Monday morning dawned exactly as it should in the Bay Area: foggy. This delighted me no end because I believe that one's first view of San Francisco should be of it shrouded in mist.
We wandered around City Light Books for a while (I bought The Naked Lunch, a couple of book bags and a bumper sticker that reads "Howl if you love City Light Books"). I totally neglected to take a picture of The Child in front of that noble institution. But I got these:
We started down the street and she decided that sushi for lunch would be a good idea. It was fabulous.
We poked our way through Chinatown, The Child in search of appropriate souvenirs.
"Oh," I know," I said. "It's just that I was there when I was 10 and I have such vivid memories. I was hoping to show it to her".
"Yeah," he said, kindly. "But now it's just a nice shopping district with some good restaurants. I'm not sure it's worth it".
And under the circumstances, it really wasn't. Sometimes things are best left safe in memory. It probably would have vaguely depressed me to see the Haight all gussied up and gentrified.
So I got The Spouse a "Summer of Love" tshirt and that was that.
The Child and I hopped on a cable car and jerked our way down Powell St. toward Fisherman's Wharf. Now, generally speaking, I'm not a fan of sprawling tourist joints like that, but the day was fine and you could smell the sea. And The Child, being an inveterate shopper, was in heaven. We had an excellent time and took photos of fat pigeons and of the Golden Gate bridge, which could only vaguely be discerned through the fog that still hovered over the bay. None of them turned out.
The line for the return cable car was ridiculously long and we would still have a long walk to the bus station after that so after conferring with concierges and a very nice woman hawking happy hour outside a bar, The Child put her taxi-hailing skills to work and we got back to the bus station in record, comfortable time.
It was rush hour and I needed to confirm we were in fact standing on the correct line for our return trip. An extremely nice woman in front of us verified this and then asked where we were going. Turns out, it was her stop, too. "Just watch me. When I get up you'll know to get off". So we did.
Back home, The Child gave The Hat and I a fashion show of all her purchases, then I followed Dana's directions to a Chinese restaurant he'd recommended. The prospects were good. The place was full of Asian diners, many of them speaking actual Chinese. Always a good sign. I waited for our take-out and had a pleasant chat with another customer, a woman who'd just moved to Alameda from Seattle.
You know the old adage, "Hunger is the best sauce?" The person who coined that phrase must have once had a similar meal. The BBQ pork was fabulous and the mu shu was acceptable, but the pancakes were stale, the spring rolls were filled with what appeared to be chicken noodle soup and the two chicken dishes were by turns bland (Szechuan chicken bland? How is that even possible?) and cloying (sweet and sour...what would you expect?). Not the meal we were expecting and I can only assume it had to have been a very off-night.
But despite the less than spectacular meal, we were all happy and content. We cuddled up on the couch and watched "Big", while I checked my cell phone, hoping for a message from Danny. We were supposed to have lunch with him the next day but hadn't yet heard from him. We went to bed with our fingers crossed.