I visited my good friend Rasheed and his wife Andrea in San Jose in October. I have not been to San Jose in 10 years so I was curious how the area has changed.
I was wondering what one would do when you visit Silicon Valley not for business, but for leisure? Well, you go visit all the famous tech companies that are so intimately embedded in our daily lives, that's what you do.
First up, Google campus. The Android building has some fun "sculptures" right outside.
While walking around the Google campus, we noticed these colorful "Google bikes" parked everywhere. This makes going from one building to another around the campus super easy and fun.
We noticed a new building with a lot full of Nissan Leaf electric cars being charged. While wondering if these will be used as the Google self-driving cars, we noticed a different brand of electric car called "Coda." None of us have ever heard of this brand so Rasheed said, "Let's Google it." We realized what he just said and started laughing. (Let's "Google" something while on Google campus, get it?) :)
Parked nearby was the famously odd Google conference bike.
Next, we spotted the Google Map/Places building. Andrea and I got so excited seeing the Google Street View cars.
Rasheed then took us to Stanford University. We visited the Cantor Arts Center where we learned the history of Leland Stanford. They have very nice artifacts and interesting exhibitions.
To my delight, they have a great Rodin sculpture collection here. I was very happy to discover that they have a small bronze statue of my favorite "The Kiss" sculpture. I saw the original in marble at the Rodin museum in Paris in 2001.
Of course, they also have a "The Thinker." I think this is the 6th or 7th one I've seen throughout my travels.
Outside the museum, there's a Rodin sculpture garden where the famous "Gates of Hell" is housed.
Then we moved on to the Stanford Memorial Court.
The stunning Stanford Memorial Church. We couldn't get inside that day as there was a wedding in progress.
In a quiet little courtyard to the right of the church, there is this cool place where you stand in the middle of the circle and speak, you get an awesome "surround sound" effect.
It was almost time for dinner. Rasheed and Andrea took me out to San Francisco. It has been two years since I've been in the City by the Bay, so I was excited to be back. Here's a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.
We walked around Fisherman's Wharf and saw this cool bread art at the Boudin Bakery.
We went to Scoma's for dinner and enjoyed some delicious seafood.
The next day, Rasheed and Andrea took me to Santana Row. We visited a Tesla store. Rasheed said the next time I visit he will take me to the Tesla factory.
While having lunch, we had to take a picture of Rasheed because he ordered two soups. Even the waiter said he's never had anyone ordering two soups before. Haha! :)
Before heading off to the airport, we visited the Apple campus. Being a loyal Apple product user, I told Rasheed I'm back at the mothership.
The famous 1 Infinite Loop building.
Then we drove over to the Facebook campus. Unfortunately there wasn't anything fun like the Google campus, dislike!
My quick weekend trip was coming to an end and it was time for me to go home. After walking into San Jose airport, I was shocked to see there was virtually nobody there unlike here in Los Angeles. This was the quickest TSA line EVER.
While landing back at LAX, we flew around downtown LA. Here's looking at the Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, and LA Live. I'm home.
Although this was a quick trip, I was very happy I got to spend time with my favorite couple, Rasheed and Andrea. We had lots of fun geeking out and visiting all the different companies whose technologies we use in everyday life like HP, eBay, Adobe, etc. This was definitely a different type of "sightseeing" than any other trips I've ever been on.
View the entire photo album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157632349595454/