Saturday, July 18, 2015

an amazing train trip to Sacramento

Today was pretty exciting as we went to Sacramento with the China-America Shanghai Friendship Association. Our family friend Ching-Lin had invited us on a field trip organized by the club, to which we happily obliged. There were around 30 other families!

The morning began with a rendezvous at the Amtrak station in Fremont. This was a new experience as we had never been on Amtrak before. Although the train had a 8:20 a.m. departure time, my parents and I had to get up fairly early as the organizer of the event had asked everyone to arrive by 7:40 a.m.

The ride to Sacramento was about two and a half hours long. The train picked up numerous other families at various stops; there were so many of us that we took up nearly an entire car. Ching-Lin acted as the tour guide during the ride; his knowledge of the history of California was particularly impressive.

After arriving in Sacramento, our party split into groups and rode the bus to the California State Capitol. It was almost noon at this point, so we had a picnic lunch in the adjacent Capitol Park before signing up for a guided tour of the building. The tour was quite informative; I had no idea the Capitol could be so fascinating.

Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park awaited us next. However, the front doors were locked. We thought the place was closed and were about to leave when someone noticed a second entrance. The tour guides were awesome and more than happy to accommodate our schedule. The mansion was beautiful and gave us a glimpse of what life for the 1% used to be like. It's a shame photography wasn't allowed inside. I can't wait to be able to download pictures from my brain. ^_^

The final stop was Old Sacramento. Our families took a stroll to the picturesque Tower Bridge and checked out local shops. The weather was extremely hot, but one of the caf├ęs had cheap ice cream. I enjoyed a double scoop before heading back to the Amtrak station.

It was hard to bid farewell to all the cool people we met. The evening concluded with dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant in Sunnyvale. While the tapas were delicious, the fish wasn't too fresh and the water tasted terrible. To be honest, this wasn't exactly a stellar dining experience.

The field trip had a few funny moments. There was a cutout of Doge in a window at the California State Capitol. One of the girls noticed that I recognized the meme and decided that "Mr. Doge" was my new name. It was rather comical to say the least. The other thing is that several moms asked me whether I was still in college. That made me feel young for sure. :D

The only downside is that there were few people my age; most of the millennials in our group were high school students. I guess twenty-somethings don't hang out much with their families anymore. The day trip was nonetheless a major highlight of the summer. I definitely hope similar events are being planned for the future. In the meantime, you can go here for the pictures.

Currently listening to: "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone

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