Friday 29th – chance meetings and like minded people. 

Most of the morning is taken up searching online, phoning and visiting possible places to buy redline Indian cotton diapers, as I learn to call them here. Tara has suddenly thought it’s possible we may get them here now they are not available in New Zealand. With our girls ‘Eco Warriors’ they use the cloth folded in a variety of ways as baby nappies. Indian cotton is the best quality cotton for absorbency and long life. Even when they tell me they are just a flat square, more questions reveal they are padded in the centre. It seems like a fantastic idea to have them padded in the centre, but we hate them. Pods with dozens of over nappy options. The reality is these are much harder to dry, especially if you’re wanting to be dependant on the sun and wind rather than an electric dryer. We are in the middle of the city and high fashion is on every street. Baby needs are not. “You need to go where babies live, the concierge tells Ren. In the suburbs.” We visit a couple of places and are told we need to go out of the city and reluctantly concede. Meanwhile Bo, whom we met in Spain has texted to ask if we can catch up and today is our only opportunity.  

We jump on Bart to go to Oakland for lunch. It’s so easy to get around. Bart starts underground, goes under the water to cross San Francisco Bay and then up as we enter West Oakland and down again to where we get off at 19th street. Numbered streets is such an easy system to follow. Bo meets us there and I can hardly remember what he looks like until we see him. Then he is exactly as I remember! We met in Spain and he has been following my blog, so knew we were close by. We had a lovely lunch at a place he part owns before he gave us a little tour. It was really interesting and nice to see an area quite different to San Francisco. Wandering down to Maret Lake which was so pretty, and like Bo said as we sipped wine water side, we could have been in any Mediterranean city in the world as a Gondola slipped by 

I gave Bo our address and hope his travels takes him to our side of the world and we get the Subway back, arriving just before 5pm when we are to meet Victoria who whisks us away to a restaurant for dinner. Gee Kin, their daughter, Julie-anne and her partner Jeff arrives soon after and we have a lovely evening full of laughter. They are incredulous at our story of returning to China with five children, some twenty years ago and staying in the village. Victoria encourages me to copy my scribbly handwritten diaries from then, into a digital medium for the children to read and I think that might be added to my list of projects. It seems like a good winter evening activity so perhaps next year! 

The kitchen gardens of the restaurant

Gee Kin kindly shares his family tree with us to take back as there are so many similarities to Gilbert’s Dad and his Dad’s story, and we are sure there must be some family connection there. It is fascinating to me that a year ago Lauren jumped on a bus on the way to San Hose. The same bus that Gee Kin and Victoria from San Francisco jumped on and hearing her accent as she checked something with the driver, asked her if she was a kiwi. Not only did they come from the same area in NZ, they also shared the same surname with families from Guangzhou, China, and now we think the families are possibly connected. There will be some more to talk about I’m sure. 

We uber back to our hotel and marvel at chance meetings and like minded people. 

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