i'd been getting updates via text from the troop leader, who along with a majority of the girls in the troop were flying up together from LAX. they'd had to meet at the airport at 6:30 that morning to catch a flight that would get them to san francisco and checked into the hotel by about 10:30, but they were experiencing some delay due to fog. from what i could tell, they didn't actually take flight until almost 10:30, and so our meetup time kept getting pushed back. no worries...we were having fun walking around anyway. as we strolled along, we passed the restaurant that the girls and i had eaten at a couple of years ago during our last visit.
around the corner we came across a cute little coffee and pastry shop. as we approached the entrance, we overheard a guy leaving telling his companion "that was amazing, we've got to go back there again soon." good enough.
the hub and i ordered coffees while the bean opted to start her day off with this toffee crunch and marshmallow-topped brownie:
i'd chosen a red velvet cupcake and forgot to take a picture of it until it was almost gone. oops. but it was delicious.
there are a lot of chocolate shops in san francisco. or, at least there were in the areas that we were walking through. we stopped in this one because it smelled really good from the outside.
want a chocolate dog?
okay, we didn't either. we did, however, want some delicious meat and cheese -and so we stopped in here to grab some.
as we made our way into chinatown, we passed a familiar sight - i remembered driving past it last time and spying my friend lilcee in line for some tasty treats.
walking through chinatown is always a good time. so much to see!
and when we found ourselves on a street that was relatively quiet with little to no road traffic, we stopped to take these:
oooooh, a zoltar machine! i'm already pretty "big" though, so i just kept walking on by (please tell me you got that).
the troop had finally landed and dropped their bags off at the hotel, so we made our way to the sure-to-be amazing oriental pearl restaurant. yeah.
guys, the menu. the. menu.
from what we could tell, the restaurant was part of a package deal that came with the guided walking tour that we'd signed on for. the food was...well, it was very meh. we'll just say that there were LOTS of other places in the area that would have made for a much, much better meal and leave it at that.
the food was mostly cold, explained away by the fact that the party had had to push back our arrival time. despite the fact that our troop leader had called ahead to alert them of the delay, it seemed that they'd proceeded with cooking the food at the original arrival time anyway. oh well. at least the cha su bao was decent.
and i was super amused at this sign in the restroom:
the late start also meant that our walking tour was somewhat rushed, because our guides were apparently not all about pushing back the start time from the original schedule. we should have had anywhere from 1.5-2 hours to wander through the predetermined tourist spots, but instead we had just an hour to hear her spiel and walk the route.
we went through a shop full of chinese herbal remedies and teas and things:
a shrine to someone important that i couldn't quite hear through all the noise and chatter. it was lovely in there, and i wish i'd gotten to hear the details, but there you go.
the next stop was a familiar one - the fortune cookie factory. there were lots of people waiting to get inside, so i didn't stop to take pictures but i definitely grabbed a warm, fresh cookie sample. yum.
then we walked through a market, where lots of squeamish "ooohs" came from the girls. heh.
didn't matter, though. the girls were having a blast just being together and sharing the experience.
one last story from our tour guide (who was actually pretty nice and hilarious) about chinese school, and then we were off to the bus that took us back to the hotel.
this is where the hub parted ways with us, off to a cigar lounge that he'd mapped out and was just a couple of blocks away from where we were dismissed. the bean and i hopped onto that bus and headed back into our room to rest for a few minutes before the next adventure began.