Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back in the USA 2008

Before I started yet another epic trip, the Girls and I headed to the beach for a last walk. Gorgeous conditions again and both girls were extremely playful. Tilly a bit too playful as she slammed into me at full speed, hitting me in the thigh and dropping me to my knees. It was a good hit and I have a remarkable bruise there still.

I landed in San Francisco on the 27th June after another long journey. The flights were OK, nothing out of the ordinary unless you count truly terrible in-flight movies on both 10 hour legs. But I had books and even managed to kind of nap for a little bit of them. Tokyo airport is still pretty boring, even with the expansion and renovations. On the upside, I didn’t have to change terminals between my Qantas and Japan Airlines flights, so I was able to go straight to the room I had reserved. Being able to get into somewhere quiet and away from the masses really makes the travel portion of vacation much more pleasant!

Mom picked me up at the airport and we had lunch before hitting the shops. My goal was to shop for some essentials since I discovered I only owned a single pair of shorts that were suitable for anything but work! It was nice to stroll around and just generally move after 35 hours of doing not much.

It was Pride week in San Francisco, so Mom and I headed into the city for the parade on Saturday. We took the train up and it was totally painless – much better than attempting to drive!

There were, as you’d expect, about a gazillion people heading for the city and the parade, but once we got onto Market St there was room to spread out and it wasn’t too crazy. Not to say that there weren’t the usual crazy people around, but for the most part it wasn’t too overwhelming for this little duck who thinks two cars at a stop sign is “busy”!

We were both a bit surprised at the parade itself. It’s been an annual event for years but it seems like there may still be some kinks in the actual execution. Dykes on Bikes led the parade off and there were 100s of bikes of all descriptions ridden by women of all descriptions.

But once they were past, there was a long lull until the next entrants showed up – like five or ten minutes of purely empty streets! This cycle repeated itself between almost every section of the parade, at least for the first hour or so. Gave us plenty of time to look around and talk without worrying that we were missing something; also gave us plenty of time to get into good viewing positions for the next thing!

Cyndi Lauper was one of the Grand Marshall’s. She had her own camera out and was taking photos of the crowd and got up and danced in the back of the car to the rythms of the band behind her until a handler came over and had a word to her. She’s beautiful, but we couldn’t help noticing that she looked like she really wasn’t feeling that well.

Her car was decorated with the same “under the sea” balloons that my favourite parade group had – I adored the sea horses..how cool are they?!

And what would a parade be without people dressing the doggies up?

Mom and I wandered around downtown for a bit, had lunch and then made our way back to the train. The train only runs once an hour on the weekends and of course we missed it, so we strolled back up the road and had a cold beer as we watched the world go by until the next train. It was a really lovely day and being able to just relax and spend time with Mom was exactly what I wanted to do.

We did a lot of shopping – did someone say shoes? You know I just can’t resist and everything was on SALE! So I have a couple of new pairs. I don’t want to do the TMI thing or offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities, but I got so fed up trying to shop for new, shall we say, undergarments, that I said “let’s just go to a professional fitter” so we ended up at Nordstrom’s. It was actually a very good experience and I’m glad we did it – much less traumatic than trying to wade through 1000 choices on my own, if a tad pricier! Definitely worth it, though, as we were in and out and DONE! Yippppeee!

Eating, talking, strolling, laughing and just generally hanging out pretty much summed up what we did. We did break out the boxes and boxes of old family photos and we did do an initial cull and sort...more or less. We also made a pile that I’m going to scan while back at Dad’s this summer – the start of a new project for me!

We rewarded our hard work with a margarita and Xmen movie marathon (OK, just the first two because they were on sale at Walmart!)

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