Jungle Boogie

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The day starts with breakfast in bed. This is not as lovely as it sounds.  Our hotel does not have a breakfast room,  so we all much toast, cereal and a waffle (it's been along time since we had one!) amongst the chaos we have created in our room.

We do a little planning and work out how we navigate this crazy city of San Francisco on public transport and then we are off.  (By the way, Noah says San Francisco reminds him of Leeds.  Really Noah?)  Today my internal soundtrack is even more off course than it was yesterday, as my head is playing Montego Bay (it is not even in the right country!).

We head down to the wharf, and our first priority is to get the Mothership a jumper.   California is not the eternal summer we were expecting.  So we find her something smashing, and Noah and I do a bit of 'Sailor Jerry' window shopping.

We wander along the wharf and it is just gorgeous.  We see Alcatraz and the glistening bay.  Elwood, Mum and Noah go on a submarine.  Elwood is very boisterous and I think him on a submarine is crazy talk, so I make my excuses, leave them to it and go for a walk.

Apparently, Elwood makes it half way through the submarine before announcing he is ‘busting’ so there is a big mission to get him off the submarine in a mad hurry and to find a toilet.  I am (no where near) sorry I missed it.

My walk was not as relaxing a I had in mind.  As I was crossing the road, a man stood next to me who had just bought some crumbed prawns.  So far, no problems.  Then out of nowhere are stack of seagulls start swooping on him (and me!).  I am ducking and trying to swot them away, and still look cool (obviously).  Eventually, they make off with a couple of the fella’s  prawns,  I stand up and continue like it did not even happen.  Although I did develop a bit if a twitch and kept looking over my shoulder and I kept running over scenarios in my head of how I would react if a bird poo-ed on me.

On my wander, I found a fantastic bakery, which we ended up back at for lunch. Noah has the garlic-iest pizza you can imagine, and I have clam chowder in a sourdough roll.  (As you can imagine, we are smelling pretty fresh right now....)  You could watch the bakers at work and the bread was taken by breadbasket ‘cable car’ from the bakery to the shop.  Woody loved it and was just happy to sit there and watch the goings on until... he spots - a Rainforest Cafe.

When Elwood knows he is near a Rainforest Cafe it is pretty much all he can think about.  He cannot wait to take Grandma over there and show her every single thing in the cafe / shop.  We spend ages in there.

We eventually manage to prise him away and we stumble across a shoe shop. Elwood's shoes are a state so we decide to get his feet measured.  Whilst we are looking at skater-ish boys shoes Elwood finds and tries on some girls animal print ankle boots.  He looks pretty good (a bit Rod Stewart but I can almost live with that).  He really loves them and he walks like he feels really good in them.  We tell him they will be too hot in Oz, but he really wants the ‘jungle boots’.    A male sale assistant appears, sees Elwood in the girls ankle boots and thinks he has found a kindred spirit.  He shares with us that when he was Elwood’s age he only liked girls stuff and now he is old he still only likes stuff meant for girls, including boys.  He continued, that he grew up in Cambodia and his dad made him kickbox banana trees but he was more interested in carrying a handbag.  Thank you for sharing this heart-warming story with my 3 year old.  Elwood looked up at him and said ‘I do not know what you are talking about’.  Priceless.

For reasons I cannot explain, Elwood starts browsing the handbags (whilst the sales assistant is nodding in an understanding way).  Elwood goes crazy for a Dora the Explorer handbag, slings it over his shoulder, puts on another pair of girls boot, and starts parading up and down the aisle.  I feel like I am on another planet. Just to add to the magic, and inexplicably, there's a sachet of jam in it! Elwood is insisting he wants the Dora bag and he will keep his toys in.  I say it would not fit many toys in it.  He agrees and finally puts it back and we are all glad this is over.  He then spies a Hello Kitty bag which would fit so many more toys in it, and he is obsessed with it in a heartbeat.  Noah is trying to get the girls boots off Elwood but they are stuck on him. And on the wrong feet.

