Back from San Francisco. Let me start by saying that if you are the sort of parent who is scared of germs, hates not keeping to a strict itinerary, and loathes people staring at you, wellllllll, you may not want to hop on a plane with little Johnny or Susie just yet. Actually, this trip went pretty well - after all the lessons learned during the DC trip, I was able to put them to good use for this newest trip. Primarily, I learned that Arun is the Boss, O Holy One, and the Godfather - all rolled into one little bundle of boy. If I just follow his lead, life is grand. And boy, oh boy did we do a tour of San Francisco and the environs that you won’t find in Frommer’s.
We arrived Wednesday evening and got settled into our hotel - the Hotel Carlton - a small establishment smack dab in the middle of nowhere, yet right in the city. However, the neighborhood was very ethnic where English was yet another language being spoken. So, we all quickly crashed (another pro of co-sleeping - the kid sleeps where you sleep! No complaints from Arun as long as we are nearby which is one less stressor of traveling with him). Thursday morning we all got up bright and early, had breakfast and went our separate ways - X off to his conference, Arun and I off to walk around. I left the hotel at 9:00 am and came back around 12:00pm hoping to get Arun to nap. No can do, so off again we went and I didn’t return until after 3:30pm. Basically, I WALKED THE ENTIRE DAY. I strolled through Union Square, the Financial District, the South of Market area, Japantown, the Western Addition and Alamo Square. Arun slept through much of it because as long as there is motion, the kid will sleep (which makes for great plane trips, car trips, stroller trips). It was so exhilarating to get out and about and see how the folks in San Francisco live since I mostly walked through residential areas.
That evening ended up being the star of the trip. X found out about a great Pakistani dive 6 blocks from our hotel that served haleem (a spicy, slow-cooked meat and lentil mixture). Now, I love me some haleem and it is such a delicacy that it is hard to find except in cities where there is a large Indian/Pakistani population. In fact, I love haleem so much I have carted around precious, precious leftovers after a trip to Divan street in Chicago to bring back to Kansas City with me. Food poisoning be damned! I am alive to tell that tale. While I was tempted to cart back some leftovers to Kansas City again, I am now a MOTHER and must be more responsible. Damn ...........
Anyway, Friday we again got up at the butt crack of dawn and ate breakfast. X went to his conference and Arun and I headed out to Muir Woods and see some redwoods (double bonus: we had to drive over the Golden Gate bridge to get there). I have always wanted to see the redwoods from the time I first read about them as a little girl in one of my many amazing facts books. Can I just say that it always gives me goosebumps to realize a life long dream? (I felt the same way when I finally made it to Pompeii a few years ago and similarly when I went to the Winchester House last year). Since I had taken the time to drive all the way to Muir Woods, I took advantage of the time spent and headed on to Stinson Beach - it was virtually deserted save for a few hardcore surfers - it was pretty cold and had started to rain off and on to boot. On my way back, I cruised through Sausalito. Since I still had more time to kill before I needed to pick up X from his conference, when I got back to San Francisco, I meandered around Golden State Park and through Haight-Ashbury (frankly, I was disappointed to see a freakin’ GAP store at the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Come on!). I picked up X to take him back to the Oakland airport (long story VERY short - X and I had to go back different days because he needed to go on up to Seattle). That evening, Arun and I had a little adventure I like to call Paranoid Mommy (more about that later). The next morning, we walked around the neighborhood some more, had some great coffee and then headed back to the Oakland airport to catch our flight to Kansas City.
My Favorite sighting? A Yemeni mosque down the street was located just across the way from a clothing store called Felicity’s Fetiche (specializing in “sexy costumes and shoes”). I didn’t know who to feel more sorry for - the muslims or Felicity.
My Favorite WTF? moment? Arriving at the Museum of Modern Art at 9:55 am eagerly anticipating it to be open at 10:00am and finding out it didn’t open until 11:00am. Seriously - What the Fuck?
My Favorite storefront? I passed by a place called "Play Date - Doggy Style ". It took me more than a few moments to realize that it was a DOGGY DAY CARE and NOT some sort of adult entertainment venue.
My Favorite Feat of Motherhood? Nursing Arun while STANDING UP in the middle of Muir Woods. It had been raining, there was NO PLACE to sit and we were a good 45 minute walk into the forest. Eek.
My #2 Not-So Favorite Frightening Moment? While going to the airport on Friday to drop X off for his flight, Arun fell asleep in the car. He promptly woke up as soon as X exited the vehicle then proceeded to whimper and cry the entire drive back to San Francisco. I was patting his head and noticed he seemed awfully hot. Furthermore, he was whimpering, not screaming (his usual mode of communication). I convince myself that he must have a fever and spend the entire drive back to San Francisco in a panic. I finally get to the hotel, drop off the carseat at the front desk and hightail with Arun in my arms to a nearby drugstore. Of course, by this time, Arun is happy because I am holding him and we are out on the sidewalk (his favorite place) but NO, I am still convinced he is going to DIE with me by myself in strange city. Back in the hotel room, I take his temperature with our brand spankin' new thermometer and of course, he is just fine, albeit slightly pissed that we are back in the hotel room where it is BORING and not on the sidewalk where it is EXCITING. In my defense, Arun hasn't been sick yet so how the hell do I know what a fever feels like? Also, I discovered that when you think your baby is sick, you don't comparison shop and just grab shit off the shelves. I am now the owner of an expensive thermometor - which will nicely set off the other TWO I already own.
My #1 Not-So Favorite Frightening Moment? Lest you think I am some Kansas yokel in the Big City, let me preface this by stating that I was in the middle of an actual BIG CITY. There were sirens going off ALL THE TIME. While you don't exactly tune them out, you do become accustomed to them. So, I am crossing a crosswalk that has 3 lanes of traffic full of trucks, cars, etc. I am in a crowd. There are sirens going on - per usual. Suddenly, the crowd in front of me RUNS to the other side, I stop and a police car zooms past just mere feet away from my BABY. I was so FURIOUS AND FRIGHTENED at the same time. Because of the trucks and such, we couldn't even see the police car coming. The thought of it still makes my stomach queasy.
All in all, it was EXACTLY the trip I wanted. I wasn’t in the mood for touristy stuff - once, a cable car passed by crammed full of tourists and I was grateful I went off the beaten track. I wanted to just meander around with no agenda, take the time to sample some great coffee dives, AWESOME Pakistani food, and browse through some local shops. I must not have looked too out of place because someone actually stopped to ask me directions - as a tourist, I ALWAYS take that as a compliment. In a way, I needed to just wander around aimlessly without an agenda. It was comforting to sort out all the Crummy Crap that has happened these past 2 months. No, nothing devastating happened, but I think the fact that so many crummy things happened in such rapid succession that it left me reeling a bit. While I didn’t need to do any soul-searching, per se, I did need to gain a new perspective. Could I have done it in Kansas City? Of course! But going to San Francisco made it a bit easier. While my body is still SORE as hell from all the walking, packing, carrying, pushing, lugging, and rocking, overall I feel pretty good and ready to face Life again. I guess I just needed the fresh air and the fresh attitude.
Anyway - here are some snaps from the trip. I am going to title all the pics from our trips The Stroller Series, then sell the collection for millions. You just wait. Pure genius, I can feel it. No? I almost feel sorry for Arun that he has a childhood to look forward to that is chock full of cheesy, crappy pictures like these. Almost.
Yerba Buena Gardens