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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Condensed soup of a summer

up until i left for San Francisco it didn’t really seem like summer around here. well actually, it still doesn’t totally, given that every day it has rained, even when they called for clear sunny skys, we still got a mini-thunderstorm. but when we returned, even at 1am, it was hotter in Toronto than it had been the whole time in SF. it was humid and muggy and i thought to myself, finally its summer!

it has been a rather condensed summer though. we went up to a cottage on the Civiv Holiday long weeknd for four days, to partake in a softball tournament. i learned i am no good at softball. i finally got to go swimming and my bikini finally got some time away from my closet. i even got attacked by a bat, he flew almost right into my face… twice. and the mosquitoes attempted to feast on me, but alas were no match for my fast reaction time and killer slaps.

with the heat came the realization that not having AC sucks. so me and my mom ran off to Dufferin Mall to bask in the air-conditioned glory (not a whole lot of shopping there).

we came back just in time to celebrate my birthday. i spent the day asleep in the park, gorging on cupcakes and fruit. and of course some delicious barbeque, because what is a day in the park without some good food? got an awesome iPod touch for my birthday too.

of course, i went on a freebie birthday hunt. free lip gloss (from Aerie, and Sephora), free drink at Starbucks. not a big haul, but still good.

then came the weekend of The Taste of the Danforth, Mike came to town just for the occassion. we walked and we walked and then we ate and ate some more. we decided to try kangaroo burgers. its a bit of a sweeter meat. but still delicious. and then for dessert, of course we had baklava. mine was drenched in honey, so much so that it was literally pouring down my arm, and i was leaving a big sticky puddle in the pavement. Mike was complaining that his backpack was heavy, so we got some free helium filled balloons and tied them to his back, to no avail of course, but it was still entertaining. at the end of the night he gave me his balloons, so i was stuck walking around with 6 balloons tied to my bag, i looked like a crazy lady. (my kitten, popped one and got scared and hid under the rug)

the next day i returned to the Danforth and ate an entire quail. not that impressive, given its no bigger than a pigeon. but way more delicious. and i had my beloved rum balls. still the best rum balls around.

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Posted by on August 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

San Francisco Day 5

Day 5- Mon. July 27

                I learned
a late lesson on our last day: Starbucks IS cheaper in the States (I was led
wrong by a Starbucks in the airport) and sweeter too. Starbucks also got us
kicked off the trolley that we were going to take downtown to get to the
airport. So instead we had to walk, uphill, and very fast because we miscalculated
just how much time it would take us to get to the airport, given that from
downtown we still had about a half hour ride on the BART. Another lesson
learned: San Francisco is the worst city to be late in; procrastinators and
lolly-gaggers beware. We had just missed the BART train to the airport and had
to (in agony) wait 15 minutes (agony because of how late we were).The huge
line-ups at the airport were not much help, given we had about 20 minutes to
check-in, get my baggage (filled with precious 2L of Cherry Dr Pepper and
California wine) checked and board the plane. To our rescue there were some
self-check-in kiosks, but they were for boarding passes only, no luggage. So we
frantically looked around for anyone who could help us, and the guy just told
us to cut in line and I quickly realized he meant the line for the
self-check-in for luggage, which had been right beside the boarding pass only
kiosk. Another lesson learned. We ran like the people in Home Alone and made it
with no time to spare (meaning no time to grab food) only to find out that our flight
was delayed because of heavy storms in Texas which is where our layover was. So
we did have time to find food.

All that rushing and we now had
time to kill, we settled for the first food place we found and it was gross. My
$10 burger tasted like crap, it was dry and bland and so not filling. We continued
on through the airport in search of flight-snacks. In that search I unexpectedly
found some Keebler food, a brownie to fill my cravings. Alas, there wasn’t much
else selection, it sucked really. On our way back to the gate I saw a guy about
to fall into the same burger trap I had fallen into, I felt like running over
in slow-motion and smacking it out of his hand while yelling “Noooooo…” and
then him getting all mad and then me saying, “Trust me, it was for your own
good,” and him still being mad at me and then biting into it and making a face
much like the one I made. And then he would look down sheepishly and thank me. Maybe
even call me his hero. Our plane on the way back was a 747 and was roomier and
bigger and in general better, I even got a pillow! There was free music playing
out of the arm rest if you plugged in your headphones and we found of that they
served Sierra Mist and Dr Pepper on the flight. The icing on the cake was that
the in-flight movie was 17 Again, and it was awesome, as was my greasy Keebler
brownie.

