It’s Been So Long Since I’ve Been to China

15 11 2007

Earlier this year my sisters and parents came for a visit. Hungry for Chinese food we opted for Chinatown instead of the more reliable Richmond. Upon exiting the elevator at Portsmouth Square, home of pagodas and scores of Chinese senior citizens, our niece Isabel, who was then four, announced loudly, “It’s been so long since I’ve been to China!”

It was in this same spot yesterday afternoon that I attempted to feed Hugo (he once again insisted upon taking the initiative) while several shriveled women clicked their tongues in disapproval. They seemed satisfied with my parenting style when he was passed out in his Bjorn but their opinions darkened when he began to whine and weep. By then I knew it was time for our Chinatown jaunt to end.

Otherwise it had been another succesful outing. We took the Muni streetcar down and walked the streets, poking our heads into shops as I searched for a mini-Kung Fu outfit that would fit Hugo (alas, no luck) and, having no bottle of my own, I searched fruitlessly for a takeout Dim Sum joint (what’s with that? I know of several on Clement Street). As we tiptoed around tourists and 200-year Chinese women I came to a sad realization: Hugo is going to have a hard time finding novelty license plates bearing his name. Time and again we scanned racks of license plates and “[Insert Name Here] Parking Only” signs to notice that “Hugo” was omitted. Sure, there were Haleys and Hannahs and Heathers, and Heathers, Hectors, Hollys, and Haleys (Haley??), but no Hugos.

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3 responses

16 11 2007
Sandra C

This is cracking me up. Where are you going to go tomorrow?! I think there should be a Fisherman’s Wharf/Alcatraz trip at some point. Coit Tower? Lombard?

16 11 2007
Juan

Good idea Sandra. Today we took the bus to West Portal then hopped on an L train to the zoo. It was freezing by the time we got there and Hugo was annoyed so we just hopped on the return train. Tomorrow we may go to the East Bay (via BART) to see Sacha for lunch. Alcatraz may be cool (I haven’t been since I was a kid) but I’m not sure how Hugo will like boats…

16 11 2007
Tom MonPere

Juan:
This is a great chronicle of your travels with Hugo. You should turn it into a children’s book. I loved Isabel’s line about “returning to China.” It is like following a traveler’s account of their latest trip.
Tom

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