief. Alternating among hammock reading, napping, and working the rest of the day, we found ourselves at dinner in the Selina’s bar. That evening’s entertainment was a series of taped concerts, led-off by a 2-hour U2 extravaganza. We talked, we danced in our seats, we sang along, we drank rum & pineapple — blended drinks with the fruit inside, not just the juice — from small jars. We toasted a more than successful trip.



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