When we arrived in Fort Worth we
had to run again like mad, because we only had about 10 minutes to catch our
connecting flight home. Impeding our way was the stupid design of the DFW
airport. We had to take the LRT which actually circles the massive parking lot!
When we got to the section of the airport we decided to double-check that the
gate was still the same one the captain had told us, and it wasn’t it had changed.
Thankfully it was just in the next section, a 2 minute run. We arrived at the
gate just in time, out of breath, panting, and of course I was hungry again. Not
to mention the whole time we were running I was wondering if my luggage would
keep up with me, or if we missed the flight would my luggage have made and it
be waiting for me? Or lost somewhere in the abyss? I must’ve thought of every
imaginable possibility for an adventurous trip my luggage could’ve potentially
taken. Again, our flight had been delayed thanks to the storms. I was reassured
my luggage would make it home with me. We settled down and had some Popeye’s
Chicken which wasn’t all that bad, or I was just that hungry. The chicken
nuggets appeared to contain real chicken, and the people gave me way more than
just six. The sweet ‘n’ sour sauce was oddly spicy though. Whilst on another
snack-run I discovered that things really are bigger in Texas: I found a
massive Rice Krispy Square, about the equivalent of 3-4 of them stacked
together.

The second airplane was slightly
smaller than the first but still had TV and radio. The 80’s station had a funny
commercial: “What time is it? Check your Swatch! It’s the 80s.” For the plane
trip this time we had Butterfinger Crisp and Almond Joy and they played The
Office and 30 Rock. All of which helped calm my nerves when we hit some
turbulence and passed over lightning happening below us.  My overall lesson learned was that the theme
of day was running for and almost missing transport connections but them ending
up being delayed so in the end we rushed and stressed over nothing. It was
uphill both ways.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

San Francisco Day 4

Day 4- Sun. July 26

                We took
the historic cable car (not to be confused with the famous trolley) to Castro. In
San Francisco they have old streetcars from all over the States; the one we
were on was from Chicago, Illinois. In Castro we stopped for a light lunch at
yet another recommendation from the guide book (it just happened to be right on
the corner when we got off). The guide book failed to mention the massive
portions of food dished out at this “café” that also serves pancakes as big as
a dinner plate and mile-high sandwiches. We walked up through Castro, and passed
a guy in a leather skirt, on our way up to Haight-Ashbury (the hippie district I’ve
been told). Height-Ashbury was pretty cool looking with some interesting
stores, and it smelled like weed and sometimes it smelled like incense. It was
a bit sketchy though and there were definitely more than a few oddballs. At the
edge of height-Ashbury was Golden Gate Park. In the Park we went into the
garden to see if there was a way to cut through it to get to the Japanese Tea
Gardens faster, alas we got lost. We ended up spending at least an hour in
there, eventually getting distracted by a promise of some giant redwoods (which
obviously led to some Cruisin’ USA comments and my ingenious idea to go on a
Cruisin’ USA roadtrip and travel the route). Alas, there were really only one
or two redwoods and they were small.

                Surprisingly
you had to pay admission to get into the tea garden, so we instead went across
the street to sit on some benches in the shade and snack. We just so happened
to sit down in front of bandshell where there was an orchestra playing
classical music. As we made our way back to Haight-Ashbury we passed some
people swing dancing to a street band and further along people dancing on roller-skates
to “Shake Your Groove Thing” and just past them was a two-piece jazz band
playing on a bench. I guess people really let loose on Sundays. As we were
walking back down Haight a guy noticed that Brent was wearing a Blue Jays shirt
and hat and remarked to his friend and they both laughed at him. The map did
not make it obvious that Castro turns into another street so we missed where we
were supposed to turn to go back down through the gay district to the
streetcar. But thankfully Haight ends at the street where the streetcar runs,
we were surprised to see it and it caught us off guard. We thought we still had
a ways to go. In the streetcar we passed an optical store called “Site For Sore
Eyes” which made me giggle, outing me as a tourist.

