Beef, bikes and bugs

We left Berkeley a couple hours before the 3.2 earthquake hit yesterday afternoon, but since all three of us will remain in some part of California for the next while,we may not go without…one doesn’t know. We now do know, however, some assorted facts about Davis never brought to singular, let alonge our triple, attention before:

we knew, of course, about the bikes.  Davis prides itself on being second only to Cambridge, England, for its pedal culture.  Bike shops abound and have the things available in pink (tires as well as frames), mint green, camoflage and every other conceivable paint/rubber hue.

This is at least in part because Davis is flat.  Davis defines fltat: I beome breathless walking around Davis and realizing that my elevation does not change a centimtre (or even a fraction of an inch). the main street has four-way stop signs at each intersection.  It is hard to work up to a good aerobic pace.

Davis seems to have adopted the watermelon as a municipal icon, along with the bike. There is Watermelon Music; the farmers’ market is advertised on banners sporting watermelons; even political posters addressing the state’s fiscal crisis is decorated with watermelons (being trod upon by cows, a symbol that I already rlated to Davis, with UCD’s Aggies mascot and my beautiful niece’s lifelong affection for the creatures).

Besides banners with watermelons, there are banners warning against Nile virus carriers.  These banners tell us to Drain–Defend–Dress against mosquito infestation.  The scansion bothers me to an absurd degree, probably because I can’t walk up or down but only across as I read the lins.

We were able to visti with old friends yesterday, including a very charming 3-year-old who was deeply perplexed by our hotel’s lack of livingroom. She sang us a lovely song about swallowing soap bubbles and then we repaired to a coffee shop her father has found during his months of writing his Cambridge (yes, back to bikes in the UK) dissertation, which he is doing in Davis.  The cafe was lovely and served fine espresso, as well as veal, which latter should have alerted us to yet another theme in Davis:

Beef seems to be the staple food. So much so that, although these three expat California dwellers dearly wanted Mexican food for supper and paced the flat streets in search of such a place that existed according to the hotel staff, all that could be found was a steak house.  Or we could ahve returned to the delightful coffee shop that served veal.  Hm, no.

his morning, however, is off to a good gustatory start, as the Peets here opens at 6:30 and is prompt about it.  I have never seen such a large Peets; it is about the size of the old reference room at BPL (pre-reno), but otherwise is quite Peetsy, replete with narrow granite bar for some drinkers and a dark slate floor.

And Davis, per Bob, is the safest place in California insofar as earthquakes, so he can relax during Al’s wedding later this morning. He and Fred will both be appropriately dressed against mosquitoes and I shall defend myself, while ceasing to look for hills and valleys for several hours. Al wrote to me weeks ago to announce that I won’t be having beef at her wedding (did anyone ever have as thoughtful a niece as I do?).  And I shall be sure to get some of the bike colors recorded for posterity before bugging out tomorrow morning.

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