D was a bit tired (I wonder if he's been fighting off some low-grade bug) but he did like looking at the fish swimming around. I brought our camera and 50mm lens and got some decent photos which will be fun to look through (I'm currently uploading the last of the Tahoe pics to flickr, so tomorrow or next week I'll get to go through this weekend's photos...). I don't know what it is, but marine life just fascinates me. At one point I considering majoring in marine biology in college. There's just so much cool STUFF that lives underwater, so many creepy creatures and things that resemble nothing you would ever see on land, ever. In one section they were playing videos of different tests they'd put the resident octopus through, an animal that can stretch out several feet or squeeze down into a tiny ball and fit through holes the size of a softball, that has the mind of a 3yr old child (and looking at how friggin smart Donovan already seems to be, that is mighty impressive) and it's just astounding how COOL these creatures are. So yeah, as you can tell, I enjoy checking out aquariums, more even than I like zoos, and I look forward to many trips with Donovan as he grows up. Judging from how he was watching the fish, and how he always immediately points out the shark picture in his animal picture book as soon as I turn to that page, I have a feeling he and I might share this interest.
It was mid-afternoon by the time we left the aquarium. Jen went off on her way, Mom and Philip drove back home with Donovan, and Zach and I were FREE! lol We drove downtown to our hotel, found parking, checked in, and lounged in our room for a bit before dinner. I'd scouted out a few places to eat on Yelp.com, and when I was telling Jenny about them she suggested we try one called Cafe Claude which she recognized because they are apparently frequent supporters of the organization where she works and wanted to send some support back to them. It's a little French bistro near Union Square (an area apparently overrun with French bistros) that had good reviews. We found it pretty quickly, and it really did have a classic European feel to it-- tucked away inside a little alleyway, using the same decorations from blocking off the seated area from the street as we would often see overseas, lined inside with white-tablecloth-covered 2-person tables squished in together so tightly that the staff had to pull the table out forthe person sitting on the inside booth. The interesting thing here, though, is that while in Europe people usually were more intent on privacy and not wanting to bother the people next to them that they usually kept to their own party, whereas here in this Euro-styled restaurant filled with Americans, conversations overlapped tables frequently. We were at the center table of a row of 5, and at some point throughout our meal each table along this row had a conversation with one (or more) of the tables next to it. We talked to 3 different couples, from a kooky pair where the husband reminded us of that crazy professor you had in college with the white man's afro, to a Persian woman who recommended a great Persian restaurant right down the road in Campbell, to a cute young couple visiting from Kentucky. I know Americans sometimes get a bad rap with foreigners for being "superficial" or "fake" for being so chatty and warm with people with whom we have no intention of forming long-term connections, but I really like how open and friendly we are (or at least can be) as a culture.
Our waiter was impressive, keeping both ours and the table next to our's multi-course order in mind without writing a thing down. The food was great- I ordered the coq au vin before realizing I've had that dish before (elsewhere) and don't really love the sauce, but the chicken itself was so tender and yummy, and I had a bite of Zach's lamb and it was delicious. For dessert I went with the creme brulee, which I ordered constantly in Europe and it totally hit the spot. I mentioned to the waiter that we'd been recommended to the restaurant by my sister and the organization she works for, and I'm pretty sure it was because of this that he later brought us each a complimentary glass of dessert wine. Overall a great dinner. I can't remember the last time Zach and I went out for a really nice meal like that... We probably shouldn't do that too often, since the bill was not cheap, but sure is nice to treat ourselves every so often. ; )
We walked around a bit afterwards, then headed back to the hotel for the night. In the morning we took our time getting up, eventually made our way downstaurs for breakfast, went back up to figure out our plan for the day and ended up watching one of the recent Harry Potter movies on tv until check-out time. We then walked around Union Square, marveling at the gorgeous sunshine, did a bit of browsing and shopping, and eventually (around 3pm I think?) headed back on home.
Donovan seemed happy enough to see me, though he really threw his arms out to Zach, of course. We played a bit, and at one point he was laughing and I looked at his teeth and realized that the teeth that he got on top that I'd thought were cuspids are actually his first molars, and HOLY COW no wonder he's been a bit more whiney lately! These things are HUGE and one of them hasn't even come all the way through yet! Impressive. Also, kinda cool, since I think his bottom ones are gonna come through soon, too, which won't be fun but then once he has them he'll be able to chew things better which is exciting (you can probably tell by that last sentence that our teething experiences, while not pleasant, have truly not been all that bad, something I am extremely grateful for, considering some of the doozies I've heard).
Tomorrow is om and Philip's last day. Luckily their flight's fairly late in the day so they get to spend a good bit of Sunday with us still. It's gonna be sad to see them go, I know Mom's trying not to think of how much she'll miss Donovan after getting to spend 3 whole weeks with him. These are the moments when it really tugs at my heartstrings, and I feel guilty that we've chosen to live so far away from so much of our family... Oh well. We'll just have to visit often, right?