Houseguests

We had six, count’em, six sets of houseguests this year. It’s pretty amazing, because most years we have at most one. I actually enjoy having houseguests, because (1) we get to revisit places we don’t usually go to of our own accord when we take our visitors there, (2) it forces me to clean up the house, and (3) we can go out to eat at a lot of different places. Plus I like the challenges of being a host who can come up with something to accomodate our houseguests’ various whims and needs (up to the point where I became exasperated with them . . . !)

With Linda’s visit back in April, it’s about thinking of places which involve lots of walking. It’s hard because she’s visited the Bay Area so much, she’s practically seen everything. She usually comes for a week, and brings two huge baggage. We joke that she’s moving in with us. ‘Don’t come pick me up in the Mini, I have a lot of luggage’ she always reminds us. We took her on the Precita Eyes Mural tour in the Mission. Highly recommended even for Bay Area locals.

With two Thai college-students (one was a friend of the family), I relived the thrift of budget travel. They opted to stay at our place instead of paying $30/per person per night in a youth hostel in SF. “You know, you’ll have to take the train for an hour to get from my place to SF, and it’s $11 for a day pass.” Mai pen rai, it’s still cheaper. As it happened, my friend had a Caltrain ten ride pass with three rides left she no longer needed, so I gave it to the two friends, and told them to just buy one-way ticket when they came home. Later that night I got a phone call from one of them. He was at Menlo Park station, while she was on the train. I didn’t really understand, but I couldn’t hear clearly on my cell phone. As it happened, there had been a fatality earlier that day on Caltrain, so I was worried. I drove to Menlo Park to pick him up, while she had just caught the lightrail at Mountain View to come back home. It turns out that since there was fare inspection on the ride up to SF in the morning, the decided to save money by not buying the extra one-way ticket. And got caught by the conductor. Typically, Caltrain conductors make you get off the train at the next stop when they catch first-time fare-evaders, so they can buy a ticket and catch the next train. First I was relieved that they were OK. Then I was not amused.

Miracle of miracles, Ivan and Pat independantly decided to visit the Bay Area, and they actually overlapped for a day. It’s really hard to find all three of us in the same place at the same time. His kids UFO and BEA were really excited about (1) Uncle Joe’s Mini, and (2) riding VTA light-rail … to (3) Senzala, a Brazilian restaurant, which made Simone, native of Manaus, really happy.

With Pat, we did all the ‘North American’ things that you can’t get/do in Hong Kong. Like eat hamburgers in a diner. And go on a road-trip. Pat was pretty happy to blast all the 80’s CDs we had (Spandau Ballet! Francis Yip! But no Tears for Fears!) in the car, with the wind blowing in his face (and his feet. Don’t ask.) We headed to Santa Rosa to check out the Schultz Museum, and the Snoopy Gift Shop. There’s an ice rink sandwiched in between, where we have fond memories on skating in the summers.

My parents came for two days on their way home to Bangkok from Pennsylvania. Joe remembered to stock up on apples and guava juice (for my mom) and grapes for my dad.

Darlene came for a long foodie weekend. We took her to Michael Mina, and Evvia. She learnt the word ‘pescatarian’ (she is one). And she also wanted to try grilled cheese sandwich at . . . In-n-out. “Don’t you want to eat something better than fast food?” we asked, but as it turned out, we ran out of time for dinner before he flight home, and so we swung by the In-n-out in Millbrae so that she got her wish after all!

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