This blog is about my life. How I live it with the people I love. Adventures and misadventures in my life is journalled here.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tips in San Jose, CA - Tip # 1 & 2

Younger batch of officemates are going to Singapore this month, and since they know that I went there a few weekends ago, they were asking me for tips. As I am preparing to write one, I suddenly remembered the same "tips sheet" that I gave to some of their batchmates when they were seconded in the US. You see, I was the first from our group to be seconded on that side of the US as the previous batches were all seconded on east coast, that's why I prepared that "tips sheet". I am saving here part by part the tips I provided to them, specific to their needs but can be useful too to anybody going to the Pacific Northwest US.

Tip topic # 1: On driving

Note: when I was there, hindi pa uso ang GPS, so I am so dependent on maps.

- Use Google map – for me, this is the most reliable and provides the simplest directions compared to Yahoo and Mapquest though if you have time, it’s better that you compare the three, as it might be case to case basis, depending on the location.

- Also, if you have a friend in the US who’s a member of AAA, ask that person to get you maps of San Francisco, San Jose and nearby cities since it really helps to still have an actual map in case you get lost in following the directions from Google map.

- Always plan your trips, study the directions and map. It helps to have a small notebook where you can copy the directions if you have no printer access. At least with a notebook, you will retain the copy of the directions rather than using looseleaf paper where you’ll risk of losing it after use.

Tips topic # 2: Recommended Stores

1. Seafood City – Filipino food, unfrozen meat and fish, only grocery that sells atay (liver), balun-balunan (gizzard), etc., sells balikbayan box, Globe prepaid load. You can also ask them to clean and fry the fish with no fee.

2. Target – sells everything, from groceries, clothes, electronics, toys, supplies, etc. It’s a good place to buy Mossimo clothes, chocolates for pasalubong, etc. Very near Oakwood Saratoga. Ask Maris, she loves this store. Virgin Mobile top up (prepaid load) is cheaper here by 10%.

3. Safeway – grocery, you can find this anywhere. Don’t forget to get a Safeway card, there is no fee for this and you’ll save a lot as they have special rates for Safeway club members. You can get the membership card from the cashier, ask about it before you pay so your purchases will be discounted. Also, always check out for Safeway’s weekly catalog that they will send to your apartment mail box, this contains coupons (for discounts and promo). Safeway always have a buy one take one promo for ice cream for Safeway club members. Their cooked baby back ribs is good! = ) and always check out their sale of steaks! I always stock up on steaks as this is the fastest food to cook. There are two Safeway stores near Oakwood Saratoga, one is near Target and the other one is near Valleyfair.

4. Valleyfair – this is the biggest mall na in Northern California. Has two department stores: Macy’s and Nordstrom (Nordstrom is like Rustans here meaning expensive). Tip: don’t buy clothes here for regular price, clothes are cheaper somewhere. Buy here only on sale. It’s very near Oakwood Saratoga.

5. Santana Row – in front Valleyfair, this is their gimik place, parang Greenbelt 2 ang set up.

6. Great Mall – outlet mall. Best place for shopping of clothes, shoes, bags, etc. In the US, its always the outlets that are the best place to shop since they’re always cheap. This mall is very near Cisco, you can go here by taking interstate 880 or 280 but from Oakwood Saratoga, its nearer to take I-880. Search google for directions, it’s in Milpitas. They also have Marshalls here – a bargain store, same with Ross, if you’re matyaga, you’ll get good finds here.

7. Ross or Marshalls – bargain store. You can buy branded clothes, shoes and bags if you’re matyaga. I always check out these stores for new stocks and I bought most of my pasalubongs here.

8. Dollar Stores – try finding a nearby dollar store since everything here costs only a dollar. Don’t buy food here though. Would recommend buying the tissues, extra hangers, food containers and other non-food stuff here. Don’t buy shampoos and soap here too kasi baka expired na or fake.

9. Best Buy or Fry’s – for everything electronics.

Disclaimer: My tips are based on my almost six months stay in the US, these are the things that helped me survive given my circumstances.

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