Sunday, August 8, 2010

American As, Part One

Did you pick up on the clues and vagueness? Most people who need to know already know by now that I am back in the States since I surprised them with the news in person. I arrived in Maryland on the evening of 3 August, but I got to the States on 29 July and spent a few days in San Francisco before heading east.

I couldn't tell anyone that I was going to be in San Fran because I knew they'd rightly assume that I'd be home sooner rather than later. So only two people knew anything ahead of time: V (because she lives in upstate NY and I knew I wouldn't be able to just pop in on her as a surprise) and Will (because he lives there and kind of needed the heads up). Although Will's only been there for about a month, I left the planning up to him because I was a ball of stress (and excitement!) like you wouldn't believe. He'd email me every now and then asking how I felt about a particular sight or activity, but that's about it.

So Will picked me up from the airport and proceeded to tell me that he'd planned an all-American Welcome-Home-to-the-US weekend. Awesome! On Friday we headed to Great America in Santa Clara for some amusement and water park fun. (The first picture I posted the other day was of the oddly Australian themed water park, Boomerang Bay. Sneaky, eh?) That night we drove to Santa Cruz and hit the boardwalk. It was a typical, mid-size city's boardwalk complete with carnival style rides, corn dogs, popcorn, and arcade games. Originally Will wanted us to go to the beach in Santa Cruz on Saturday, but we both ended up getting more sun at the amusement park than we'd bargained for. Instead we opted for a movie and hours at a bookstore, plus just some general laying around laziness.

By Sunday we finally made it to San Fran. The American-ness of the weekend continued with a baseball game at AT&T Park, SF Giants vs. LA Dodgers. We had excellent seats 11 rows back from the field. But guess what? It's pretty chilly in San Francisco, even on the first day of August! We were wearing jeans and hoodies and it still wasn't enough. The Giants ended up beating LA which also meant that they swept them in the series, so the fans were in good moods despite the weather (although, I'm sure they're used to it and it was just us having a hard time grasping that we were watching baseball in August and were cold doing it).

(Before we had to put on the hoodies)
Will had to go back to work on Monday, so I was on my own for the day. I went to Chinatown and Union Square, and got photos of cable cars and crazy steep San Fran streets, but I was feeling particularly low energy and only spent a couple of hours out and about before deciding to head back to the hostel to take it easy while I waited for Will to get out of work. He returned around 3:30pm and the plan was to hit a bunch of tourist spots since it was my last night in town. First up was pictures of Alcatraz from the top of one of those crazy steep streets. Then it was Fisherman's Wharf and the resident seals. We wandered into an old timey arcade and then went to Joe's Crab Shack for beers and crab nachos (which were actually a lot better than I expected). After stopping to take a picture that ToadMama would love (and a few others, too, for good measure), we headed to Lombard St., the world's crookedest street, having eight switchback turns in a single block. To round out and wrap up the day, we planned to park the car nearby and walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. And here's the big secret that you may or may not know about San Francisco and it's most famous bridge: it's usually completely covered in fog. It's true, it is. We actually got to a spot where Will pointed and said "there's the bridge" and I literally couldn't see even an outline of what might be a bridge. I figured it was getting late, we'd seen enough for the day, and I could always return to Cali to see the GGB another time.

That's pretty much my time in California in a nutshell and I think Will did a good job of making it "all-American." I told him jokingly that the only thing missing was apple pie. :-)

If you happen to be wondering about the logistics of the travel and how I managed to keep it all a secret, well, stay tuned for American As, Part Two.


  1. We will go to a warm game next time. Maybe the Orioles at the end of August. :)

  2. But then it'll be *too* hot. :-)