Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moroccan Mint Tea

For the last few days I've been on a mission to get my mind right. For starters, I've been reading the Autobiography of a Yogi, so that's had me focused on the whole "mastery of self" thing. More practically, I've run into a few technological problems that could either break me or make me stronger. For example, I can't find the power chord to my Kindle, which has had me speedreading through Yogananda's opus in a race to finish before the thing dies. On a more tragic note, I recently spilled a delicious glass of Moroccan mint tea on my laptop. To top it all off, the lovely Chase Bank decided to disappear over $400 from my checking account, with zero explanation. So here I am, trying not to be troubled by the illusory ups and downs of maya, and for the most part, it's working.

The real reason I have to get my mind right is that I'm leaving South Africa in less than a week, after a beautiful three-month stay. In some ways, I could stay another 3, but since it's time to come home, I'm ready. Besides, it's not like I live in
Cleveland. I love The Bay. So, in the spirit of being positive about wrapping up my trip, I present to you...



I don't care if you call it a line or a queue, just do it! When I attended the USA vs. England World Cup match way back in June I was blown away by how crazy and difficult it was just get from the stadium back to my car after the match. In theory, all you had to do was board one of the park-and-ride buses and be driven back to the parking lot. In reality, trying to board one of the buses was like scrapping for rations in a refugee camp (I imagine). There were plenty of buses, there was just a lack of common sense and civility. The next day on talk radio several callers suggested that South Africans just needed a little bit more time to learn how to queue, as it was something they were not used to. I dismissed this as a ridiculous and possibly racist idea! Unfortunately, after three months in the country, I have to agree. South Africans are just not ready for the single-file line. Instead, they just bunch up at the front and squeeze through to the other side, like sands in the hourglass. It's an especially difficult adjustment to make for a gentleman like me that always likes to let/watch a lady go first!

We Baydestrians are spoiled when it comes to food. For so many reasons, I have to say that no place on the planet can compare. The Bay has people from every nook and cranny of the planet, and they bring their culinary skills and tastes with them. We have a healthy food culture that values local, fresh ingredients. Geographically, we sit in one of the best locations possible to get those ingredients, direct from the farmers market, Central Valley, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, Asia, or beyond. Finally, we have a strong enough economy and big enough population to support a healthy restaurant industry. This entry calls for a list-within the-list: "Drew's Favorite Eat-Spot Awards"

Kinder's (Arnold Industrial Way, Concord, CA)
Burgers -
Perry's (Union St., San Francisco, CA)
Cheesesteak - Cheesesteak Shop (Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA)
Chinese - Little Shin Shin (Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA)
Coffee - Cafe Dibartolo (Grand Ave, Oakland, CA)
Deli Sandwich - Genova Delicatessan (Telegraph, Oakland, CA)
Donuts - Colonial Donuts (Lake Shore Ave, Oakland, CA)

Ethiopian - Ensarro (Grand Ave, Oakland, CA)
Frozen Yogurt - Yogurt Deluxe (Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA)
Indian - House of Curries (College Ave, Berkeley, CA)
Italian -
Salute e Vita (Marina, Richmond, CA)
Japanese -
Coach Sushi (Grand Ave, Oakland, CA)
Mediterranean - Ali Baba's Cave Cafe (Fillmore St., San Francisco CA)
Pizza -
Zachary's (College Ave, Oakland, CA)
Senegalese - Bissap Baobob (19th Street, San Francisco, CA)

Taco Truck - Sinaloa (22nd & International, Oakland, CA)
Tapas -
Tamarindo (8th St., Oakland, CA)
Taqueria -
Gordo (9th Ave, San Francisco, CA)
Thai - Siam Lotus (Haight St. San Francisco, CA)
Sunday Breakfast - The Montclair Egg Shop (Oakland, CA)
Vietnamese - Miss Saigon (Grand Ave, Oakland, CA)
Honorable Mention -
Rolling Dunes (Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA)
Overrated - Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich, Everett & Jones

I covered the harsh realities of transportation in Jozi in an
earlier post. I haven't owned a car since 2006 and I don't plan on buying one any time soon. It's become part of who I am. Believe it or not, it makes me a lot more efficient and organized. Not owning a car helps keep me healthy: physically, psychologically and financially. I get more time to read everyday on the bus and on BART. I ride my bike for at least 30 minutes everyday, which should be more than enough to keep me off the fat farm. I don't have to pay for gas, tickets, registration, tickets, insurance, tickets, repairs, tickets, and all the other things that make owning a car so expensive. I really miss Oakland's walkable neighborhoods, like Lake Merrit, Uptown, Temescal, and Fruitvale.

I've been lucky to have the chance to work with players from different clubs and teams here in Africa, including Wits F.C. Juniors, Black Diamonds F.C., Grupo Desportivo de Manica, and the University of Johannesburg Men's Team. But, you know what they say: "You can take the coach out of the
Burners Football Club, but you can't take the Burners Football Club out of the coach." I think they say that... well, I say that. Burners FC started in 2006 as a rag tag group of friends from the East Bay (originally the B-Town Burners) who just wanted to play some indoor soccer on the weekends. Now, we are a fully fledged world class football (and social) club. For the last month or so I've been working from afar to get our two youth teams registered for the upcoming Fall season, and as always, I am juiced! I'm always proud when one of our players moves on to bigger thangs, as several already have. But I'm always excited to start off a new season, to see how each player, new and old is going to surprise me... they always do. This will be my fourth year working with some of the boys, and my first with others. It's gonna be a good one, and as always, we're gonna have a funky good time.

Nuff said, you know who you are! To the ones I've always known and the ones I've never met, I'll see you soon!

Pura Vida...

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever been to this dim sum place? You'll LOVE it. Haven't been in years, but it looks like it's still going strong! Good Luck Dim Sum -