San Francisco City Tour

My aunt from Chicago was in town last week so I was racking my brain trying to plan an itinerary for the week.  She was staying with my sister in the Bay Area so we planned trips to San Francisco, Napa Valley and Sonoma, Monterey and Carmel. A tour of San Francisco is always a must for somebody who has never been to the city. I have had amazing experiences with limo companies and discovered that they not only rent limos, but cars and SUVs.

Since there were a total of 5 on the trip to San Francisco, we rented a 7-passenger Chevy Suburban from a company that provides limo service in San Francisco. The rate was $85/hr which included everything–tip, taxes and mileage. So it was a pretty good deal. We did a 4-hour tour and got picked up at my sister’s home in Oakland. We headed across the Bay Bridge, stopped at Treasure Island on the way to catch a view of the City and the Bay Bridge. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is even more beautiful at night when the city and Bay Bridge lights are lit.

Our next stop was Union Square, San Francisco’s main shopping attraction. From there we drove through historic Chinatown and made our way to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 31. Our driver let us off to walk around the pier and take a glimpse of the sea lions and Ghirardelli Square. We also stopped for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe which was fun with a complete rainforest theme and ambience. After lunch, we headed up to the Twin Peaks to catch a breath taking 360 panoramic view of the entire city of San Francisco, the East Bay, South Bay, North Bay, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge and the Richmond Bridge. They have coin-operated binoculars for a closer look at any of these sights.

From there we drove to Golden Gate Park past the Exploratorium, Palace of Fine Arts, California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, and Japanese Tea Garden. Drove down to Baker’s Beach and Fort Mason for an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. After taking a couple photos there, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to the other side of Marin County and stopped at that end for another beautiful view of the bridge from a different angle. We observed many people walking and biking across the bridge.

We were so glad that we hired a driver to take us around as by the end of the tour we were pretty exhausted and fell asleep in the vehicle on our way home.

Terrible Twos

My niece, Olivia, just turned 2-years old and boy is she in the “terrible 2” stage. It’s amazing how a year ago, she was quiet and sweet and everybody believed she would be the “easy” mellow one compared to her brother. He has pretty much reached the end of his terrible phase and is now more easy to reason with at 4-years old.

Unfortunately, Olivia thinks everything is a game. And boy is she a poor eater. I’m assuming this is not uncommon in 2-year olds as her older brother went through a phase of not eating when he was that age. She’s also picked up her brother’s daredevil behaviors and fearlessly climbs up everything she can get her hands on and jumps off the arm rest of a sofa. It doesn’t help that she’s at an age where is imitates her hyperactive brother.

Her mom resorts to Youtube videos of lullaby songs on her iPhone when she can’t sit still and is difficult to manage.  This obviously is not a good solution over the long term as Olivia becomes accustomed to it and will throw a fit when she doesn’t give in to the videos. And I believe parents just don’t want to deal with the tantrum that that they give in for 30 minutes of silence.

While she is “terrible”, Olivia is also a very loving and caring child. She loves to be helpful and will help you put your shoes on before you leave her house and open the door and wave good-bye. She will also blow good-bye kisses. She’s a cheeseball with a big toothy grin and she loves the camera! Every time she sees her mom with the iPhone in her hand, she says “cheese mom”, to imply that she wants her photo taken.

She takes after her mom with her activeness. Spunky and sassy. She now knows how to ride her scooter. We bought a balance bike to help her learn to balance on a bike before buying one with pedals. She may also enroll in gymnastics and ballet. She also received a mini Barbie limousine courtesy of Mike at Limo San Jose. Thank you guys!

Her mom is working on developing her language skills as my nephew is a bit delayed in speech and language development, occasionally not speaking in complete sentences or speaking with grammatical errors. She has created a little classroom in her garage and spends a few hours a day working on  small activities with the kids.

It will be amazing to watch these little ones grow and learn.