Wed 15 Aug 2007
After the mountains, jungles, fields, and beaches, we were headed for the Big City: San Jose. By mid-afternoon the skies had opened and the windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the mist and rain; there was nowhere to pull over so we inched along the dark roadway, following the red taillights in front of us. Finally we came across a sort of rest stop with a cafeteria and some souvenier stores where we could wait out the rain. The nice cafeteria ladies heaped my plate with food, though for some reason they didn’t give Dr. G, in line behind me, quite so much. I guess I have a more winsome expression. Our city maps of san jose listed street names and numbers, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to count on those driving into the city to our next B and B, the Hemingway Inn. As navigator I counted the blocks, noted major landmarks, and mentally marked one-way streets. Even so, we spent a good twenty minutes circling the downtown area before we got to a street that would allow us to approach the hotel from the right direction. The Inn was a cool-looking old colonial building filled with antiques. The guy at the desk seemed like he might be high, with his extra-wide, glassy eyes, and mile-a-minute, american-slang-peppered way of talking.
Oh well, he had our reservation and our room was ready. We’d just have to get a little wet to get there, since the only entrance was through a courtyard where the gutters on the eaves were broken. Make that a lot wet. The spacious corner room was named after Steinbeck and had big windows facing the streets, parrots in the tree outside, and an actual clock and cable TV. The drains in the street-level bathroom, however, reeked of sewer and we avoided it as much as we could and kept the door shut. After we dried out and got settled in, we walked into the city center to parade with the young folk up and down the cobblestone boulevard, blocked off from cars. The theater building filled a whole block, and there were parks and benches everywhere. The storefronts were a mix of american chain stores (Payless Shoe Source, anyone), fast food restaurants, and local specialty stores. We picked the nicest restaurant we could find, where my gazpacho arrived on a wooden artists pallet with chopped soup toppings arranged where the paint would be, and Dr. G received a chop salad bigger than his head in a swoopy white bowl. Back at the room, Ghostbusters was on television. There’s something strange… in your neighborhood. There’s something weird… and it don’t look good. Who you gonna call?