Saturday, July 18, 2015

a train trip to Sacramento

"Goodbye, Mr. Doge!" -- one of the girls to me

Summer has been great as we went to Sacramento with the China-America Shanghai Friendship Association. Our family friend Ching-Lin had invited us on a day trip organized by the club. It was lots of fun as there were around 30 other families!

The day began with a drive to Fremont station. This was a new experience as we had never been on Amtrak before. Though we were scheduled to take the 8:20 train, the event organizer had asked us to arrive 40 minutes earlier. I was pretty sleepy as we had to get up no later than 6:30 a.m. On the bright side, there was plenty of time to get acquainted with others.

Lots of people got on the train at various stops. There were so many of us that we took up nearly an entire car. Ching-Lin acted as a tour guide during the two-ride ride. His knowledge of the history of California was impressive.

The train arrived in Sacramento just before noon. We split into two groups and rode the bus to the California State Capitol Museum. The surrounding Capitol Park was the perfect place for a picnic lunch. This was followed by a guided tour of the Capitol. The tour was informative and enjoyable. I had no idea the Capitol was such a fascinating place.

Just two blocks away was Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park - the site of the former governor's home. At first we thought it was closed as the front doors were locked. However, someone found a second entrance just as we were about to leave. The guides were awesome and more than happy to accommodate our schedule. The mansion was beautiful and well-preserved. It's a shame photography wasn't allowed inside.

The final stop was Old Sacramento. Our families took a stroll to the Tower Bridge and browsed local shops. This was pretty fun even though it was extremely hot outside. On the other hand, there was a small café with ice cream. I enjoyed a double scoop before we headed back to the Amtrak station.

The ride back to Fremont was uneventful, although it was hard to bid farewell to our new friends. The day concluded with dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant in Sunnyvale. The tapas were delicious, but the fish wasn't too fresh and the water tasted terrible. I can't say this was a stellar dining experience.

The trip had its funny moments. There was a picture of a Shiba Inu in a window at the California State Capitol. One of the girls decided to call me "Mr. Doge" after I made a reference to the meme. I'm sure we got some strange looks. The other thing is that several moms asked me whether I was still in college. That definitely made me feel young again. ^_^

The only downside is that there were few people my age. The other young people in our group were mostly high school students. I guess twenty-somethings don't want anything to do with their parents. The day trip was nonetheless a major highlight of the summer. I 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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