Mood: Happy and Cruising Along
With no need to rush around, I woke up after a lovely leisurely lie in and headed down to breakfast with everyone at around 9am. Uncle Henry and Auntie Karen were trying to map out the day’s activities, which could have seen us take in the sights of San Francisco or somewhere else. I wanted to incorporate a trip to Alcatraz but being a Sunday, it was suggested that I check the availability of tickets before we took the hour long drive to San Francisco.
Just as well. Tickets were sold out until Tuesday, our last day in the US. After consultation, I purchased the ticket online and printed out all necessary documentation to take with me to collect my ticket on Tuesday.
So, instead of touring San Francisco, Uncle Henry and Auntie Karen decided to take us to Monterey for the day.
Monterey was an hour and a half south of Cupertino by car. With Uncle Henry at the wheel, we took in the sights as we followed the signs to Monterey. Such pretty country side.
By the time we arrived in Monterey, it was close to lunch time. We decided to take a walk along the wharf and played tourists and took photos before trying to find a place to have lunch. As we walked along the wharf, we were given samples of seafood chowder by several restaurants. The chowder was unbelievably good, and they only got better as we kept walking towards the water.
Just before the stairs to the lookout stood a stall with a number of parrots and their keeper. The parrot keeper held the parrots out to a group of little kids who loved the tame birds. It was funny seeing some of the kids treat the parrots like their own.
After a few more photos, we strolled to the restaurant where I had earlier declared made the nicest chowder. Unfortunately, there was a 40 minute wait for a table, so we went to Isabella’s Italian Seafood Restaurant. Turned out that the last time Dad and Mum were in San Francisco (with my youngest sister Georgianna as their travelling companion), they too had lunch at Isabella’s. Later that night, Auntie Karen even pulled out a photo showing the group in almost the same positions as my photo from that day.
Lunch was my treat – I wanted to treat everyone to something, as it was getting harder and harder to spend any money at all. Everyone placed their orders and we sat back and enjoyed the view.
After lunch, we walked over to the Maritime Museum of Monterey, where we watched a free film about the history of Monterey. Monterey was once famous for the abundant fishery in Monterey Bay and was known as the Sardine Capital of the World. A large number of sardine canning factories sprung up along a section of Monterey Bay, which became known as Cannery Row. By the 1950s, the local fishery business collapsed due to overfishing and Cannery Row was turned into a tourist attraction, with restaurants and shops in the historical site.
When our visit to the museum was over, Uncle Henry took us down to Cannery Row. We spent a bit of time in Thomas Kinkade’s gallery. Depending on which website you visit, Thomas Kinkade is described as "America’s most collected living artist" or a sell out for the extent to which he has commercialized his art. Others have also written that his paintings are merely kitsch without substance – Kinkade’s art has been parodied on comedy websites such as "Something Awful". Either way, we spent about 30 minutes admiring the works of art in the gallery.
To cap off the day, Uncle Henry drove us to Lovers Point Park. At this point of the day, we finally made contact with Veronica, who suggested a couple of restaurants where we could meet up for dinner. We left the choice to her and awaiting further confirmation.
Lovers Point was gorgeous. Pacific Ocean stretched as far as the eye could see, and the waters were just so clear and inviting. Such a gorgeous, gorgeous place.
Time flew by and soon, we needed to head back to Foster City (15 minutes from Cupertino) to meet up with Christopher, Veronica and Jason for dinner.
It was so good to see my cousins. Veronica is pregnant and looked radiant. Christopher was as I remembered him from our last meeting 15 years ago. Jason was lovely, and possibly a little overwhelmed by the spitfire chatter between me and Veronica. It was so good to see them and to catch up with them, even though it was for such a short period of time.
I think I managed to convince them to visit Australia in the near future. Christopher was keen, as was Jason, but of course, Veronica and Jason’s travel plans will have to incorporate amenities for a little one and it may be a while before they make it Down Under.
Dinner was over far too quickly. Being a Sunday night, my cousins were keen to make a move towards home as they all had to work the next day. We parted with promises to make more of an effort to keep in touch.
Back in Cupertino, Uncle Henry and Auntie Karen started to map out the travel plans for the following day. We were keen to visit Napa Valley for some wine tasting, but as it turned out, not everyone was excited by the idea. Dad basically put his foot down and said that Napa Valley was too far away and he had no interest at all to visit that region. So the plans for Napa Valley were put to one side and new plans were formulated.
A decision was finally made to tour San Francisco, as it was unanimously agreed that we may be pushed for time if we were to try and tour San Francisco as well as incorporating my trip to Alcatraz. Happy with the plans, we all went to bed, excited for another day of sightseeing to come.