18 October 2003 Back to main hiker's page

Play Date Review and Tale of Salsa Dancing Denied

As advertised, Oktoberfest and dancing were the scheduled activities last Saturday. Dave and I augmented that with a bonsai hike up Windy Hill that morning, figuring that we needed the training for the beer drinking and dancing to come.

Overall, the reviews of the Oktoberfest seemed to fall into one of two camps: 1. it wasn't worth the money and hassle, and 2. it was Way Fun. Membership in these camps was highly correlated to beer consumption and the amount of wild abandoned dancing executed. :-)

I personally would have loved to have been in that later camp but the 15 minute lines to get beer put a crimp in that plan. By the time we finally got our first beers after having waited through three lines, several of us were fairly soured on the event even before having the opportunity to drink the beer and enjoy the exuberance of the dance floor. We did get to hear the Polka Band cover John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads twice while waiting ... :-)

Lisa tells me that the beer lines were less than 5 minutes last year and that the event has grown enormously each year. So maybe this is just "growing pains." However, an Oktoberfest should consider dispensing beer one of the core competencies that must be held dear!

Dave, Rebecca, Ralph and I decided that we wanted to hit the Annie Leibovitz "Rewarding Lives" exhibition next door at the Herbst Pavilion before rendezvousing with the rest of the entourage at Cafe Cocomo for Salsa Dancing. Annie Leibovitz is an amazing photographer and this exhibit is well worth seeing; it's open 10am-10pm daily through December first. The exhibition was originally created to welcome American Express employees back to their Manhattan headquarters after 9/11. The San Francisco installation is the first stop of a three year tour. They've picked a very fun linkage of the photos that I think you'll like. You can find out more about the exhibit at http://www.themoderns.com.

By the time we'd finished the exhibition it was time to get in the car and drive over to Cafe Cocomo to meet the rest of the gang and try our hand at Salsa Dancing (I gave everyone prominent warning that I am completely incapable of any kind of coordinated dancing but also said that I was game to try anything two or more times). Sadly, when we got to the club, we were informed that our attire was far too plebeian and we weren't allowed in (see the DRESSCODE section here). Since we hadn't been prepared for the $35 dance lesson that was probably just as well. We'll just have to go back some time soon more prepared, morally, spiritually and coiffed appropriately.

At this point we decided that This Was Just Not Our Day To Visit The City and that hanging out in a nice relaxing bar with a good appetizer selection was the Thing To Do. Of course, given my presence in the party and my newly acquired title of Bad Influence, this rapidly escalated into a full blow dinner at Tamarine, an upscale trendy Vietnamese Fusion restaurant/bar in Palo Alto.We had a great meal and an absurdly good cheap Gewurztraminer (Valckenberg, 2001) followed by dessert and cognac. Everyone agreed that the Fallen Chocolate Lava Cake was pretty far over the top. I think if it had been any better we would have had to scoop Dave up off the carpet.

All in all a very successful day.

Sunday I did the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve Loop on my mountain bike since I hadn't been out on it in several weeks. Are any of you interested in mountain biking? If not, I've got to seed the list with a few mountain bikers so I can share the experience. Come on, you know you want to learn. All your friends are doing it ... you want to be cool, don't you? :-)


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