Berkeley is some kind of alternate universe, overrun with Foresters and Minis and suffering from a very serious Prius infestation. The grocery stores have Harper’s and Bust in the checkout lane racks, and the neighborhood drug store has an entire aisle of $30+ yoga mats. Bryan pointed out a raw/organic/live food restaurant which serves “I AM OPEN-HEARTED spicy mole pizza.”
One of the biggest adjustments for me while both driving and walking around town is that pedestrians have right of way. Which, while not a unique concept, is actually enforced by popular consensus here. Well, popular consensus and the threat of hefty fines. At any crosswalk without a light, a pedestrian can just waltz across the road and traffic in both directions has to—and does—stop. This is convenient when on foot, but it makes driving extremely stressful. I’m constantly worried that some empowered pedestrian is going to jump from a curb and exercise her right to make me be courteous. I’m actually less afraid of hitting someone than I am of drawing the sanctimonious ire of other Berkeleyites. Berkeleyians. People who buy yoga mats at the drug store and smoke their drugs on the street.
It’s fantastic. Housing update coming soon!