Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

by Jonah

In the morning we got up and out in time to make it to a restaurant that serves Dim Sum on Sunday mornings as they opened. I’ve never had Dim Sum, and I can now say that I love it. Chinese women circled the restaurant carrying trays of little covered baskets with food inside. They would tell us what delicacies they held, but of course we couldn’t understand what they were saying in their heavily accented English. So they would open up a basket to display their wares, and we would guess whether it would be tasty or not. We ate all sorts of dumplings some dinner rolls that actually were stuffed with minced meat, a green vegetable that looked like a weed and tasted like grass but came with a yummy thick, sticky brown sauce to dip it in, squares of slightly sweet paste with small chunks of meat in it, a plate overflowing with calamari, green beans in a delicious sauce, and other things. I wanted to try to the chicken feet, but I would have had to have eaten the whole basket myself. We ate and ate and then were sorry we couldn’t sample some things because we already had too much on the table. Fortunately, almost everything came in threes, so there was one for each of us. There was also hot sauce and some mustard with amazing sinus clearing properties. Forks were nowhere to be seen, but we managed just fine except for the slippery round green vegetable that I just ate with my fingers.

Afterward, after having only a pot of tea to share to drink, we stopped at a gas station to fill up Dave’s car with insanely expensive Californian gas and grab some Cokes. Then it was on to “SF” with the top down to the SFMOMA. It has a very nice collection. Some of my favorites were a portrait of Truman Capote by Irving Penn, a guy who creates huge backlit photos of staged scenes, basically carefully creating a realistic painting but without the paint, and a Japanese lady who creates “class photos” where she plays all of the students and the teacher by shooting herself in different hairdos, uniform arrangements, and expressions. There was also a good assemblage of canonical modern art from Matisse to O’Keeffe to Rothko to Warhol, even one of Duchamp’s many Fountains. As usual, I had to wait for Berck to finish, so I deposited myself in front of one of the video displays, an interesting one showing adolescents outside a club, instructed to be in front of a camera for several minutes at a time, a study in the uneasiness of the space between childhood and adulthood.

When we had exhausted the exhibits, we went to the Exploratorium, a huge science museum packed with kids mashing the buttons on all of the interactive displays. Still, there were more exhibits than kids, so there was always something interesting to see. My favorite was the heart beating in the fertilized chicken egg. I’ll have to dig out a magnifying glass next time I bake.

We had to leave before too long to make it to our last restaurant, the famous San Tung 2. (I don’t think #1 exists.) I’d discovered this place on a Google search for “crack chicken.” The wet dry-fried chicken wings were indeed good, think General Tso’s wings, but weren’t what I’d call addictive. The hot and sour soup was crammed with solids including “tree fungus” that tasted good but was the consistency of what the fungus you see on trees is what you’d imagine is like. The noodles with black bean sauce were only good after adding soy and hot sauce. But the fried dumplings… those were delicious, even if they didn’t give us any dumpling sauce. Again we were not offered forks but were given a pot of tea.

We ate hurriedly and left to make sure we got to the airport in plenty of time. Security didn’t take any time at all, and then we checked the monitors. Our plane was an hour and a half late arriving. We had a couple beers and found a quiet corner of the airport with a power outlet to finish watching the movie we’d started on the way in, then began another. We didn’t get off the ground until 9. We finally got home at 1:30 am. I drank a lot of tea the next day at work to stay awake. Last night we went to bed at 8. I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 7.

There are pictures, but Berck is controlling them. So you’ll have to ask him if you want to see any.

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