Americans in Berkeley and Oakland

Lived in Berkely and Oakland for long periods. Generally I was shy around people, but met a few who enriched my life there. Randomly will list a few of names or people to give you an idea about types of people there.

  1. A. Was a 6 feet tall white girl. A vegan activist. Could be found near places in San Francisco boycotting fur coats. She lived with 12 rescued cats. The landlord apparently didn’t know about that because that was not allowed. I was a roommate for about 5 months. She worked for a vegan advocacy group, earning low wages, but survived well on a low cost living. Her ex boyfriend, threw a vegan pie at the San Francisco mayor, was arrested and was put to jail, there had went on hunger strike because he didn’t get vegan meals. Heard could get vegan meal now.
  2. B. Mark was a very tall – 6’8″ black + American Indian guy. Cops used to keep an eye on him. He did his undergraduate work in mathematics from nearby UC, Berkeley, On and off he worked for computer companies. Worked out in YMCA, Berkeley. He took hot showers in the gym because it saved him money. We had long conversations very frequently. Very interesting. When I told him I wanted to earn more money, he didn’t like it.
  3. Anil – Was a watchman for Bank of America in Oakland. Bought two houses in housing crisis. One was on rent. He believed in simple life. Every morning he came to work by bus, went to nearby Trader Joe’s for free sample coffee – the sample cups were bigger than the standard tea cup in India, he got 2 with soymilk put in. He loved it. Had to be standing all the time, that was the bank’s rule, had leg pain, he did frequent leg yoga and stretches. Told him, he should retire, ignored me. $25 per hour was good money for him. His father, once he came to America, liked a spring water which he thought cured him of some illnesses. So Anil used to send that spring water, in 200 ml plastic bottles, two dozen or so at once, air shippped to him in India.
  4. C. Was our cycling instructor at Berkeley Ironworks. Baytime she was a researcher in Cancer at Kaiser Permanente. Her 2.5 hour long classes were very popular. Had to book in advance.
  5. D. She was our instructor at 24-hour fitness. She was a special education teacher.
  6. E. Was a psychologist serving homeless population in San Francisco. She told me that the mass media tells us the they were crazy, most of the homeless become crazy after becoming homeless.
  7. F. Was a very fit white male, young, teaching yoga. Very intense, Very popular but I gave up after a few classes at Berkeley Ironworks because I could not handle it. He had attended Stanford University and had received masters in Sanskrit, I think from India.

Just the typical population of Berkeley and Oakland. An Indian guy, generally unfit, showed up at 24-hour fitness for a few months. Pleasant and was trying to be fit without much success. He was a software programmer for Kaiser Permanente. He was the exception among the people I knew in Berkeley and Oakland.

Oakland and Berkeley were very liberal towns and it seemed like computer programmers wanted to stay in nearly silicon valley, where other Indians lived, and I heard from one, the jewelers from Hyderabad, India used to come at least once a year to take orders from the Indian womenfolks. For those who are interested there were many Indian stores, even in Berkeley, and Indian software guys came all the way from Silicon Valley for them. $10 for Sunday buffet was very popular. Some with desi chinese too! And unlimited Chicken too. Chicken, declared unfit for humans might have been used. Indians didn’t care about these small American classifications. Mr. Reddy, apparently an UC, Braduate, his Pasand restaurant in downtown Berkeley served Indian food. After a 13-year old girl who was trying to escape by climbing the boundary wall died, he got very lenient sentencing because his lawyer convinced the judge that having sex with 12-13 olds was a tradition custom of India. He is worth hundreds of millions. Pasand’s business suffered and a restaurant named “Namaste” was opened by his sons, apparently not connected to that incident. I read about Saravana Bhavan, whose owned fancied his employee, and tried to get her husband murdered. Restaurant business has fire.

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