As Dipali gently reminded me, it’s been a while. The reason for my long silence is, as always, I was on holiday. And then, probably equally typically, I was severly unwell. Anyway, to recap California for all posterity:

1. I didn’t do much except hang out with my sister and niece. I perfected the art of stopping my niece mid-howl by jogging her around the room. I looked like an idiot but it truly worked. She would stop immediately and stare up at me primly, with a look that said “ok then”. Even when she was super-hungry, and hell hath no fury like a hungry infant, the jogging would placate her for oh maybe 10 precious moments. Basically, I was basically trying to buy my sis some sleep. Unfortunately, jogging was not permitted at her christening and she woke up while my mom was trying to force the christening robe onto her, and proceeded to howl through the entire ceremony. Also, the babe grew substantially in 10 days. Initially she was just a squirt who would lie there. By Day 10, she was kind of responding to the weird expressions I would make while I sang her my baby song. She’s not going to remember any of this though, sob!

2. I had three guide books on San Fransisco but went to the suburb only once. I saw the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, drove through Golden Gate park, saw the view from Twin Peaks and strolled through Fisherman’s Wharf. We saw this very cool street performance by these black and Mexican kids and then I ogled at the sea lions. That was it. Oh yeah, and I was very delighted to see a huge rainbow flag on a pole in Castro, the gay district. I’m sure there is more I could’ve done, like explore individual districts which I generally like to do, but this time I was happy to hang out at home and V was also not too well so I had noone to push me either. I’ve also realised I’m not one for doing this stuff alone. Even in Hong Kong, I have all these plans of doing excursions alone but when push comes to shove, I end up sitting on the couch watching sitcoms instead.

3. We went to Napa/Sonoma but didn’t do any winetasting. Haw! Instead we did an olive oil tasting that I thought was pretty cool. The best part of that trip for us though was our hotel, which was this adorable inn-like place with individual cottages, and in particular, the spa. I had a facial that completely rejuvenated my dead skin apart from being one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had. Both V and I were surprised because coming from Asia we kind of expect this kind of stuff to be crap anywhere else in the world.

4. We went to exactly one mall. Not for want of trying. One day we drove an hour to a mall only to realise that it was closed (Easter!). Anyway, what we saw of the shopping in the US is that everything is pretty much made in China and you generally get all of it in HK for probably cheaper so why bother. Nevertheless, there was one outlet mall that we discovered that I thought was really good. Only it appeared to be so good that I got exhausted halfway through and came away with a pair of sunglasses (Marc Jacobs, yay!), ballet flats and some socks because they were half price since V was buying some. Sadly, he overuled my fluroscent coloured choice and I had to settle for less bright and happy ones.

5. The highlight I’d say was an NBA game. The US really has a handle on how to make sports entertainment. The entire thing is such a circus from the lights and music to the cheerleaders to the freebies they throw at you in the time-outs to the fillers. And the crowning glory – although all predictions was that the home side was going to get hammered, they won!