Carolina: Cruising Past 70: 10 Sweet Spots that Complete an Eclectic View of Livermore, California

Thursday, October 4, 2018

10 Sweet Spots that Complete an Eclectic View of Livermore, California

Visiting family makes for an eclectic mix of random sights and landmarks, around their activities, our interests, and where they intersect. Two years ago, my eldest daughter and family moved to Livermore, California from Seattle, Washington. They lived in a small two-bedroom apartment first. We visited on a short stop-over on the way to Lake Tahoe, about three hours away (refer to this post). Recently, they moved to their own home. So, after our Carnival Imagination Cruise off LA, we made a longer visit and I was able to complete my exploration of the area.

Livermore vineyards and wineries
Around Livermore

Livermore is part of California’s Tri-Valley, a triangle-shaped region of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area, about 30 miles from San Francisco, comprising of Amador, Livermore, and San Ramon Valleys. Much of it is in Alameda County where my daughter was hired as an IT Tech Support. The region is famous for its Mediterranean climate, wine region, historic downtown areas, fine dining, and lower cost of living.

A primarily affluent suburban area with a population about 23% of the Bay area, it is fast getting known as the next “Napa Valley.” Some of the wineries are almost at my daughter’s backyard! My wine-connoisseur-wanna-be husband was impressed and bought three bottles at the Rodriguez Winery. On the other hand, I loved to photograph and be photographed with the grapes oozing from the vines!

Shiva - Vishnu Temple,

Thursday Farmer's Market
Livermore is 33% Caucasian, 28% Asian, and 23% Hispanic. There must be a good population of Indian-Americans since there is a huge Hindu Temple, Shiva - Vishnu Temple, with its white building with traditionally intricate Indian carvings amid sprawling grounds. Indian food is available at the Thursday Farmers’ Market. Bill loved the stuffed roti so we bought a cooler to store them for our road trip home.

We walked around downtown the first time we visited but we didn’t spot the wonderful street art that covered the whole wall of a building beside a large parking area. 
part of the mural

I always am fascinated by the beautiful art people create out of large blank walls. This one marked Livermore as an up and coming town of 60,000 that endeavors to provide its residents with a fully developed city to live in.

Railroad Depot Project
My son-in-law was hired as an engineering technician in the City Engineer’s Office of the city government. He took us to the project he is currently working on. It is the relocation and rehabilitation of the city’s old railroad depot. What a great sight it made, especially at dusk when the sunlight is dwindling and the artificial lights are making the attempt to take over.

Livermore Community garden

And then we were requested to take my grandson to his tennis practice. It was a great opportunity to watch him play and for him to show me how he could win the matches he was assigned to play. But what amazed me more was the Livermore Community Garden beside the sports complex. Aside from the flowers and vegetables, two giant pumpkins fascinated me. Sign of a great community. Other signs are: 1) my grandson goes to an excellent school and 2) my granddaughter was hired, right after graduation, as a lab technician.

In the Bay Area

Of course, I had to see GooglePlex. It had been a bucket list item for me ever since the tech giant began conquering the digital world. It was so good to walk around the awesome complex with the giant and colorful Google signs all over, the ever-present bicycles they provide for their employees, the colorful stairs that do not a drab office make, the elegant entrance corridor, and the green Android mascot. Working for Google must be so cool with all the much-talked-about HR programs to provide an easy and creative atmosphere for all their employees.

And Facebook was not far from there at 1 Hackers Way. The giant “Like” sign is a tourists’ magnet. What surprised me here is that behind the sign is the logo of the former Sun Microsystems which was the company that provided all the servers for the automation of the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue which I headed as Deputy Commissioner in 1996-8.  It looked very much like the signpost that we used as the backdrop of our photo when we visited their offices. This is an awful reminder of how long ten years can be for companies in the Internet Age.

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Thanh Long
It was then, twenty years ago, when the CEO of Sun’s Philippine subsidiary treated my daughters and me to a crab and garlic noodles place in San Francisco. My daughters had such a grand time then and kept on referring to that as the best dinner they ever had. So I asked my friend for the name of the restaurant. It was Thanh Long and I was able to take my daughter and her family there. It was expensive but well worth it! My other two daughters are waiting for their turn!

Dessert Republic
My son-in-law returned the favor, as if we weren’t already full, by taking us to the Dessert Republic in San Mateo. The eatery became famous for their dessert concoctions. Bill’s and my tiramisu came in a green pot. Sadly, the pot wasn’t edible. But the plate of sushi my son-in-law ordered for him and my daughter was. It is a gelatin dessert in a bed of shaved ice to which you pour condensed milk, much like the Filipino halo-halo. My grandson and granddaughter ordered more ordinary desserts: egg puffs and mango ice cream jubilee.

In this previous post, I talked about the 10 Mystical Places in the US. And I promised to go to the Land’s End Labyrinth in San Francisco during this visit. When we got there, it was windy, foggy, and cold, as San Francisco usually is. We decided not to make the long cliff-side walk to the spot. I guess I will have other times to visit it anyway. After all, my daughter now permanently lives in the lovely Livermore of California. It will headline the next list of eclectic places to visit.

Land's End Labyrinth

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