                All that
walking caused a severe hunger attack (yes, even after a giant stack of
pancakes and panda cookies) which led me back to In N Out Burger, which was a
bad idea given it was a Sunday in the Wharf. After a long wait, I finally had
my awesome burger but alas having to navigate the crowd of tourists as we made
our way back to the hotel impeded my burger eating abilities, but I still
managed to finish it before we got to the end of the block. I went back out
again in search of more souvenirs (having already forgotten how bad the crowds
were). I also ended up buying a huge stash of American candy bars, of which I couldn’t
help myself and I ate a few. Clark bars are delicious. We headed to the Wharf
in search of dinner and fearing the crowds; we avoided sit-down places and
opted for our tried and true dinner menu: sourdough pizza and crab cakes to go.
In the Wharf there were stupid people abound, an entire family stopped all at
once, taking up the entire sidewalk! We had to walk in the street to get around
them. While I was getting tea there was another stupid family who all cut in
front of me in line, and then the kid of the family stood in front of the other
register even though she was not ordering, she was just in the way making for a
very awkward situation as I had to go around her. Then as if that were not
enough, more people were standing in front of the sugar and cream. I finally
got to it, and then had to listen to a guy who wised on to the fact that there
were girls in his presence, so he started talking about, of all things, his
workout regime! As if that would impress anyone?! On our way back we grabbed a
pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…” (only because I had never had
B&J before), some plastic spoons and Swedish fish. And of course we had
another TV + food fest.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Adventures of Pinka!

 

San Francisco Day 3

Sat. July25

                Golden Gate
Bridge was decided on as our next destination, but not without my morning
coffee fix. For that we headed back to Ghiradelli Square. The smell was
overwhelming and I ended up buying chocolates to go with the good coffee. We took
the scenic route along a bike path to get there. Along the way we saw some
starfish in the lake and looked out onto the ocean from a dock. This dock had a
confusing sign saying you couldn’t take certain types of crabs from the ocean,
the way it was written seemed to imply that you could just reach over the rail
and pluck one off the post holding up the dock. Looking back at the bridge to
Oakland you could see the sun glint off the passing cars’ windshields which was
kind of ironic given that where we were it was foggy grey and cold. As we got
closer to the bridge we saw some people training for the Sunday Marathon. And even
closer to the bridge the water was very wavy, which some surfers were taking
advantage of. It was entertaining watching them wipeout. It took almost an hour
to navigate the foot traffic while simultaneously trying to take photos and get
to the other side and back. On our way back we also decided to go see the
Palace of Fine Arts (again, another great recommendation from the guide book)
but not before getting some food from a place called Crissy’s Café. It was the
best chicken soup with veggies ever, and the iced tea? It was made of actual
tea! I was shocked. And the cup containing the iced tea was made of corn oil
and was completely compostable. The Palace of Fine Arts was as beautiful as the
book said it would be, but it was odd to see pink coloured columns. There were
some sculptures of ladies atop a few of the columns and one of them had a
seagull perched atop her head. We even saw a wedding couple having their photos
taken.

                We walked
back through the residential neighbourhood Presidio and made some locals laugh with
our amazing disoriented jaywalking skills. I tested the waters and only went in
ankle deep and deemed it better than Lake Ontario in that it was actually
warmer and it did not give me a rash on my foot. To recoup our energy we went
to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. Ice cream in hand, we settled down to
recharge and what better way than by watching MTVs Teen Cribs? One girl had a
pet deer named Bonita, that made me choke on my ice cream I laughed so hard. Ready
to go again we headed out to Russian Hill and then Nob Hill. What we did not
anticipate was how very steep it was going to be on our way to Vallejo Hill,
which we never did end up finding, but we did find another nice park with a
gorgeous view of the Coit Tower and Oakland Bridge and the bay. Along the way
there were some humorously named laundromats such as “Light’n Your Load” and
also “Tons of Bubbles” which from afar I thought it was a bubbles supply store
selling stuff like bubble mix and wands. From there we went to the street with the
steepest grade in all of San Francisco, with a grade of 31.5 degrees: Filbert
Street. It was purposely planned out so that we would get to walk down not up
it. It was in fact so steep the sidewalk had stairs and a guy drove down in his
pickup truck yelling “woo” out the window. Russian Hill was full of beautiful
houses and more steep hills. We went to McDonald’s so I could satisfy my curiosity
with a sweet tea, and they are not lying when they say sweet. It was
undrinkable. At the Wharf we got sourdough pizza and crab cakes for dinner,
which may sound gross but is an awesome combination.  We went to Safeway so I could continue my
quest to find Keebler cookies (the coconut chocolate chips ones) but alas they
were not there. Food spread all over the bed, we pigged out and watched TV and
drank sugarcane 7Up (which was actually a different drink called Bubble Up that
was mistook for 7Up).  Late night TV,
pizza and crabcakes was awesome.  There was
a show called “Extreme Fast Food” followed by “Extreme Pigout” where they
showed a place that serves a 15lb burger, at which point I gave up on TV. It was
just gross looking.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2009 in Adventures of Pinka!

 
 
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