I'm exhausted this evening, from spending 6 hours doing 2 errands with the kids. The main reason for this length of time is the car-less-ness. Although public transit does exist here, it seems like everyone owns a car, and shopping destinations are usually a distance from trains and buses.
Our first destination was a great children's bookstore called Hicklebee's. I found out about this place thanks to Brett, who commented on my blog. He noticed the earlier photo of the bike rack adorned with knitting, and told me about Hicklebee's, which features a tree out front covered with all kinds of colorful stitches. I did some Googling to find out about this phenomenon, which is known as yarnbombing. And although this is the first time I've seen it, apparently yarnbombing is not unique to California - you can see this type of public decoration / art throughout Europe and the U.S. There is even a holiday - June 11 last year they celebrated the first International Yarnbombing Day.
If this wasn't a good enough reason to venture to Willow Glen in south San Jose, the bookstore itself is also a gem. It is a small, high-quality, independent children's bookstore, which opened in 1979. The store is covered with autographs, props from famous stories, and book posters. My kids and I love bookstores under any circumstance, so we were thrilled to spend an hour here, reading and shopping.
The trip went less smoothly after that... we waited for our bus for a full hour. I finally gave up, taking the kids across the street to the Starbucks to use the restroom - and watched the bus drive by. I called a taxi. Wallet somewhat lightened after that, I finished the rest of our shopping at Target, then dragged the bags on a 20-minute walk to the train station, and caught the train home. On the way home I kept thinking, how frustrating this is, being in a place where getting to a couple of stores has to take the whole day. It's going to be hard if a lot of our future cities are like this, and unfortunately in the U.S., a lot of them are. I've got to get better at shopping online.