September 18th, 2006


Parents are tiring (but fun)

My parents came for a visit this weekend and last weekend (in between they went north and checked out Napa). I planned and carried out all kinds of entertaining activities for their edification and delight:

* Mountain View tour on Saturday; we were just going to go downtown and walk around a bit, look at the restaurants, maybe window-shop and look at the park by the library, but we discovered when we got there that the main street was blocked off and there was no parking for kilometers because the Art and Wine Festival had occupied the place. So we went to Trader Joe's instead, and got them all checked in at the hotel, and then walked down to the Festival, which was HUGE compared to what I would have expected. There were lots of very pretty art-type objects of various sorts, and many interesting foodstuffs, some of which came in free samples.

* Dinner with randomly-selected portion of local social circle; went surprisingly well, especially considering that we wound up with small units of two-four people who hadn't previously met the other units at all. Score one for Geek Social Fallacy #4!

* A visit to the Exploratorium with andres_s_p_b's uncle's family; the Exploratorium part proper didn't get started until around 2:00, so we didn't have enough time to play with everything. We will have to go back, because fun! toys! everywhere! And, um, some education too, mostly in tiny snippets of whatever Andres could explain to his youngest cousin before she'd figured out where all the buttons on device X were, pushed them, determined that there was no fire, and run off to check the next thing. (She likes fire.)

* A walk in the Presidio before the museum; we went all the way from the Palace of Fine Arts at one end to Fort Mason at the other, tucked up just under the Golden Gate Bridge, and then back. Then we had lunch at this nifty little salad-oriented place called Pluto's.

* This Saturday, a Chinatown walking tour with the City Guides; pretty interesting, although there was a lot of standing up against walls trying to stay out of the way of the foot traffic while the guide was pointing out interesting architectural or historical tidbits. It felt a bit odd to be pretty much the only clump of white people in Chinatown, getting lectured about the area by another white person. We got fortune cookies. My parents also got fortune cookies, and then decided they didn't want to bring them on the plane, so now we have lots of fortune cookies. Clearly there is a party in our future....

* More exploration of San Francisco, focusing on the more touristy bits (parental thumbs-up: sea lions; thumbs-down: the rest of the whole Fisherman's Wharf / Pier 39 area -- too crowded) and stopping for lunch at The Stinking Rose. I have now eaten garlic ice cream and can die happy. :)

* A walk in Muir Woods on Sunday; very pleasant, although we wound up having to leave the car quite far from the park entrance and therefore had a rather longer hike than we were expecting (if you check the map, we wound up going up the Deer Park Fire Road and then back down the Dipsea Trail due to a navigational error; that's quite a bit of elevation change and we were a bit walked-out after Saturday anyway).