Last day in the Bay Area so I decided to take a good walk around the place that’s been my home for the past few days – Berkeley. When I arrived I was looking forward to a walk around the University campus, but I was a touch disappointed to find out that the scenes from The Graduate which were based at the University, were actually shot in Los Angeles.
The campus was stunning, and everything I’d imagined it to be. When I think of British Universities it somehow drags up images of drunkenness and kebabs (perhaps that’s based on my experience of University life), however life on campus at Berkeley is very different. The students were the youthful, fresh faced, intellectual types, they were there to learn, as much as to have a student experience. There was a real sense of exuberance, teams were practising parkour; jumping onto the library windowsills and clambering stairwells and the ridges of small buildings and while in the distance there was a drum-off in mid flow between two groups of Japanese Taiko drummers.On a street corner, where I’d seen an intense political discussion the night before, there was a lone protester, placard in hand. The spirit of the 60’s is still strong here, both on the street protesting and sleeping rough. Homelessness has been endemic wherever I’ve visited on the trip, but in Berkeley there seems to be a draw for intellectual types, perhaps they came to study and never left. A few days previously, I’d met Orlando, a street poet he was selling a newspaper to raise money for the homeless, much like the Big Issue back at home. He’d been homeless but both he and his wife now had a place of their own and were doing their bit in order for someone else to have the same chance as they had.
Choosing a venue for brunch was easy, I stuck with the whole feel of the place and decided to venture into a vegetarian diner. Although I love my meat, most people are usually surprised when I say how much I enjoy vegetarian food. I’ve been lucky, I’ve got a vegetarian friend who’s an incredible cook. Although I was going veggie, as it was on the menu, I thought it was worth trying some Fakin Bacon (it’s hiding beneath the potatoes at the top of the picture). Although it didn’t taste like real bacon, it was quite nice and I’d happily have a Fakin Bacon Butty again.