The Oakland Occasion – or how dad got it right – in the end!

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Meet the Daddo Family

Meet the Daddo Family


Oakland, California (CA) 2012

The Occasion

Lotus’s 16th Birthday

The Mission

Give Lotus an experience to remember!

The Possibilities

  1. Birthday in Paris, France then drive to Berlin for a dear friends marriage… cost $15,000 …at least
  2. 2 tickets to Coachella (open air rock show in Palm Desert, CA) with accom and food… cost $2000 …at least
  3. 2 tickets to Black Keys/Artic Monkeys concert (played @Coachella) in Oakland, CA… cost $750

Winner… contestant #3

Ok, so we were feeling a bit guilty… all Lotus wanted to do was go to Coachella for her 16th birthday… that meant coming up with the $500/ticket, we’d need two because there’s no way we were going to allow her to go without one of us… and since it was a 3 day concert with porta-loos, dust and no running water, it was going to be me…

So, Coachella came and went, with huffs and puffs from our eldest… “ALL of my friends are going… GOD!!”, she spent the Sunday afternoon with one of several that could not afford the ticket too.

Ali then made the correct assumption that some of the Coachella bands would stay in the area to maximize their visibility, she found Lotus’s favorite bands were playing in Oakland (across the bay from San Francisco) the weekend after her birthday… get the tickets now, I said, we’re going.

It was on a Friday, so we’d have to give the kids the day off school… we decided to ensure an early departure and regular nights sleep by informing them the morning of, after they’d got up and readied for school… an excellent plan that worked a treat… “you know kids, you can have the day off, we’re gonna drive to San Francisco… and Lotus, you and mum are going to this…”. Ali handed her the tickets, she cried with joy and surprise. River and Bodhi jumped for joy, cause they just love having a day off school.

California Dreamin'

We left at 10am, dropped the dog off at a friends and trundled up Interstate 5, to Oakland. With the aid of a GPS, a tank of gas, and lunch, we arrived at the Oakland Hilton Hotel at 5pm. Enough time to have dinner, sort out who was sleeping on the floor and who had a bed in our modest room. The gals were donning their doc martins and makeup for the show whilst the young kids and I hit the hot tub for some who-can-stay-under-longest competitions. Some time whilst we were under the water, they left for the show.

All was great… til I got out of the hot tub and saw five missed calls from Ali… I listened for her messages, the first two were hang-ups, then I saw a text, we made it, all good. Do we take the 880 home?

So I didn’t bother listening to the other messages and THAT was my second mistake…

…it was then I realised that they did not have the GPS (we only brought the GPS with along with us to get them to and from the concert without hassle) and believe me, if you ever go to Oakland… you MUST have a GPS. What a nightmare it is negotiating the freeway cloverleafs… even with a GPS, it’s still trouble… who designed this system?…a kindergartener with a crayon? WOW!

I digress.

My cell phone rang at 11pm… dad we are lost, we can’t get home, how do we get home? I was a half-awake, bumbling mess… I grabbed the GPS in a vain attempt to direct them home, pity it wouldn’t work inside the hotel!!! I did my best to calm Lotus down in my best I -am-not-stressed voice, which sounds very much like my I-am-very-stressed voice and encouraged her to call the hotel for directions… the number I gave her was written on the room phone and as it turned out, not the correct number at all.

At 12.30pm, they came through the door. With my non-existent cap in hand, I greeted them and made sure that I LISTENED to everything they had to say before I said a word. I didn’t speak for at least 10 minutes… yup, they were pretty mad.

When the subject changed to the show, their demeanor changed… they spoke of the great music and most excellent nose-bleed seats! What a night!

Tree hugging in California

Day 2

We went into Muir Woods on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, a tree museum for the mighty Redwoods and Sequoias… some, 3000 years old. We went into Tiburon for lunch and found ourselves in an Italian restaurant on the waterfront, beside a Mexican restaurant, which was celebrating Cinco de Mayo (May 5) with a hot mariachi band banging away… fun. We visited the jellybean store. River would eat an entire bag and later throw them up with his dinner on top!

On our way back to SF, we stopped at picturesque Blackie’s Paddock (an old horse who lived for 40 years back in the 1930s). They have a great bronze statue of Blackie looking over the water. The kids climbed over him as though he were the perfect vaulting horse, whilst Lotus slept in the back of the car, or was she texting her mates back in LA about the Keys show…?

Ali, River, Bodhi and I then found ourselves squelching and slushing through the softest black mud on the beach that had been left stranded by the outgoing tide… only Bodh’s fell over and got wet.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Onto San Francisco and into Chinatown, first to get Bodhi some shoes (she lost one at lunch over the edge of the jetty), a “happy suit” to exchange for her wet and muddy clothes, and dinner …the BEST Chinese cheapy in town, House Of Nanking… you are in and out of there in 25 mins, with a full belly of great food and atmosphere… The staff don’t really like to talk to you in there, but that’s part of the charm… make sure you have the Jasmine tea.

Another swim in the hot tub and good nights’ sleep, then home again Sunday… we made it by 430pm, in time for a cuppa and to pick up the dog.

A cheap and cheerful weekend, with a great memory for a brilliant 16 year old, Lotus Daddo – not to mention the other four members of the family.

Out & About with Kids welcomes our newest contributorsMeet The Daddo Family! Dad, Cameron, Mum, Ali and their three gorgeous children, Lotus, River and Bodhi. From the USA to Australia, the Daddos will be constantly updating us on their travels, getaways and family adventures!