Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Adventures in San Diego: Days One & Two

It’s Tuesday night here in San Diego, some three thousand miles from Staten Island. I have just completed two days of vacation with my mother, with two more to go. I’ve been here twice, both times for Comic Con International, the four-day geek love-in. Aside from that, I did the tourist thing. I’ve been to the San Diego Zoo and marveled at pandas that barely seemed alive. Got my camera messed up by a water-swatting whale named Thunder at SeaWorld. Explored the seemingly endless museums of Balboa Park and beheld the thrill of “Trevor Time” while watching the Padres. While there were some headaches (as well as warmer weather the last time I came here), I had a lot of fun. Of course, my mother wanted in on the action. Rather than have her explore the city solo while I tried to fill my sketchbook, we decided to come over two weeks after CCI.

Day One

In a change of pace, I flew out of JFK Airport. My standard operating procedure had me taking Continental Airlines out of Newark. Instead, my mother found a good rate from JetBlue. It’s a helluva operation...there’s no in-flight meal aside from snacks and beverages, but you get DirecTV in flight. Even better, you can see what states you’re flying over on screen, as well as speed and altitude.

Sadly, the flight was the highlight of the day. We checked into a hotel, found it too removed from mass transit, and ended up making reservations at a hotel I stayed in back in 2000. On the plus side? I had a good net connection. First time I’ve brought my laptop with me...figured I’d write about the trip and do research as needed. Bottom line: we didn’t do much save for having overpriced dinner at a nearby restaurant. The room had a weird smell, I couldn’t get ice from the machine (I need a card, but which one?), and it would be a hassle to get around.

Day Two

After a quick breakfast, we went to the new hotel. I barely remembered the details from my last trip. It’s in Little Italy...nearby, there is the La Pensione Hotel, where I stayed during both trips. It was a nice place, but with no air conditioning. Even in a temperate paradise such as San Diego, the ceiling fan doesn’t cut it. The current accommodations are nice, even if the connection is at a blazing 31-something kbps (at opposed to the 54.6 maximum back home...I know, I suck for using dial-up).

We went exploring, and I’m happy to say that I got to see some new stuff. First, there was the Embarcadero, the local waterfront. The Maritime Museum is basically five ships you can tramp around inside. One of them was used in Master & can see props from the movie. I went solo on the Soviet submarine. Yes, there is a sub, and it is a tight squeeze. You wonder how stressful it was for the sailors to operate during the Cold War, wondering if they would have to risk their lives for a common cause. Or if you’re like me, you start humming, “We all live is a Russkie submarine” over and over. I’m weird.

After having a light snack and observing folks lying in the grass who might have been chemically influenced, we took a ferry to Cornonado. If you want to see some beautiful scenery, this is the place. There’s a beach, lots of waterfront joints, and a relaxing atmosphere. There’s also the Hotel Del Coronado, but that was on the other side, and we were already dog tired. There was a plan to see the Padres at Petco Park, but my mother was drained, and I wasn’t far behind. So we went back to our room, rested up, and went out to an Italian restaurant I had visited a few times. The food was delicious, but I don’t remember having to wait so long. Then again, considering that we didn’t have to wait 30-40 minutes for a table, so maybe it all evened out.

Tentative plans? Tomorrow, there’s Old Town and Balboa Park, then trying Petco. Thursday, we can take the hotel shuttle to the Zoo, and spend the day there. Along the line, I’ll have to think of stuff to see and/or revisit. Minimum, I have to reacquaint myself to the lemonade at Hot Dog On a Stick. I got hooked on the stuff two years ago. But the main goal is to have a good time, and show my mother what this city is all about.


chica said...

I loved San Diego when I went with my parents about 5 years ago. The zoo was a blast, but I thought maybe we just caught the pandas on a lazy day- guess they're like that all the time! Coronado is very cool, and the scenery is fantastic! Did you get a chance to drive up to La Jolla? It seems to be a very self-consciously "precious" little town, but the scenery is out of this world. Hope you had fun!

R2K said...

Sounds crazy in SD....