Palo Alto 2, Leona 0

If I was in a relationship with Palo Alto on Facebook, I would list it as complicated.

I love the city.  It is beautiful down there and the vibe and atmosphere is exactly how I picture a city full of some of the world’s brightest minds would be like – young, vibrant, and laid back.  I would love to live in a place like this.

But I don’t think the city likes me back very much.  And here begins the story of how after traveling through France and Germany in a train, I still can’t manage to read public transportation properly and in an English speaking country no less.

Trip #1

My first visit to Palo Alto was during the American Thanksgiving long weekend to visit Jen, a friend of mine from Queen’s University.  She gave me fairly decent instructions on how to get there from San Francisco using the Caltrain and I even consulted my iPhone several times to make sure I understood which stop to get off at.

My train ride was packed with people decked out in red Stanford gear and green Notre Dame sweaters. I had several thoughts on my train ride,

Wow… Americans sure have school spirit.

This train feels like Christmas threw up on it.

Maybe there’s a football game… that’d make sense.

After 40 minutes, we arrived at a stop and the conductor announced,

Palo Alto

Like the rest of my train buddies, I got off.

I tried looking for California Ave. which was the street I needed.  My Google Map App indicated I was nowhere near it so  I called Jen to let her know that I have no idea where California Ave. was and told her the nearest street I saw.

You’re at the wrong stop, Leona.  You were suppose to get off at the next one.   I’ll come get you.

No it’s okay.  I’m about a 40 minute walk.  I’ll follow my map.

Are you sure?

Ya, I’ll just follow these Notre Dame people and look there’s a tailgate party.  I’ll go make friends.

After close to an hour later, I finally make it to Jen’s.

Palo Alto 1, Leona 0

Trip #2

My second trip to Palo Alto was for a goodbye party for Jen who was moving to Chile for 6 months to work on her startup.  Based on my estimate, I was going to get to Jen’s around 7:40pm and then catch the return train at 9:27pm for another event in SF.

This time being the very smart girl that I am, I made sure to pay close attention and get off at California Ave. (the second Palo Alto stop).  Not going to make that same mistake twice!

During my train ride, I kept thinking it seemed a lot faster and it was probably because this time I knew where I was going.

When we arrived at the Palo Alto stop, I made sure to stay on because California Ave. was next.

The door closes and the train moves again and then this announcement happens,

Next station is Mountain View.  The next station is Mountain View.

WTF?  What? Where? What is a Mountain View and where is it?

In a panic, I message Jen and she replies,

Get off.  You’re on the express train.

So by the time I got off the train, caught the train back and got off at California, walked to Jen’s house, I only had about 10 minutes to say hi and bye to her before I had to go back to the train station and catch my train back to SF – essentially spending 5 hours commuting to see someone for 10 minutes.

Putting that into perspective, in 5 hours I could:

  • Fly back to Toronto
  • Fly to and back from Vancouver
  • Watch 10 episodes of How I Met Your Mother
  • Finish an entire sappy teen novel
  • Drive across from the northern tip of Belgium to Luxembourg and still have a few hours to kill


Palo Alto 2, Leona 0

In summary, I think somebody is purposely trying to keep me out of Palo Alto because of my secret/not so secret/kind of odd/kind of embarrassing/I think I’m a gold digger/can’t help myself/shameful crush on Mark Zuckerberg who Jen did run into a few weeks ago.  Or maybe, I just suck at using the train.

Check out pictures of my visit to Stanford below.  Also, follow my blog on the right hand side and be notified via email when a new blog post is up.

  1. Europe is beautiful, but we always travel by car

    • Europe is definitely very charming! I’ve only traveled via train and plane but roadtrips through the continent is on my list.

  2. 5 hrs travel to visit me for 10 minutes = you are awesome.

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