Have you ever pet a fox? Noah has.
As we were strolling along the piers in San Francisco we were surprised to see a fox on a leash. The fox was bred in Russia as a result of an experiment to isolate tame and domesticated behavior. This same experimental program was also used to breed an ultra aggressive fox... so I guess they have an advantage in the animal warfare department.
We did manage to venture outside of the Fisherman's Warf, but only once which is unfortunate because I know we missed a lot and we regret not going to the "Mission" area which is where the good food is... or so we were told. During our time we did walk to the Haight-Ashbury area which gets its fame from the 60's. Back in the day a lot of musicians lived in this area, but if you ask different people on exactly which houses they lived in you are likely to get different answers. Either way, these folks lived somewhere around here; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Greatful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Gram Nash, Sid Vicious, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Rice and (unfortunately) Charles Manson and Patty Hearst.
Nowadays this area has a bunch of hippie shops, co-ops, coffee shops and guitars stores (at which I stopped and played a Jimi tune on an acoustic, because.... well it seemed appropriate). We picked up some organic raw milk cheeses and artisan pepperoni from the co-op, seen in the photo next to the Hendrix mural, to rejuvenate us from the long walk.
Ahh the walk, I suppose you've heard of the hills in San Francisco... well they are no joke.
On our last day in San Francisco we went to the Aquarium of the Bay, which is retrospect was over priced for it's small size ($22/person) but did have an aquarium tunnel.
On our trip home we had an overnight layover, which isn't so bad when it's in Hawaii. We had a day to walk around Waikiki and enjoy the perfect weather. We found great breakfast place in Waikiki called Goofy's, they use organic ingredients (when available) and have a cool atmosphere (no Disney affiliation).
We made a pit stop at a City playground and Noah ran free for a while and never stopped smiling!
NOAH NEWS: Nothing really, he's just adorable so here are a couple more pictures.
Dad had a conference to attend in San Francisco last week so the whole family went along. There are only two flights on and off the island each week (Fri and Mon), so we were gone from from Monday to Monday. It was the first time Noah was aware of flying and he was excited by all the planes he saw, he did get a little stir crazy but he behaved well for the most part. It's a five and a half hour flight to Hawaii and then another five and a half to San Francisco, so we were all a little stir crazy.
It was nice to have some of the mainland conveniences and buy items we can't get here in A.S. We squeezed in as much "feral dog free" walking/sightseeing as we could and Noah got to see a world that was very new to him. We never made it to the Golden Gate Bridge but it was usually within view, it's pretty amazing to see it rise higher than those hills.
Our hotel was located in tourist central, otherwise known as Fisherman's Warf, and we were very close to lots of shops and restaurants. Pier 39 was just a couple blocks over and we spent some time watching the sea lions sunbathe, looking at Alcatraz and enjoying all the pier had to offer.
In the midst of all the touristy "food" we were able to find a couple gems during our short stay. Just around the corner from our hotel was the Hollywood Cafe, this is a great breakfast spot and we ended up going back on a second occasion. The plates are overflowing with food and fruit, I will let the pictures do the talking.
The sourdough in San Francisco is well known and can be found everywhere. Most of it originates from the famous Boudin bakery which is also within the Fisherman's Warf. I think sourdough was served with every meal we ate during our stay, you can see Noah chomping down some in the benedict picture above! We stopped by the bakery for some snacks and watched them make the bread.
We also found a great organic french fry place called "3 Potato 4", although technically nothing is fried and, as the sign on their wall says, they are not French. They use all organic ingredients and a super convection oven to make their fries and have three varieties, including sweet potatoes.
Breadfruit is a staple in the Samoan diet, it's a starchy yellow food and can be found growing on trees all over the island. It is commonly cooked in the embers of an Umu (underground oven), it can boiled and then tossed in coconut milk or fried to make chips. We like all versions, I personally like to eat the Umu roasted breadfruit with some humus, quiet the good combo although not very Samoan.
This is a breadfruit tree, the "fruit" is ready when it begins to take on a yellowish hue from its normal green. If you looked online you might find people saying you can eat it raw when it's perfectly ripe, however, you will never find anyone on this island to agree with that. When I mentioned it I was met with funny looks from several people and told that it will give you a bad stomach ache if you tried it raw.
Some Umu roasted breadfruit (with a few bananas under there too), you can't see any in this picture but it does have a few little edible seeds.
Breadfruit chips can be found in almost any store bagged up just as you see above. The sticker varies based on the family who makes them. I'm not sure what to compare them to, maybe plantain chips... but softer/chewier....
By now you can probably guess that we went to a beach over the weekend, but at least we have a new one to report on this time. About a month ago we had heard rumors of a new public beach out past Amouli, but we weren't too enthusiastic because it's about 90 minute drive from our house. Last Sunday we decided to test Noah's car seat patience and check it out.
As you can see in the panorama above, this beach has 3 fale's and lots of sand. The sand is deep, soft and there is a lot of washed up coral and shells. In the picture below you can see Aunu'u Island behind Mom and Noah.
On top of being a long drive this beach is also expensive if you want to use a fale. They cost $25, $35 and $75 from smallest to biggest, it's $5 a person to just use the bathroom and shower which is located across the street, but it is free if you just want to hang out on the beach.
When we arrived there was no proprietor in sight and when we went to look for one we were met by two very angry dogs running in my direction. We quickly retreated to the beach after which the owner came down to tell us the dogs don't bite and it would be $10 to use the bathrooms/showers. We have been on this island long enough to know there are very few dogs here that don't bite and these two were definitely not among them. So instead of spending the day watching our backs, we jumped back in the car and headed to Two Dollar Beach.... again.
Our time at this beach was short but it's the furthest East we have been as a family. Dad, however, has been all the way to the eastern tip of the island, Tula, to help a family with some new construction.
The picture below is of the little finger of land on the map just above the arrow. Notice the antenna on top of that peak? It's a NOAA antenna. This village was hit in the tsunami of 2009 and a lot of villagers took refuge up near the antenna and set up make shift homes. A year or so later some people were still living there when a NOAA employee came by to do whatever it is he did. Upon arriving he told the people still living up there that it was NOAA property and they had to leave. He then learned a hard lesson on how incredibly sensitive the Samoan culture is when it comes to land ownership. An elder villager promptly attacked him with a machete, luckily he was restrained by others and the NOAA employee only lost the fingers on one hand. While the violence is less common, it is still common place for conflict in Villages and families over land. For example, we were discussing a hike on the North side of the island, but were told by friends that that trail was off limits because there was a land dispute and the roads had been blocked.
So... back to our beach hopping. After checking out the new beach, we snapped a quick picture of the bay off the shores of Amouli and continued to Two Dollar Beach were we had to hide out in a fale for a bit while some rain showers passed. Then is was fun in the sun!
We ventured a little West of the beach to and area we haven't swum yet and ran into a local fisherman....
And of course we did some snorkeling...
The Jaskowiak Family
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