Boy, today was h-o-t! Yesterday was bad enough but this morning was unbelievable. April’s not even over yet and we’ve already had a record high of 92°F. To many of you it may seem that I’m overstating this, since you may live in much hotter places. Heck, I’ve lived in much hotter places. Bombay is far from a ski vacation and college in Texas had many sweltering days where being outside gave you a fairly good idea of what hell must feel like. The difference is, here in the Bay area, we’re spoiled weather-wise, especially in San Francisco. Think bright beautiful sunshine with your own personal air-conditioning around you. That’s what it is like, sunshine with heat optional. The fog ensures that we need jackets in the summer, because when there is no sun, it is cool. Even on hot days, the temperature difference between night and day can be as much as 30°, as it is supposed to tonight. And as I sit here writing this, smelling the ocean on this hot spring night, the breeze starting blow in through my window is telling me this will be true.
It’s a darn shame I can’t sleep on the roof of my apartment building. I would brave random nocturnal creature attacks to enjoy a few hours of cooling slumber. It is impossible trying to sleep when you are hot. You slowly roast where you lie, incapacitated and zapped to near death by the crazy heat. Living in these cooler climes has taught me that I prefer the cold. I love everything about summer except the heat. Crazy but true. Even as I continue to slowly type this at the rate of two words per minute, I’m getting slower as my brain continues to melt into oblivion. Oh my future and past kingdoms for an air-conditioned room! (Incidentally in case you are wondering, apartments here rarely have air-conditioning, courtesy the normally fabulous weather.)
San Francisco is beautiful no matter where you are in it. But the charm of the San Francisco Bay is unbeatable. Last weekend was bright and sunny and demanded a break out in the open. While Amey took a break from his day and flew his kite……
….I took a walk and watched the world shed its winter overcoat and come alive. There were fathers and sons checking out the grass and walks…
The rain is leaving us as spring waltzes in but it certainly isn’t leaving quietly. In the night, my little kitchen was flooded in moonlight but as I looked up, swift grey covers silently stole in and blocked her from my view. The next morning, formerly azure skies were swathed in threatening grays and mauves. People who had put away their winter wear were sent scrambling for their coats and spent the day wishing for the sun again. But despite the shocked gasps that I’m going to incite from that quarter, I’m not sure I’m ready for the rain to leave us just yet. I do like the sun but I’m going to miss winter’s quiet monochrome days this time around. It’s perfect for staying in and studying, which I’ve needed to do. Nevertheless, foodwise, I am looking forward to spring and summer’s bounty of fresh produce, which in the Bay Area is tremendous.
Before then, we continue to make the best of staples and our small pantry. Greens restaurant here in San Francisco always seems to have wonderful menus no matter what the season and their head chef Annie Sommerville’s cookbook Field of Greens is one of my favourite places to go looking when I want different flavours. This light and lovely scrambled egg breakfast is simple, with ingredients quite different from what I’d normally put in scrambled eggs. The sesame gives it varied smoky nuance and the ginger brings a lovely mild heat.
The trial of the licensing exams is upon me! It is why I sport dark circles under my eyes (courtesy trying to study into the night on workdays) that would be the envy of the most discerning raccoon. It also why I spend long periods at slogging away at books while I pretend to be oblivious to the sun shining outdoors. Without a doubt, this was easier to do in the winter months. The summer will be testing me on will power as well as subject material. As the exam dates draw nearer, I bury myself in books and cramming, accompanied by occasional rants at and about nothing and everything. Nights are reserved for incoherent babbling. My husband (who incidentally is very calm and collected through his licensing ordeal) bears all this with a good degree of forbearance. He takes over most daily requirements for living completely, thereby leaving me to my alternative lifestyle until the exam is done and I’m normal again. Among other things, he also takes over the cooking.
Plan a visit to San Francisco and chances are good that Chinatown will pop up on your itinerary. It’s a favourite with tourists. Yet unlike most tourist frequented areas, this also has a very strong local pulse. There are times in the day that this pulse becomes an aggressive beat, sort of like watching hundreds of people scramble to Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills. Stand in one place and you are liable to get bowled over by carts unloading or old grandma’s armed with shopping carts. For Chinatown, among other things, is also a veritable treasure trove of a market.
Living in the next neighbourhood as I do, I had never really spent much time in Chinatown since the very first time I lived in the city. I passed through it often yet never lingered much. The tourist attractions hold none for me and the markets, bakeries and restaurants confused me. I have a comfort zone with food which I tentatively push and expand a little at a time, and will certainly not do under any duress. And the stress of trying to figure out what was in a particularly enticing bun always reduced me to a bundle of nerves. And in that condition, I reach for the old and familiar not the new and untested. So Chinatown and I went on like those ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing.()