The ‘helpful’ sales assistant  returns and asks Noah and I (in a rather firm tone) won’t you let your son have girls stuff if he wants it.  He gets lots of other girls shoes for Elwood to try on including some red glittery ballet pumps.  I answer defensively, that I just need to get him some practical shoes.  The man shots us a look which shouts ‘get out of my shop meanies’.    Meanwhile, Elwood is stuffing the ballet shoes into his Hello Kitty bag.  WTF?  The sales assistant looks smug.  He asks Elwood his name, and he screeches with delight when he hears it.  ‘OMG, like in legally blonde, Elle Woods’.   Please go away crazy man, you are not helping.

For those who know my mum, it will come as no surprise that The Mothership was absolutely no help whatsoever.  She was laughing so much that she could not stand up properly and walked out of the shop.  I did my Darth Vader angry whisper voice and made her come back in.  All she could say (inbetween laughs)  was  ‘One night in San Francisco, and see what happens’.  Not helpful.

In the end we do not manage to buy Elwood any shoes and I carry Elwood from the shop screaming for the Hello Kitty bag.   The shop assistants look at us, and then look at each other knowingly.  I can see it reminds him of the pain of his banana tree kicking youth... He also asks if it's time we went for an ice cream which Woody luckily doesn't hear.

We strap Elwood into the push chair and head towards the trolley cars.  We have to wait in line for about an hour to catch a trolley car.  Damn tourists.  Elwood is restless so I make him a tail out of my scarf so he crawls around like a lion for quite a long time.  He has embarrassed me so much already today I think this is normal behaviour.  A busker plays ‘Get your kicks on Route 66’ – and we feel brilliant in an instant.

We take the cable car up to Union square.  We got seat on the inside and I did enjoy it, but I it was not as brilliant as I imagined.

Elwood is hungry and we see a Panda Express  and Elwood thinks it is Kung Fu Panda’s Dad’s restaurant (from the movie) – so we get him dinner even though it is early-ish. Elwood is enthusiastically attempting to use chop sticks, which is lovely.  I help him out, and for some reason I start talking loudly in a very bad Chinese accent.  Noah and Mum look at me like I am an idiot and I think they may have a point.

Noah grabs us some coffees and it turns out the coffee shop is having a half price happy hour.  Result.  We neck our coffees and get more, because it is half price and that is what you do. For some reason, Noah panics at the counter and orders himself this big creamy frappuccino topped with cream.  It is the girliest drink I have seen since Noah ordered the Princess Marigold on Nashville.  When Elwood sees it he says, ’what the heck is that?’  I could not have put it better myself.

We catch the trolley car back to the wharf.  This time we sit at the front, and outside, and it a completely different journey.  It is, quite frankly, hair raising.  The driver was very funny, and was saying it was his first time driving one and was making loads of jokes.  Everyone screamed going down the massive hills – it was hilarious!

On the short journey home, the Mothership manages to wind Elwood up into a frenzy,  (they were mostly laughing about bodily functions).  So Mum was charged with calming Elwood down and getting him ready for bed.  So, they are now sitting in bed, watching a wildlife documentary and pretending they are in a cafe.  This means they occasionally shout out orders to the cafe workers  (Noah and Me).  In between responding to demands,  Noah and I are having icy cold drinks from our makeshift bar and hanging out for Extreme Couponing.  I am not sure when we got so damn middle aged.  Bummer.

Elwood settles down to sleep and Noah pops out to get a Thai and also comes back with beer and surprise chocolates.  Hurrah!   Mum has had a few wines and is getting into the couponing with gusto. Her mouth has been open in disbelief for the best part of half an hour. I knew she would like it.

Good night from your friends - The Freaks, in beautiful San Francisco.
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Leonie on

OMg the tears are rolling down my cheeks!!!!! that was my favourite post so far.... not sure if it was the whole 'gender' purchasing or imagining Mrs B laughing that hard or Noah's girly drink..... oh hang on the seagulls are in there too!!! OMg love it love you and hurry up end of NOV!!!!! xxxx

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