It seems that Tawn’s socks were the highlight of my last entry!
After five nights in the Bay Area, I’ve returned to Kansas City for a final two nights before heading back to Khrungthep. Family events were so time-consuming that even waking up at 5 am each morning didn’t give me enough time to do an entry about the post-wedding happenings.
Since we didn’t stay at the wedding banquet that late on Saturday, we were all up early Sunday morning. It was a leisurely morning with lots of coffee, everyone except my grandmother and nieces checking the internet, and Tawn and Emily watching Playhouse Disney together, below.
About 10:00 we piled into the cars and headed to Wat Mongkolwatanaram, the Thai Buddhist temple on Russel Street in Berkeley. Their Sunday market offers some of the best Thai food in the Bay Area and an interestingly diverse (very Berkeley) crowd.
Dick, Sandy, Michael, and Sara joined us, making a crowd of about twenty – quite a feat to get everyone fed. Tawn and I ran around ordering, placing my father and Kevin in line as place holders as we ordered from other counters.
This time, unlike my previous visit in September, my attempts to speak Thai were much more warmly received. Tawn said that the unfriendly lady wasn’t there, which makes all the difference in the world.
Right: Carl and my father talking in front of the temple.
The most popular dish was the black and white sticky rice with mango. The curries were well-received and only the minced pork stir-fried with green beans was deemed a little to spicy for some people to handle. Personally, I thought it was pretty bland.
After lunch we went upstairs to the main sanctuary, where I was hoping the monks would be available to do a blessing for my family. Unfortunately we were a bit late and they were upstairs eating their final meal of the day. However, a farang member of the temple – the husband of one of the Thai ladies downstairs – told us a little about the history of the temple and there were small booklets that explained the concepts of nibpan (nirvana) is English. I had never seen these before but it definitely helps the temple be more visitor friendly in more ways than just serving food. This is important since the main purpose of the temple is to spread the word about the dhamma to people.
Sunday afternoon we held an open house for friends and family. A small selection of Italian foods were catered and Bill brought over a roasted pig as a gift from his family – apparently it is a Chinese tradition for the groom’s family to give a roasted pig to the bride’s family after the wedding? I think Alex is worth a bit more than that, but who am I to quibble?
Left: Tawn poses with the pig, whose head we eventually covered to avoid freaking Emily out. Right: Bill, a true barbecue man, made quick work with the knife to cut the pig into bite size pieces.
Above: Ryan and Sabrina discover the lemon tree in the backyard, which allows Ryan to display yet another talent which Sabrina never knew he had: juggling! Below: Albert stopped by later in the afternoon after volunteering at the Haas-Lilienthal house and spending time at Sydney’s birthday in San Francisco.
Above: Anita and Paul both made it to the party. Tawn’s been staying at Paul’s house while he’s still in SF and Wednesday night the three of them met for dinner.
Sunday evening we just rested at home, too full from too much eating!
Columbus Day morning traffic was light. Jenn, Kevin, Emily, Tawn, Kari and my mother loaded into the minivan and I piloted us into San Francisco for a day of doing touristy things. It is always interesting to revisit your home as a tourist.
Left: Waiting for the F-Market train at Stockton and Third Streets. Right: Emily and Jennifer watch the sea lions at Pier 39, perhaps the highlight of Emily’s day. Below: The cousins – Jennifer, Kari, me and Tawn.
Afterwards, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf and ate lunch at the Boudin’s Bakery restaurant – clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls! Below: Tawn and I with a display of breads including a turtle loaf and an alligator loaf. (Or is it a crocodile loaf?)
Above: Jenn, Kevin and Kari cross the street in front of the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf sign.
In the afternoon we went to the Hyde Street Pier and then took a break at Aquatic Park so Emily could play on the beach. This funny series of photos captures Jennifer’s response at her daughter’s slightly-too-big britches:
From Aquatic Park it was an easy next step to ride the cable cars up to Market Street, where we had parked the van. Emily was beginning to drag at this point, but Tawn, Kari and I had a fun time riding on the sideboard. I can recall riding the cable car as a young child (about Emily’s age, in fact) with my grandparents and women were not allowed to ride on the sideboard.
We drove back over to Ghirardelli Square (yes, backtracking) including a descent on Lombard Street and some squealing tires as we went up and down some of the steeper blocks in the city, much to Emily’s delight. We topped off the afternoon with sundaes:
Above left: Me in front of the demonstration of how chocolate is made. Right: My mother with a butterscotch sundae. Below: Emily’s day ends with a cherry on top.