I think the key to having a good vacation is letting go of my checklists.
As an INFJ, the physical space around me is chaotic but my time is structured. I like the bird’s eye view of charting things on a monthly calendar. And lists, handwritten on scraps of paper that I either lose or run through the laundry. Still, I make lists.
I began packing for Boston the night before. Jake always packs the morning of. Even though it makes me feel better to pack ahead, I forget more stuff than when I scramble. Sure enough, I forgot half my make-up.
Youtubers are always doing “Applying my make-up with ONLY my fingers!” or “Doing a full-face of make-up only using cream products!” challenges. I got to do both each day!
The flights to and from Boston were a dream.
You haven’t really experienced Boston until someone from Boston gets annoyed and hollers at you.
It was very clear we were Midwestern, with our big, open smiles and enthusiastic, “Hellos!”
Twice a day, we observed some sort of profanity-filled shouting match. I watched a man try to open the door to a cheery sweet shop. When it wouldn’t open, he cursed it from the heavens to the ground. From our Airbnb we heard couples yelling at each other on the street. One woman yelled at me for giving her too much space as I let her pass by on the sidewalk.
I had the most boring happy hour birthday crawl by myself in San Francisco.
I’m a lightweight which makes any type of bar crawl impossible.
On my birthday I found myself in San Francisco alone. I flew out mid-day with Jake meeting me after a work conference later that night.
My grand plan was to wander around the general vicinity of my hotel and happy hour hop.
San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The rent and property prices are insane. It’s not unusual to see happy hour cocktails go for $12. This is unheard of in the Twin Cities. Despite the high cost of living, there are plenty of more affordable food and beverage options around the city.
Here are a few happy hour specials we found within walking distance of Union Square.
These two meals in San Francisco especially stood out.
North Beach is a neighborhood that’s like a little Italy. It’s located between the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 area and Chinatown. Where the neighborhoods merge is an intriguing intersection of Asian and Italian restaurants.
As first time visitors, we felt overwhelmed at all of the dining options. We had such limited time that we wanted to make sure we didn’t fall into a tourist trap.
With all of my research, recommendations from people we met along the way, and gut feelings as we walked by a place, we were left to choose our own adventures.
The Li Po Lounge is a mood.
The inside is dimly lit and there is no food. Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine” hummed in the background, followed by Puddle of Mud’s “Blurry.”
The sign advertising the signature Mai Thai listed three types of rum, “Chinese Liquor” and pineapple juice. “Are we supposed to pick one of the rums?” I asked Jake. “No, it includes them all.”
Bourdain featured Li Po Lounge in his San Francisco episode of The Layover. Toasting him in a place that he loved with a drink that he liked felt very important. This Mai Tai here felt more like a quest.