I'm at the San Jose Airport waiting for my flight to LA. This is the first time I've been in the new section. The last time I was here was two months ago, on the last day that the old terminal was being used. The old section was really run down. It was very crowded and you still had to walk out onto the tarmac to board the plane.
Anyway, so far I'm impressed. There was no line at check-in or security. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to wait in a long line here. The new section is different from most newer airports. It's extremely spacious, with a very wide walkway and lots of space between rows of chairs. There are a few restaurants and newsstands, but it doesn't look like a mini-mall the way that a lot of airports do. Overall, it has a very minimalistic, post-modern feel. I'm also impressed by the chairs. They have banks of leather chairs with little tables between them. The tables have electrical and USB charger outlets on them, and also provide a place to set my coffee. My only complaint is the music They're playing elevator pseudo-classical music versions of songs I like. It's not like Enya or Jimmy Buffet songs are unsuitable for airport use, anyway.
Last night I went to an alumni wine tasting event. Like a lot of the alumni events, it was sponsored by MIT but there were a lot of Stanford people there too. Mitra and Judy had suggested it to me, but they both bailed on me. I made sure to drink their share of wine. It was held at the Artisan Wine Depot, which opened up about eight months ago in downtown Mountain View. It's an interesting place, located in a former car repair shop. I was really impressed. It's not very big, and it's totally jam packed with wine. They specialize in wines from smaller vineyards. There were 8 wines on the tasting menu, all in the $10/bottle range. I tried them all except for the chardonnay. The owner/sommelier was pouring, and she was quite diligent about not giving people wines that would clash with their foods. I grabbed a cookie on the way in, so she started me off with the dessert wines. Later, once I had finished my cookie, she let me try the others. An older couple was helping out with the food - I'm not sure but I think they were the owner's parents.
It was a little bit too small to accomodate all the people. We were standing in the rows talking, but the rows were only three feet wide and people needed to get through. It probably contributed to a more friendly atmosphere, now that I think of it. It's hard to form impenetrable groups if people are constantly having to climb over you. I talked to a bunch of people, including another unemployed chemist, a bunch of consultants, a guy who worked for a local politician (he was totally working the room), and a good-looking Indian guy who gave me his card in case I ever wanted to go jogging with him atRancho San Antonio (hmmm). It was too crowded to do any wine shopping, but I'll definitely go back later and buy some.