The best way to ride a cable car is on the outside. On this ride, the conductor was very laissez faire. On the ride back, another conductor was as bossy as a nun. There was no leaning out, no leaning in, no gum chewing and no talking on cell phones! We all sat with our hands folded.
Synchronicity – Dave R., who lives near SF, and his lovely girlfriend Leslie traveled to Costa Rica one week after we were there. And they had a similar but wilder falling-out-of the raft/whitewater rafting story. Leslie fell out and rode the rapids raftless. (I didn’t get to a chance to fall out of our raft, but our guide did.) They saw more crocs, too.
We also picked the same restaurant as a first choice for dinner in Oakland – Le Cheval, a large, slightly noisy but excellent Vietnamese restaurant. We had a whole fish with the usual condiments (bunches of lettuce, basil, and bamboo shoots) The waitress showed us how to ‘cook’ rice paper wrappings and roll the fish & veggies up together. You need a bowl of hot water and a stack of dried rice paper wrappers (these look like round sheets of thin acrylic before they’re dipped in hot water.)
Dip the wrappings in hot water, then use the side of your chopstick to stuff as much fish and veggies into the roll as you can. Roll it up and dip it in the sauce.
Of course, we just about closed the place, as bloggers tend to do.
Chinatown was great despite the rain. The cold gave me a huge craving for tea, so I stopped by a neighborhood place and had bubble tea followed by a few cups of the hot stuff. Sitting in a place where the signs were all written in Chinese, where everyone was speaking Chinese, I felt very much at home. I guess it’s because I’ve been going to Chinese restaurants since I was a kid. When my husband and I travel to European nations with traditionally unappetizing food (Britain, Ireland, etc) we always head for the Chinese restaurants. It’s comfort food.
In Little Italy, I stopped by a bakery and had the most decadent Chocolate cake ever. It’s actually a flourless Chocolate–Almond torte. I must try this at home!