Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Crowded Anniversary Suite

So, with JJ safe at his destination and me still unwilling to contribute to night-time driving, Kyle may have been left to his own nocturnal devices. Considering the jetlag he was still tackling, such an excursion would have been less safe even than traveling during the day with cranky wife and kids.

Thankfully, Chris and Emily had taken the weekend off to celebrate their anniversary anyway, and came to our rescue by allowing us to invite ourselves on their vacation. We agreed to chaperone their trip to San Francisco in exchange for them taking a shift at the wheel during our drive home from Utah. A few Red Bulls later, we were all safe and sound back in El Dorado Hills. After a homemade meal and a power nap, we were on toward the bay!

Since this was Chris and Emily's anniversary and all, we opted to leave the kids at home under the care of Mish, Carol, Ma, etc. I was apprehensive about leaving Didi behind, him being a surefire Mama's boy and all, but Ma was selfless as always and encouraged us to have our first child-less vacation ever (unless dates at the Cougareat count).

No, I don't miss China, but if I did, I would miss haggling with vendors. Emily and I tried a few of our best bargaining techniques, complete with broken Mandarin, but alas the same turquoise necklaces cost 15 or so times more on American soil. Inflation, man.

Chinatown conjured similar emotions--I am still too fresh off the boat to miss China, per se, but some of the sights and sounds were too familiar to arouse anything but comfortable, warm memories. Some sights could easily have been seen in China itself...

And others definitely reminded me that I am very far from China. Okay, so the man's a little outrageous in his claims, but allelujah that he can protest whatever he pleases on these streets.

This was Kyle's first time to the bay area. He took about five million pictures of the city, half of which were of the bridge. Thank goodness for digitals.

Without the burden of children (and when you're engaging in such an activity, yes, they are a burden), I relented to join the three cycling enthusiasts across the Golden Gate bridge via tandem bicycles. It sounded fun, romantic, athletic. Sure, I hadn't ridden a bike in over a decade (minus a biking mishap in MN last year), but remastering the technique would be, obviously, like learning to ride a bike again.

Emily and Chris (who are so hardcore that they own eight bikes and special underwear for long-distance rides) were all smiles, even during the uphill turns.

My ischeals, on the other hand, were begging for relief after about five minutes. I don't remember riding a bike being so excruciating when I was ten. I basically felt like only my bare skeleton was separating me from the seat. No amount of artificial padding could suffice. And no, I could not even pretend for the camera to be enjoying any of it.

And thanks to the fog, there was no end in sight.

And then Kyle had the gall to complain that sitting on my hands was throwing his steering off balance. Wouldn't you know that he actually asked me to walk back to the bike rental on the way home so he could ride faster? (Actually, I was happy to be off that thing, though I looked pretty pathetic sauntering through town bikeless and sporting a helmet. Kyle had to dump me to get the rental back in time.)

Off the bikes, we spent a lot of time browsing San Francisco's most famous attractions, and the other half of the time trying to find them.

The line to ride a trolley car was longer than Disneyland's Splash Mountain, but without having to entertain toddlers, we actually enjoyed the wait, playing a few rounds of "ten fingers," during which Emily disclosed the statement, "I have never kissed less than fifteen boys." Of course that's not what she meant, but, like any good friends, we'll never let her live it down.

I guess a lot of San Francisco's charm comes from the variety of people walking its streets. Kyle stopped to hear every street performer play, particularly if it was jazz.

What I found hip and appealing, of course, was the shopping venues. If you think Anthopologie's lantern display looks cool monet, check out the close up:

They're made of old and discolored Chinese texts! When I have a maid to do the dusting, I will definitely build my own lantern library.

One of the trip's highlights was fine dining over a live jazz performance. I ordered a French dish with the most amazing sauce, and Kyle gazed with unwavering adoration at the musicians. Eh, l'amour.

Next stop: the redwoods at Muir Woods.

We drove over to Sausalito the next day, which I was disappointed was not Little Italy, nor were there any affordable eateries or gift shops open after six, but a talking parrot did hit on Emily, so it wasn't a complete loss.
I think this is where Full House was filmed. You better believe Kyle wasn't about to miss this one. (You're hearing the theme song start now, too, eh? Ahh-ah-ah-ahhhhh...)

I thought I was so mischievous tricking Chris and Emily into giving me their flip flops that I promptly tossed over the cliff. Unfortunately, I had already given Emily my own feeble shoe. And actually, the bottom of the cliff was the beach we were heading toward, so my victory was fleeting, but I still got a thrill from the childish maneuver.

Yes, it's the Pacific Ocean, but it's still a beach, and somebody's still got to get wet.

Thank you for the morbid information.

It was a honeymoon/anniversary weekend to remember. (Chris bids farewell with a lovely arabesque.)

I had a few days to recover before we embarked on our next vacation to the suffocating state of Arizona.


Marilyn said...

Your trip to SF sounds like so much fun. I've been there many times and I too have fond memories of trips to SF from my childhood all the way until about 2 years ago. I'd live there if it weren't so expensive. Have you been to Disneland yet?

Mac and Kelly said...

We so want to come visit you guys! When will you be in AZ? Mac and I are going there next week.

Tiffany said...

Oh, actually I'm posting all of this in retrospect. We've already completed our trips to Arizona, MN, and Disneyland. M&K, you will just have to make a trip out here in January, or else!

liso. said...

great re-cap...sounds like you've had too much fun! we went to sf for the 2nd leg of our honeymoon, and had a great time! i love that you listened to your inner lil tiff and threw the shoes over the edge. awesome.!