Finally, it is time for: Vacation Highlights!
Asilomar, where it was incredibly windy in the evening, and where we could always hear the ocean. We walked down and checked out the tidepools a few times, and I got to see actual pretty starfish and cute hermit crabs in the actual wild.
Roaring Camp, where we took a steam train ride up through a redwood forest on a mountain and back down again. Because it was Memorial Day, they had an encampment of Civil War reenactors - both Union and Confederate. They were a long way from the Mason-Dixon line.
Monterey Aquarium, where there are frolicking sea otters, ocean waves you can stand under, and a very decent cafeteria. And of which I have no good photos.
Riding the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, mainly because I got my sister to ride it (plus it was wicked fun) and my dad did too (he'll ride anything). We even bought the overpriced on-ride photo.
Going to the weird bay by a power plant that had a flock (a herd?) of wild sea otters hanging around in it. One otter seemed to have fallen deeply asleep, as it drifted slowly to shore until it grounded itself in the sand. I crept up to him to take photos, and besides occasional nose-clearing snorts he didn't react at all. Eventually (after I got bored and left) he roused himself and rejoined the group.
The Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The five grownups were a little too old for the place, and the one kid a little two young, but we all had fun times regardless, shoving Catholic school kids out of the way so we could turn a puff of smoke into a cyclone or watch an embryonic chicken's heart beating.
The Musee Mechanical, a museum of working coin-operated music-making devices, mutoscopes, fortune-tellers, and more. It was my third time there and I would still go back again and again.
Seeing Avani for the first time in 8 years! I can't believe it had been that long. She showed me around the Mission, where we ate brunch amid hipsters, tried on funny hats, and marvelled at the hunky gay men sunbathing in Mission Dolores park.
The wedding, the whole reason for the trip. My first-cousin-once-removed is very inspiring: This is her first time getting hitched, and she's 55. Her wedding dress was made of cloth she bought in Pakistan ten years ago when she was working with UNICEF there. She's lived all over the world. She's a classy dame.
Of course there were also a few Vacation Lowlights!
Discovering a dead roach on the floor of our room in Asilomar as we were unpacking. Rustic!
Finding out that my niece Lula will actually throw up in the car from motion sickness, if properly provoked. (Then, helping my sister rinse the vomit out of Lula's clothes in the sink of a GettyMart.)
Being with my family 24/7 was sometimes a challenge. I should have taken more advantage of my ability to take off on my own.
I didn't really feel like I had enough time in actual San Francisco, though mostly that feeling was due to the contraints of traveling with a toddler who takes a 2-plus hour nap in the afternoon and who is supposed to go to bed at 8. The three 30-somethings traded off a night with the 50-somethings so we could go out to eat in a proper restaurant (and get take out the second night).
Coming back to several very rush-rush things awaiting me at work, which I am in the middle of tackling.
All-in-all, not a bad way to spend ten days. I posted some choice photos from all of these things (plus things I have not even bored you with yet!) in the gallery here. There are captions and stuff so it's kind of like a blog BONUS! Woo-hoo.
P.S. If you are new at the internet, you should know that you can click on the thumbnails to make the photos bigger.