Drivin’ down the 101. California, here we come.

DAY NINE

San Francisco travels, continued. First stop, Chinatown. Somehow I managed to make it past all of those cute little shops without buying one trashy collectible item. The temptation was killing me, let me tell you. (Of course I’m not sarcastic.)

Though I will say, I was actually thisclose to buying a samurai sword (wait no, Samurai’s are Japanese aren’t they? Be an ignorant American with me for a moment and just pretend like you know what I mean) Except then I remembered that I still have to buy a new pocket-knife, and that takes priority. I’ve been knife-less for an entire week now! Sad story, it got taken away at the airport in Houston (Apparently they don’t allow knives on planes now?) It was actually a pretty amusing scene: the tweenage kid behind me in line at security turned to his dad and asked, “Did that girl have a knife?” Which was my cue to spin around and smile, “Yeah, sorry about that. I had been planning on overtaking the plane midflight, but I guess now we’ll just have to actually reach our destination.” Completely straight-faced, he responded, “That takes all of the fun out of it.” Then his dad jumped in and started chattering on about how this one time airport security argued with his wife over a cardboard nail file but the kid and I just smiled exchanged knowing glances (knowing what, I’m not sure) I really enjoy temporarily bonding with strangers. Even if it’s just over silly things like potentially life-threatening breaches in homeland security.

Next we hit up Japantown, which surprisingly enough was not just a smaller, more democratic and progressive version of our previous stop (that would be HongKongTown. Coming soon to a metropolis near you!) It was really more like a mall than a street of shops- chock full of anime stores, fake cherry blossom trees, and some DE-LICIOUS SUSHI. As Americanized and cliche as the experience may have been, I found it completely delightful. I even gathered up the courage to try a “Japanese” desert- green-tea ice cream with red bean paste wrapped up in a crepe. It was… er… culturally enlightening, to say the least (Who invented that phrase? Euphemisms usually leave you saying more than the original tactless response. Meh.)

After that cultural explosion, we decided to just wander around for a bit. San Francisco is gorgeous. There’s this crazy thing called “elevation” here (yes, my dear Houstonians, it does exist) which meant we worked muscle groups I didn’t know existed. Which somehow led to an argument with one of my cousins about whether walking uphill or downhill was better. He said they were equal, because while downhill might be harsher on your feet, it’s easier in general. I said that uphill was immeasurably better because even though it’s a little more work, you always stay in complete control. We continued this discussion longer than I thought humanly possible, and ended with me wondering aloud if this whole issue could somehow be twisted into a metaphor for how people approach general problem solving in their lives. He said that that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard and pushed me the rest of the way down the hill (which was amazingly steep by the way. So beautiful!)

By about 5:00, we decided it was time to head back (Rather, our digestive tracts decided for us by robbing our bodies of inordinate amounts of energy to digest the obscene amounts of Japanese cuisine we had consumed earlier in the day. Yup.) However, as we were driving out of “The City” we passed by the coast and couldn’t resist the enchanting call of the beach. My cousin didn’t seem too impressed by it, but growing up near Galveston Bay has made my standards for beaches pretty goddamn low. I loved it.

  We just stood around and chatted for a bit while I took pictures of the sand, clouds, waves, and nearby children. Good times.

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