Thursday, February 11, 2010


Chinese New Year starts on Saturday.

As a special treat, Nate's class went to Chinatown on Tuesday, to see the sights as they prepared the neighbourhood for the festivities, and to experience the culture.

We started at Portsmouth Square. Behind Nate's back here, there's a patina covered fence, and that marks the original boundary of the San Francisco Bay. The water used to come right up to that railing, and the ships would unload on the Portsmouth Docks. This was the beginnings of Chinatown. Today, there are blocks and blocks of city before you hit the water.

We hiked up the hill, past busy, bustling markets...

... and incredible outdoor wall murals.

The kids got an earful of "authentic city streets" when we stopped in a quiet spot in front of a bank for the teacher to give the kids a little talk about what took place in the vicinity, and a homeless person nearby decided we were infringing on her turf, and, lunged at the kids, screaming "Get the F*** out of Dodge!!!!!". Ahem... Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good photo of her. Imagine an overweight Minnie Pearl with heavily black-rimmed eyes, black lips and one tooth.

We moved on.

In Ross Alley (the oldest alley in the city), we stopped in at a little store...

...where we watched the old machinery make the cookies, one by one.

I paid fifty cents because I wanted a record of this:

I felt like I got my money's worth because they also gave out free samples. Yum!

Then we stopped at a bakery, which I hope I can find again, because they gave us piping hot egg custards! They were DIVINE!

Yeah, yeah, it was an uncharacteristically hot and sunny day in San Francisco. We got lucky. It was supposed to be pouring with rain. I'm not complaining.

We stopped in at a temple, but it was a No Camera sort of place, so this is all I got:

Then it was time for the most incredible "school lunch", at Four Seas. I couldn't believe all the food we got for eight bucks a head.

There was a TON of food to pack up in take-away boxes for supper. Yum.

Everywhere, they are getting ready for Chinese New Year, and there are decorations going up, and wet paint signs, and trucks delivering orange trees, and red and gold signs.

I think we'll go back next week during midwinter break, so we can get another taste of the fun. Nate wants to show Kelly all the sights.

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