it's been a while since i actually "lived" in the bay area. about 8 years to be exact (yikes!) from the time i had a corp apt in fremont and was doing double duty as hardcore security consultant manager / full-time partier. as i was walking around today in mountain i reflected on a few of the differences...
- it's not hard to get a hotel any more. i used to have to fight to get into a crappy howard johnson where you paid 230 bucks (gladly) for a last minute visit. traffic has lightened up too, which is good.
- the same crappy hotels i used to crash at are now "boutique" hotels which are nothing more than the same edifice which have collided with a west elm catalogue with somewhat predictible results: they're stuffy, cramped, and still smell faintly of their ignominious past but they have nice modern furnishings, gratis wine happy hours, and aveda supplies in the bathrooms. progress?
- everyone is indian. i walked thru our mtn view office and there was a sandeep or sourabh every 5 steps. sign o' the times. when i witnessed a splash of multi-ethnicity, it was for a "john lee" and in the rare case it was a white dude (almost no women) the name ended in a "...vic". my my my... have times changed.
- the food is good! castro street in mtn view used to be the dominion of about 7 different pho and low-end chinese restaurants. now it has any of a number of tapas and (suprise!) indian and chinese fusion restaurants. my pal uy and i scored a few nice cigars and drinks at the local joints while watching the indian people pass by :-)
onto bebel's latest, memento. all together, a solid album deserving of an accomplished artist. the best tracks in my estimation are the slow-building title song "momento", fiesta track "os novo yorkinos", blissed-out "um segundo", and the minimalistic "words" where she showcases her breathy vocals. even on the less impressive contributions to the album, such as the forgettable house track "bring back the love", her voice is still able to make the song unoffensive, if not exciting. i think she's better off letting other lay down the party beats to compliment her pipes as she did with both of her last 2 albums. i'd *love* to see her do an album with miguel migs though, who has far too long focused on lisa shaw and has branched out somewhat with his latest production album "those things".
a million thanks to dawn for sending me the CD! (gleefully ripped and added to both my lappie and groovy new red ipod nano i got for my bday from jane)