Friday, January 02, 2009

Tea for Four

With a couple of friends in from out of town for the New Year, we once again were faced with the fact that we never know what to do with house guests. Where to take them, what to show them, what to feed them. When we lived in San Francisco, it was a little easier, but still involved the kind of foresight that neither we nor our friends seem to possess--we often get visitors with less than 24 hours notice of arrival; I think it's an Israeli thing.

Adding a baby into the mix certainly limited our options and gave us some pretty serious time constraints. Now with a toddler, we have a whole new set of limitations. babies are awesome because the tend to sleep--all the time, everywhere. Pop 'em in a car seat, give 'em a pacifier and eat your soup in a bread bowl or Korean BBQ or some other festive San Francisco meal. Toddlers tend to have a more established schedule, so you need activities of various lengths that will wrap nicely around nap time, especially if your young 'un, like ours, will not sleep in a stroller.

In my opinion, and I know there are many who will not agree, certain activities are off-limits with a newly bipedal kid. Museums (unless the are children's museums, of course) and most souvenir shops among them, I just can't bring myself to throw a loud and insistent baby into that kind of environment.

That being said, outdoor activities (weather permitting) are perfect. They provide the freedom for a toddler run and yell (or scream if you're Samson), and endless amounts of leaves, sticks and bugs to examine. Plus, it tends to be easier on the wallet. Once again, we're so lucky to live near San Francisco, and we've got Golden Gate Park. If you don't mind the search for parking and being around lots and lots of people, Golden Gate Park has plenty to offer. It will be years before we get to experience all of it, but we started off on New Year's Day with a trip to the Japanese Tea Garden for strolling around and a nice hot beverage. Again: squashed penny machine! Score one for the collecty-types!

It's funny, but we never once went to Golden gate Park in the three years we lived in San Francisco. What a waste. We're rectifying that now; next stop: Steinhart Aquarium at the Academy of Sciences and the Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.

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