01 November, 2009

My first weekend in California

Halloween was clearly a good date to pick to arrive. The children were thrilled by the pumpkins everywhere and had an opportunity to dress up - Welsh National costume which was mistaken for a leprechaun (?) by one householder. Emilia went trick or treating - just her and two dads - on what I'm reliably informed is the best trick or treating street in the whole of Berkeley. This street is so well known for its bounteous generosity, amazing decorations and general all round enthusiasm for Halloween that if you sell your house there you have to declare that people will expect the new owners to be equally bounteous, decorative and enthusiastic. She came back laden with candy. Lottie meanwhile had passed out and missed everything. She did wake up in time however to eat dessert before passing out again.

Other activities undertaken by the extremely tired adults included visiting a phone store to find out about mobile phones and landlines, eating brunch in a cafe with very large chairs with mouldings for very large bottoms on the seat, desperately seeking a "rest room" for my youngest and ending up in McDonalds (oh the shame!) but only to use the loo, eating vast quantities of sushi, hiring a car and shopping at a supermarket.

Hiring the car was funny. We wanted something small but all they had was an SUV and pick-up trucks. So we took a truck, which meant we could transport all our luggage to SF later this afternoon. Yes, within two days of arriving in the US of A, Tom is driving a truck.

We took the truck shopping to Safeways and had our first taste of an American supermarket. Do not attempt this when suffering from jetlag. You may think you know what everything is, but you don't and we were both extremely confused by the end of it. I suspect shopping for groceries is going to feature regularly in this blog for the next few months. I had a "revelatory moment" at the mayonnaise section when I realised they didn't sell Hellmans and I had no idea which the best tasting brand was - did this mean I would have to buy each one in turn until I found the right one? And how could "Miracle Whip" possibly be that one? How did buying mayonnaise suddenly become complicated. Every section was like this. The orange juice options have doubled if not trebled so you can have no pulp, low pulp, medium pulp and high pulp, with and without calcium and various other vitamins. I think I ended up with one with added calcium because I couldn't remember if orange juice had calcium in it normally or not, and if it did then I ought to get the one with rather than without. Or something. I told you I was tired. And of course the quantities beggar belief. It is hard to buy less than a gallon of milk. For the metric amongst you, that's nearly 4 litres in one go, or in fact enough to keep a small European car on the road for tens of miles. But not the truck, obviously.

We left the store with not very much having exhausted ourselves with the simple decisions of what bread to get and which tuna to buy. Tom went for a brand called "Chicken of the Sea"?? He's not sure why, but I'm glad he did, as it's such a superbly odd name.


brandy zadrozny said...

When I moved to Nottingham for college (years ago) one of the most frightening thing was grocery shopping. It makes you realize how loyal you get to brands.

We have Hellmann's in the U.S. but some fancy stores won't carry it.

As for the endless varieties, just look at the back of the package - the simpler the better. And I'd shy away from any foods adding vitamins or making any other health claims.

Love you blog and good luck in San Francisco!

Doug Cutting said...

Chicken of the Sea was the inspiration for the band Pollo del Mar.

Suzanne@ Panteg Alpacas said...

Take my advice - don't visit costco just yet , it may well bring about meltdown , the choices are so huge !!

Anonymous said...

On the West Coast, Hellman's mayonnaise is sold under the name Best Foods.