As we begin to put down roots (no, we don’t have a permanent home yet) I thought it only fair that I create a new category to bring together all anticipated observations about our new home. Here are some snippets:
– Alameda residents are pround of their city. “A small island off the coast of Oakland” is how one person describes it to outsiders. Most of the local publications (there are two local newspapers) refer to Alameda as “the Island” with a capital “I”
– We just got Izumi’s new cellphone (Verizon provides the best coverage on the Island) at a small local store on Park Street and looking at all the signed photos on the wall, I discoverd that this little mom & pop store has provided almost all the Oakland Raiders with their cell phones.
– I’ve become a big fan of Topix’s Alameda page. A great resource for local news and information about the area.
– The Island has a population of 58,000 and used to host a large naval base which was given over to the county in 1998. They are currently coverting the land to a mixture of housing, high-end shopping (someone mentioned a Nordstrom’s), and buisiness parks.
– Alameda is very convenient. A $5 ferry ride takes you over to the Ferry Terminal in downtown San Francisco. Oakland International Airport is only 10 minutes away and is a hub for Southwest and JetBlue, two of the leading discount domestic airlines, Aloha Air also flys out of Oakland to Hawaii. The Express “O” bus leaves from Alameda over the bus lane to downtown San Francisco. Drive 10 minutes East to the 880 and you can loop around North to the Bay Bridge to San Francisco or South to San Jose.
– Alameda has the feel of a small, semi-urban neighborhood in Los Angeles, circa – 1940. There are cute little 15 foot high lamps that line some of the streets. The houses all have really flimsy locks on them and when I asked, they said that the crime rate is extremely low. Put more simply by another gentleman we were talking to, “There are only three ways on and off the Island. If you have any trouble, call the police and there’s now way for the bad guys to get away.”