If we were sensible creatures, we would have slept in late, packed, grab lunch and head home. But although P and I are polar opposites in some aspects, we are equally clueless as to when to call it quits. It is a flaw we share, and not even SS's arrival has tempered that. Although we wanted to be home at a decent hour, we set out to give SS the 99¢ tour of San Francisco. Besides, we had valet parking until noon, so why not take advantage of it. We started just outside our hotel, in Chinatown. Sunshine began spreading his magic by choosing the steepest street for us to climb, while pushing 27 pounds of love. I was glad that P had the foresight to bring both the Hummer and the Sn00py stroller. While it seemed overkill at the time, it was a genius move. There is no way we could have navigated the crowded streets/sidewalks with the Hummer. I totally messed up by not bringing the Ergo, but at least we did not have to carry SS all the time. P commented that his arms hurt from yesterday and I was wondering why. I then realized that it was from holding SS and I was right. Even though I'm in lousy shape, I am used to schlepping our tiny bundle of squirming joy around.
Chinatown was quite the experience, as always, but this marked the first time we were in such a mass of beautiful Asian faces since China. We were there just for dinner in November 2008, a quickie stop. This time it was an interesting mixture of excitement and melancholy. And OMG, it was crowded, really crowded. People were lining up everywhere for the many drawings being held. We browsed through some of the shops and just walked around, soaking it all in. My normal social anxiety did not hit me as strongly as it usually does. Funny, because an outing at an amusement park sends me reeling, and I hang on to P for dear life. The guy's hand is usually numb and bruised by the end of the day. Maybe it was the setting or maybe it was that my focus was on SS, but no panic moments. SS did well because she was low on the stroller and did not have to contend with facing people.
We debated whether to have lunch in Chinatown. P had read in the hotel magazine about one of the 100 places to eat before one dies. I had no idea such a list existed. Since we are lemmings, we just had to leap right in. A place that caught his eye was a Vietnamese sandwich shop. I had wanted to try bánh mì for a while, but was not sure about dealing with finding parking again. But since we are not the sensible type, we nixed lunch in Chinatown and drove to Little Saigon. The sandwich shop is small, and there were quiet a few people lining up (picture in post below). Their menu is very simple, and the two women behind the counter run a tight ship, asking people for their orders no matter how far back in the queue they are. Think of them as a very polite version of the The Soup N@zi.
I had bánh mì gà (chicken) and SS and P had bánh mì thịt (roasted pork). Not only are the women efficient but those sandwiches were simply delicious (see picture of SS having a bite on post below). I wish I had known that they use jalapeños, as I quickly discovered after my second bite. I am a wimp when it comes to spicy hot food and they add a lot of peppers. I quickly removed the offending peppers and at least my sinuses were cleared. Thankfully, SS did not bite into a pepper before my discovery. Although P and I both love cilantro (coriander) we had never had it in a sandwich. Let me tell you, we are rectifying that omission from now on. And get this, only $3 per yummy sandwich. Saigon Sandwich is on our must list now.
Nice lunch out of the way we drove to Pier 39 in search of SS's name in Chinese calligraphy style. We bought ours in 2000, and were hoping for hers to match ours. We struck out in that respect, but purchased two, her name and her first name. I need to ask JJ, but I think his match ours and I think we bought it for him during an amazing day spent there 14 years ago. I don't recall when we were last there, but the place has certainly changed. We walked around for a while, waited for SS's names and headed home, content and tired. We arrived in time not to watch the Winter Olympics closing ceremonies. We fed SS and P crashed and burned shortly after that. SS did her hyper thing and I had to use tough love (telling her in a stern manner that the T@z Devil imitation was over) to get her to sleep.
SS was totally into this instrument (forgot the name, invented eons ago in Persia, or was it Prussia?). When the guy finished his song, he received a very enthusiastic "YEAH!" from SS. He returned the favor by playing two Irish jigs and the alphabet song for his tiny enthusiast.
SS was beyond excited when she saw Sponge Bob Square Bloomers, but when we took her out of the stroller for a photo op, she decided to be thirteen and concentrated on her corn dog. Have we mentioned how much we are looking forward to her adolescent tude?
Right after this picture was taken a %$&*^#@* seagull took SS's corn dog right out of her hand. It really shook SS and she was a bit of a mess after that.
This dude really scared SS (as if she needed more traumatizing), but it did not stop her from accepting the lollipop he gave her. That is, he gave it to me to bring to her.
We wish we could claim that we finally coaxed a beautiful smile from SS, but she was playing with a little girl. What the heck, a beautiful smile is a beautiful smile.