2:05 AM Minnesota Time/ 12:05 AM LA Time
We were greeted at LAX by Uber Uncle. Yaya, in her pink fuzzy, footy-jammies leaped into his arms and proclaimed her love with kisses and hugs and hand holding that didn't stop until she was buckled into the back of the Big Red Car so we could speed through the LA area under the cloak of darkness.
And thus began our Great California Adventure.
The first day, we walked "a couple of miles" to pick up my nieces from school. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Two hours later, we were still walking. And I mean power walking! FAST! Luckily, the company was fantastic and the weather was brilliant and it felt so great to be able to breathe. Outside. Without a coat. People live like that all of the time - who knew?
Day two: Johanna and I loaded the littlest and the nieces into the all-terrain stroller and headed out in search of adventure.
First stop - the city bus. We loaded "all aboard!" and off we went. The girls brought an uncharged cell phone and bright red caps. You wouldn't believe how many people told us that it wasn't healthy to let our children talk on the phone that much. We just told them that times, they are a-changin! Then we mumbled something about using their imaginations and blah blah blah. And we smiled. And they laughed. And the girls passes the uncharged cell phone back and forth - taking turns calling their fathers and their dogs.
After the bus, we found our way onto the Metro. A bus and a train in one day - Yaya was in heaven!
Finally, we landed in Chinatown.
It was heaven. The adventure was filled with yummy eats
- Pho and Boba -
and fragrant smells that wafted from stores that boasted floor to ceiling shelves jammed full of unmarked glass jars filled with ground spices and aisles filled with buckets of fresh flowers and strings of lanterns and boxes of black silk shoes and stacks of parasols and glass cases filled with candy in wrappers that were printed with words that we didn't understand, but honestly didn't care - we'd try anything because it was an adventure.
We strolled through markets full of everything and nothing. We talked to everyone who'd say hello.
We filled the mini-go-round with pockets full of quarters and laughed until our bellies hurt at the green shaking space ship.
We held hands and skipped through our adventure until we were too tired to walk.
Then, after one last trip to the florescent flicker of the public restroom, we climbed "all aboard!" and headed home. Our pockets were full of candy wrappers and out-of-date Chinese New Year cards.
We slept on the train in each others arms, rested in the warm afternoon sun while we waited for the bus and dozed on the carpeted seats of the bus that took us safely home to dinner and Dora and a half-sleep over.
We were tired and crabby and deliriously happy and ravenously hungry and too tired to eat.
And it was good.