Day 13 of Trip to Land of Choice
July 7, 2010

We have settled it now – it is fog and not cloud. The tour guide today said you only get it in the summer months and it never rains. The weather was exactly the same today as yesterday – about as cold but maybe slightly less windy. The sun tried to peak out a few times but never really came through with any force.

We had another late start today. I eventually got tired of being awake alone and so woke up Helen and the kids at 9am. It turns out the kids were awake to after 12 last night! Hopefully they will get to sleep a little earlier tonight. We had walked past Ihop (International House of Pancakes) yesterday and already designated that as the place for breakfast. We couldn’t come to the USA and not have breakfast at Ihop and so that is where we headed. Of course there is a myriad of possible choices of breakfast – pancakes of all sorts, with or without eggs, bacon etc. They had a special on – kids eat free with any adult purchasing a breakfast off their main menu so Chloe got her breakfast at cost. She had the kid’s pancakes with scrambled egg and bacon. She had 5 pancakes sort of the size of a flapjack. It would have been enough for me actually. The rest of us had pancakes of some sort or another. Helen and Michael had chocolate chip pancakes and they each got 4 and only ate 2. IHop seems to be more health conscious as they kindly put the calories of all the breakfasts on the menu so you can see how much of your daily allowance you are consuming on breakfast. One of the breakfasts (the steak, egg & pancake option) was your entire days allowance in one sitting! Not surprisingly we were all full afterwards and lunch became incidental.

After breakfast we strolled past some of the shops and headed for Barnes & Noble (a US bookstore). We did some browsing but ended up purchasing a whole lot of DVDs as they had a buy 2 get 1 free deal running. We did a bit more shopping and then headed back to the hotel to watch the soccer – Uruguay v Netherlands. After watching the game the plan was to catch another tour (we had a multi-day ticket) that took us west and then north and over the Golden Gate bridge. It took us through the some of the wealthy suburbs of SF. Small, semi-detached houses go for between $1m and $2m (and I mean small). We then headed over the Golden Gate Bridge and on the Northern side we stopped for a few minutes to take some photos back towards SF. As you already know it was foggy so not the best view or photos but still quite impressive. The tour then continued on into the town of Sausalito. The price of these homes is slightly higher and you can see it not only from the houses (some of which were massive) but also by the Ferrari’s, Porsche’s & Mercedes parked outside. In fact the poorer homes only had a Mercedes parked outside. We had a 10 minute stopover and then we headed back across the bridge and back to SF. The wind was blowing so hard (open top bus of course) that I couldn’t keep my cap on and in fact could hardly keep my face on. I had to close my mouth otherwise I might have expanded up like a balloon and floated off the bus. My face felt like it was getting a workout.

When we got back everyone wanted something to drink to warm up and we ended up at Ben & Jerry’s again. Michael had a milkshake and the others had Warm Shakes while I had an Espresso. It was late afternoon already so we came back to the room and the inevitable happened – Helen fell asleep. Eventually at 6:30pm we got a call from Chloe saying she was starving and in fact so was I and we agreed to leave for dinner at 7pm. We found a local Italian restaurant on the Pier and had another good meal. Helen had a Crabmeat Pizza – only in SF have I ever seen that. There was so much crab on it that Helen couldn’t finish eating it. After dinner we all felt like a walk to get the food settled and so we walked along the Pier and popped into a few stores as we walked. Stephen (the frugal family member) has managed to buy two T-shirts for $4.99 each which is (quite honestly) ridiculously cheap.

And that was the day. A nice relaxing day especially since we know we have a full day tomorrow (with the trip to Alcatraz) and then early up on Thursday as well to catch the first of 3 flights to get home. We have had some amusing moments so far that are worth sharing. The first was in St Louis when Stephen flatly denied that the only pair of shoes in the room were his. He said they looked like his and they were the right size but the tread was different. As no one else had the same shoes or size the rest of us quickly figured out that they were Stephen’s shoes. He might still be denying it but that is just so we can rag him a little more about it. Helen then dreamt that my parents set her up to meet the Pope. Mom & Dad – Helen wants to know why on earth you arranged for her to visit the Pope and whether you have converted to Roman Catholicism. The worst thing is that she never got to meet him because when she arrived he was too busy playing with a skull! What is amazing is that she shared this with us (I would have quite frankly kept quiet). The on the evening of the fireworks in SF (that would be July 4), Michael comes in from outside and proudly says someone left there drink outside and so I brought it in for them. Everyone said they had their drinks and so we quickly figured out that it was actually Michael’s drink! So you can see, that leaves two sane people in the family only – Chloe and me! Please remember us around the loonies….

Until tomorrow.

P & C H, S & M and the loonies (H, S & M P & C)

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