2018.07.18 Alcatraz! Not again...

It is a common complaint among expats around the world that all guests from "back home" want to see the very same attractions.

As beautiful as Golden Gate Bridge, Krüger National Park, The Eiffel Tower, or even the Little Mermaid may be, there can be too much of a good thing.

For expats living in the San Francisco Bay area, I have collected a list of very local and a selection of "within a day of driving" attractions that may not be mentioned in the guide books your relatives have studied before they arrived.

Last week I came across a new little pearl: The Tony Foster Gallery.

I had never heard of Tony Foster - shame on me - but was brought along to this little free treat located in a - for an art gallery - obscure corner of Palo Alto: The very industrial triangle between San Antonio Rd and 101.

Tony Foster is British watercolor artist who has done extensive natural paintings throughout the American South-West, at scenic outcrops from Mount Everest to Greenland, and even some paintings done submerged of coral reefs in the Caribbean (the latter giving a new meaning to the term "water" color.)

Is he relevant to Silicon Valley? His take on tech is certainly controversial: “It struck me that people are becoming utterly dependent on a technological fix, which is increasing the gap between the reality and the illusion of the world. I wanted to assert the idea that if you put your iPad down and go out and spend time away from all the urban temptations, you find extraordinary things.”

Amen to that.

My hosts last week were the local Environmental Volunteers, a group brought in by science teachers up and down the San Francisco peninsula to teach elementary school students about earthquakes, tide pools, local flora and fauna, and bring the students into the nature.

Your guests can "find extraordinary things" as well if they visit the EV-center at the end of Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto and join the guided free tours into the marches.

If you haven't yet seen the exhibition, the marches - or any of the other attractions - you may even want to join your guests. But otherwise they can entertain themselves for a couple of hours or a day while you do what you would have done if your home hadn't become the convenient BnB.