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Monday, July 03, 2006

Sunday in the City

Sunday Morning, on drive to San Francisco as entered frontage Road off Hwy 80 by Bay Meadows racetrack.

Claire, opening automatic car window: Wow! Feel the air is so cold!

Anna, putting hand out of window: Yes, it’s nice and AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

The shriek was because I had just rolled up the car window on Anna’s hand!

Anna started to laugh and cry all at once, tears streaming down her cheeks as she laughed her head off. I guess it was one of those you had to be there things. I apologized about 100 times and she told me to quit worrying about it 100 times. What a trooper! Anyway, that was the exciting start to our day in the most beautiful & vibrant cities in California, if not, North America.
We started off with a trip down memory lane, cruising past Anna’s childhood home. The last time we drove past the her house and found an empty shell of her former home – we had walked over the old facade, Anna pointing out where the stairs had been once-upon-a-time. But this time there was a house on the property that looked as if it had been in place for decades. The streets had names like Russia, Vienna, London, Paris, Naples, Lisbon and Madrid. Anna was raised in an International neighborhood - cute!
We toured Anna’s old haunts, like the school house. She used to walk to kindergarten by herself, from her first day of school on, when she was only four years old!

Anna's Elementary School

I was surprised to see so many corner Mom & Pop stores still operating there; a nice surprise.

Next we drove down along the Pier where the Sunday Farmer’s Market was in progress. We parked in the building lot at Ghirardelli Square so we could take a ride on the Cable Cars. Anna grew up in San Francisco but this was her first ride on the Cable Cars! That’s like me growing up in New York and never having been to the top of the Empire State Building.

We decided to disembark in China Town. The place feels like it is absolutely another country – the shops are like those in Tijuana Mexico, with cheap goods lined up in cluttered shop fronts, and the food marts have roasted ducks and dried fish on display. There is always one shop that grosses me out and this time it was a shop with a huge bin full of dried sea horses. Ugh!

We stopped at a little dim sum shop for lunch. The place was totally a taste of China, with menus in characters and the shop keepers barely speaking English. We had huge bowls of won-ton soup that was excellent – full of walnut sized won-tons, napa cabbage and oodles of noodles. I had a custard tart too – yum!

Here are the goodies at a bakery where Anna was able to buy lemon turnovers which cannot be had for love nor money in Everet Washington.

I had one of the fruit tarts – definitely on of the top ten pastries I’ve ever eaten; a chocolate bowl filled with light custard topped with glazed fresh fruit. If they sold stuff like this in Sacramento I’d be larger than a cable car myself.

We also toured Golden Gate Park and walked around at the lovely Grecian columns and lake of the Palace of Fine Arts, one of Anna’s favorites.

We ended the day with dinner at my favorite Bay Area restaurant, Skates on the Bay, where every meal I've ever had was primo and tonight was no exception. On the way out, a host lead a lady and gentleman; he carried a small sleeping child on his shoulder. Anna whispered, ‘Claire! He’s a movie star!’ I was all ‘huh?’ Looking around, clueless as usual. Anna pointed out the man. I stared at him from a distance of maybe three feet and no bells went off.

He was a movie star! Delroy Lindo who stared in movies like Cider House Rules and Get Shorty, both of which I have seen. If it wasn't for Anna I would never have recognized him! Wonder how many other stars I've seen without noticing?

Anyway, that was our exciting ending to a great day.