Waking up well before sunrise on Orlando’s 2nd birthday, we piled into Uncle Steven’s taxi, butterflies in our tummies fluttering as we made the trip to the Adelaide airport. A little convincing is needed to get the girls at the ticket desk to book our luggage through to Los Angeles, but we assure them it is possible, + we board for the short flight to Brisbane without too much hassle. Orlando seems to take it all in stride, sure, buckle up! Orlando makes Nana turn the overhead lights on + off a million times. . . Here we go! Up + down again pretty quick as the sun makes his appearance, hop to the international terminal + onto the biiiig jet. These seats have plenty of buttons + a screen each, much to O’s amusement. Catch a nap while we wait for lunch to come around, + the day zips by as we push East over the ocean.
>>>follow on. . . >>>
‘lando is incredulous when we tell him we’re flying, ‘You joke me!’ he says. Although there are some two dozen movies available on the in-flight thingy, O doesn’t like the headphones, + feels rather like some Pinocchio (“Clocks movie”) on the lappy, which the people behind us peek at through the seats. As the International Date Line resets us back to Orlando’s Birthday (Extended Mix), everyone drifts in + out of sleep except me, I can’t seem to, so I read until the sun starts to come up again + breakfast comes around. We show Orlando the clouds below us + it seems to click that yes, we’re way up in the sky. Then we’re passing down into a gray haze + next thing we know, we’re stumbling out the door into LAX, The Airport That Time Forgot.
We skirt through customs, but have to waste the time we saved while the airline tries to figure out which elevator they put the stroller on. Rush to check the next baggage check, where we only just make the cutoff for checking baggage. The service agent hastily tags our bags, which will haunt us shortly. . . passing back through security into the domestic terminal is a joke – how is we’re still taking off our shoes? I got into the country ok without removing them. . . by this time, Orlando is an old hand at airports + airplanes, he patiently proceeds to the gate + takes his seat, introducing himself to everyone around us. He grins excitedly as we taxi + lift off, then promptly passes out.
Landing in San Francisco airport, we are unable to locate Robyn’s luggage. They tell us it will be on the next flight up, + we’re welcome to wait an hour + a half for it. Na, just deliver it to us. We catch the Bay Area Rapid Transit across the Bay where our friend + gracious host Chris is waiting for us.
Orlando + Chris get on like a house on fire (old chums from back in the day when Chris + Tripper Monkey came to visit last November) , + it is my understanding that they will be forming a 2-man band, we’ll keep you posted on the tour dates.
Oakland/Berkeley is deliciously warm + still has a lot of spring bloom hanging around, much to O’s delight.
Without too much delay, we dump our gear at Chez Lasell + rock up College to visit the toy store where I used to work + especially, the tasty taquerÃa where I used to go on my lunch breaks – BLACK BEANS + SALSA VERDE!! ahhh. Cheers for being exactly the same six years on, La Cascada. Dropping by Sweet Dreams Toys, I get blasted with the air gun (ta, Kevin) + Orlando scores a birthday balloon. We meander back to Chris’ for a little R&R + to chase up Robyn’s luggage, which will take two more days to turn up (+ only after *we* figure out they put the tags on willy-nilly + have been looking for a tag we already have).
Chris has set up quite the microbrewery in the back of his place, + it’s been waaay too long since I had a nice IPA, so Chris’ “Help yourself!” is music to my ears, or maybe that was just Orlando practicing his chops –
For dinner we visit Barclays on the corner, + I ask the staff if they can scrounge up two candles to stick in the dessert brownie, + they happily oblige, one-upping that as the whole pub joins in for a rousing Happy Birthday To You, much to ‘lando’s wide-eyed surprise. Blow out the candles + you’re officially 2, buddy – make a wish!
The next day is slow going, gorging ourselves on strawberries when we aren’t sitting blissed out in sunshine. We eventually drag ourselves across the Bay to visit a gallery Aurelia is interested in (I’ll have to bug her later to post a link to it), as well as to just immerse ourselves in a bit of downtown nonsense as only San Francisco can provide. Back at Chez Lasell, we make plans to head over to Emeryville the next day (Robyn’s birthday!) to catch a Sunday matinee Up + then visit Pixar itself for the Especial Chris Tour;
Of course, the best bits are in the photo-restricted area, but the whole place is full of awesome. All of the prototype mock-ups for Up were on display, including a lot of neat miniature modeling. Naturally, all the workspaces were decked out like kids’ rooms, it’s kind of a wonder they get any work done there at all. That night our friend Bethany + her partner drop by for a visit, + we gorge ourselves on Chris’ homemade strawberry shortcake.
For our last day in the Bay Area, we BART back over to San Francisco, visiting the SF Museum of Modern Art, hanging out in the Yerba Buena Gardens, raiding the Gama-Go Factory Outlet for mad treasure, + then finally wandering over to the Castro + then up the hill into Noe Valley to visit Marv & Ardy, who are housesitting in a beautiful house with an incredible view of downtown SF (we snapped a pic but the camera couldn’t see through the Bay mist).
We stayed up late packing so we could take it a little easier in the morning. Chris was off to work so we said our goodbyes, planning to take BART to the Oakland airport, but Chris’ lovely neighbor Ingrid meets us outside + offers to give us a lift. This turns out to be even more of a boon than expected â€“ our flight has been canceled (x_x) + we’re being shuttled to San Jose, but we land the last of 7 seats available on the new flight, so if we’d rocked up any later we’d have been waiting for hours. THANK YOU INGRID!!1
Right back into his flight routine, O introduces himself to the people around us, excitedly settles into his seat for takeoff, gets that weird grin as we lift off, then promptly passes out for the remainder of the flight.
Next stop: Portland, Oregon!
so awesome. 10 days…which is even better.
It was so fantastic to see you! I hope we don’t wait another 7 years!
No kidding! Naturally, you’ll let us know if you’re ever on our side of the ocean. . . 😉