Sunday dawned bright and not so early again.  Hey!  We were on vacation!  Nearly same scene, different day.  Except this time Josh brought breakfast up to the room.  Still just as yummy.  And just as free!

As we were packing up to grab the shuttle back to the BART, I realized I couldn’t find my cell phone.  This is not unusual.  It’s bright and red and shiny:  it makes a great child distractor, so it’s often stashed in strange locations.  I searched the room, but no luck.  I thought maybe I’d left it in the stroller and it fell out when we loaded up on the shuttle the evening before.  So down we went to the front desk to see if it had been turned in.  The nice gal made a few phone calls (the shuttle services a number of hotels), but no luck.  *shrug*  We headed out to walk along the Bay front while we waited for the shuttle.  A few minutes later….face?  Meet palm.

See, during that fuss ridden late lunch we’d had at Lori’s, I’d given the Girl my cell to play with.  And of course she didn’t want to be amused, so she pitched it.  Under the table.  To a spot I couldn’t reach.  So I noted to Josh that we needed to have the Boy crawl under before we left to grab it.  Of course, by the time we left, the Boy was pitching a fit along with the Girl.  So Josh grabbed the kids to hustle them out, I paid the bill pronto (no pay at the table service) and we flew out…totally forgetting the phone.

Okay!  Slight change of plans!  We’ll take the BART to the same station, run by the Diner and see if they’ve found it.  Off we went.

When we arrived, of course they were in mid-brunch rush.  The gal I spoke to was ruder than rude.  Like Ed Debevics rude, but without the fun.  I waited until she had served 3 tables and filled up another tables coffee before I asked her about the phone.  Without looking anywhere she spits at me “There’s no phones turned in.”  And you know this because?  I noted it had fallen pretty far back under the table, would she mind if I checked?  (That table looked as if it was about to be vacated.)  She looked at the group of people standing waiting to be seated and said, “No, you can’t.  We have a night cleaning crew.  If they found it, it’d be here.”  And promptly turned her back on me.

*Sigh*  O.Kay.  I figure I’ll come back later in the afternoon when they were dead.  Like when we were there.  Of course long story short, we never went back.  I called, I emailed, no sign of my phone.  I called and had the phone suspended right away, and now I’ve got the same phone only in a different color.  Thank you ebay!  (And yes, if I must be truthful…this is the 4th one in probably 5 years.  One was inflicted with the blue screen of death, one was stolen after I dropped it in a theater, and then the one I lost in San Fran.  Yes, maybe I should get a chain that connects it to my wrist or something.  No I won’t really do that.  No I’m not getting insurance for it.  The replacement was only $35.)

After leaving Lori’s, we head back over to Powell to try to hop a cable car.  We’d ride the cable car up to the end, then catch the 28 bus over to the kids museum we thought the Boy would enjoy.  Uh-huh, right.  After standing and watching 3 go by, we decide to try to catch a different bus instead.  Enter much chaos, bus drivers pointing fingers at various tourists, and we finally hop on the 45 bus…going the wrong direction.  But the buses go in big circles so we sat back and enjoyed the ride.

(You can take the Manager away from work, but you cannot take work away from the Manager.)

Riding the bus was a total blast for the Boy.  Maybelle has a friend (in the end) in Big Bill the Bus.  Hence each bus we rode was dubbed Big Bill.  Plus he enjoyed the people and sights we were treated to.  A trip around Yerba Buena Gardens (alas we never went), Chinatown and its many markets, North Beach (where an Italian family joined us, the kids playing an interesting hand game), and finally the Presidio.

It took us much longer than expected to reach our destination, but was worth the comfort of riding the bus and seeing the Boy’s face through the many changing characters of San Francisco.

Finally, we reached the Exploratorium.  Holy Hands on Science Batman.

The adventure begins…10′ inside the doors.

What’s down this long line of lenses?

Ahhh!  A monster!  Oh wait…it’s Papa.

Fun with water spouts and blocks

And giant bubbles!  (Yes, his shirt is off.  It was wet.  Refer to one photo up.)

This is one of the most fabulous science museums I have ever been to.  There are plenty of activities for kids of ALL ages, as evidenced repeatedly by my photos.  But finally the Boy was reaching over stimulation levels and we decided to head to a more calming location.  Armed with a Good Humor strawberry shortcake ice cream bar and a push-up, the intrepid travelers set out…

…to catch another bus.  But first we had to FIND said bus.  Half an hour and a half mile detour, we finally locate a bus stop for the 28 bus.  The sign says a 7 minute wait.  20 minutes later, a full bus bypasses us without even stopping.  Uh-oh.  Then another 28 bus rolls up.  Also full.  Thankfully, right on its heels was a third bus on the same route with plenty of room for us.

Off we head to Golden Gate Park.  Here is where we discover that the great map we were given at the Visitor’s Center is wonderful downtown.  Not so much once you pass Divisadero.  The map I had looked like the bus would drop us right at our destination.  Instead we were dropped right on the edge of the park with vague directions.  We walked some more.  We were obviously lost.  We finally found a lake (which was on the map) with a concession stand to get directions.  Said lake had water fowl to amuse the Boy, along with drinks to sustain the whole family.  Thankfully we weren’t too far out of the way.

We arrived at the Japanese Tea Gardens about 1 hour before closing time.  And despite the fact that I’d read online it was free…it was not free.  Oh well.  It was worth the money.

We were given a very friendly welcome.

We spent time exploring the gardens and walkways.

(Sorry, it’s a bit fuzzy.)

We climbed bridges.

I took photos that my husband finds irrational.

But which please my soul.

We drank sake.


But we did take the time to enjoy the tea house.  Josh chose a black tea, I opted for a green.  We shared a small sushi plate and the Boy had a chocolate filled pancake type sweet baked in the shape of a fish.  And did I take a photo of this?


Finally, it was nearing 7 pm and we headed back out of the park to find our trusty 28 bus.  We didn’t wait long and were soon on our way back to the BART, the shuttle, and the hotel.

It may have been filled with mishaps, miscalculations, and a bit of miscommunication, but it was a great day spent in the City by the Bay.  Tomorrow – we trek north.