On Thursday we took the kids to the big city. We have been wanting to explore the International District and eat in China Town.
I looked online for restaurant recommendations and picked one. I really wanted good Chinese food....not the American version of fried congealed saucy junk you usually find around our town. I had high hopes...and said a few prayers.
We were seated by a very friendly woman. This is a BIG DEAL! When you walk into a restaurant with five kids you are often not warmly welcomed. We were off to a good start.
We could tell the decor was a bit dated....and there was a large broken window near us that had a board nailed over it and cold wind coming through....and there was a huge water damage spot on the ceiling above us. Eeeeeks, Cam and I nervously giggled to each other.
But, it was clean and that goes a long way.
The kind waitress brought hot tea and the kids were thrilled!!
A lot of tea was consumed....with sugar of course.
Moses got ready for the main event and was excited to use his chop sticks.
We ordered four different lunch specials. There was a TON of food!! The kids were in heaven! They LOVED it!! The nice waitress brought extra fried rice just because she knows kids love it. She's right! The kids are still talking about how good the food was.
Now, if you want to know the truth...Cam and I thought the food was okay. Actually, I think what I said was, "well, it wasn't disgusting". Ha!! It wasn't the best and it wasn't the worst. And...the bonus is that the whole lunch cost us $34.00. No kidding!!! There was so much food left over that the kids ate it for dinner.
After lunch we hit the streets to explore China Town and Japan Town. There are two distinct areas of the city with shops, restaurants, and businesses.
We went to the huge international grocery store that we love. It's so much fun!! Everyone got our favorite Hawaiian juice and some rice treats.
We found a huge beautiful community garden on a hillside. You can walk all around and look at the plots and see what is growing. There were even chickens!
We found some bamboo and it's Cam's favorite plant so we had to get a photo. This would be a good time for all reasonable people to leave a comment telling Cam NOT to plant bamboo in our yard.
We went to a noodle factory and they also make fortune cookies. We bought a humongous bag of them. They were so good and the kids loved reading the fortunes.
The best thing we saw was very somber. We spent time telling the kids about what happened in Japan Town during WWII and how the Japanese were rounded up and interned. Many of those families lost their businesses and property. I read a great book called On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet a few years ago. The book is about that time in our city's history. There is a hotel featured in the book and the building is still standing. There is a tea shop there and we brought the kids to visit. I had the most delicious cup of tea.
I was enjoying looking at the photos on the walls when a man sitting at a table asked me if I'd seen the window in the floor. I hadn't seen it so I walked back to look. A hole had been cut in the floor revealing the basement below. In the basement are items that were left behind by families leaving for internment. In the book I read about how people put all of their things into storage and some never returned to claim it. It was moving to see those items frozen in time....a baby buggy, suitcases, clothing, boxes. It's a shameful part of our country's history. We showed the window to the kids and talked lots about it.
It was a good day. Family fun and history lesson all in one.
On our way home we decided to stop at a big park that we've never been to. It was the perfect photo opportunity. I recently dubbed my kids, "The Fab Five" and I think this pic sums that up perfectly. for a laugh...look closely at Sis's face. She is such a hoot!
In turn, one of the kids said Cam and I are, "The Terrific Two". Nice!
More adventures to come....yes, we were exhausted after our staycation.