Our tour guide, Linda Lee, was born and raised in Chinatown and therefore gave us a unique perspective from an insiders point of view. She was very knowledgeable, funny with a remarkable memory (she remembered where we all were from and our names) and knows Chinatown like the back of her hand. We started at St. Mary's Cathedral, proceeded on to the park, went on to a Chinese pharmacy and then saw a pagoda type building where the Chinese telephone operators used to work. The Chinese grocery store was packed with people and the floor muddy- we just walked through and left but was interesting. We visited a fortune cookie factory (an American invention) and got a free sample and then saw the Chinese Language school. The last stop (and my favorite) was a Buddhist temple where we walked upstairs, saw a monk and went to the altar. The youngest tourist got to drop a thing that looked like pixie sticks to get the answer to her question. The answer was a poem, written in Chinese which she was required to look up. Afterwards, we visited some shops and had dim sum at Oriental Pearl, where we saw our tour guide with patrons who opted for the dim sum lunch ($50 for tour and lunch). This walking tour was very enjoyable and I liked learning about what was in Chinatown, as opposed to just walking around blindly. It was $30 for a two hour tour. There are hills and a fair amount of walking, so this tour may not be a good choice for people who can't get around too well. It would also probably be kind of boring for very young children, but pre-teens and teenagers should be fine.
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