Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"It's fun to stay at the YMCA"

Good evening, everyone! I am glad to be back.

Let’s talk about the trip…

So, first, as the title indicates, I was staying at the YMCA. I had known when I made reservations for this “hotel,” that it had once been the YMCA for serviceman staying in San Diego.

What I didn’t realize was that they had essentially kept the room structures the same (only decorated in IKEA now).

I suppose I can’t complain too much. The 2 biggest issues about the accommodation, because realistically I didn’t need a lot of room, were 1) the fact that they had failed to mention a lack of air conditioning, and 2) that the room was situated at the front of the building facing the busiest street in downtown (not a problem if you can close the window, but…oh, did we mention there was not AC?).

I resolved in the middle of that very long (and sweaty) first night, that the first thing I would do was to find myself a fan…but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I first checked in, I wandered down to Little Italy – not far from where I was staying. It was hot, and exceptionally humid, so I wasn’t very hungry, but knew if I didn’t eat then, I would be up at 2 a.m. and starving. So I picked a place that wasn’t too busy and ordered one of the very few veggie items on the menu. Bad choice…the food was drowning in olive oil, but (and thank the gods) the Chardonnay (Jewel) was excellent. I went on to find a British pub (yes, yes, in Little Italy…it’s already a bad set-up) and had myself a whiskey and lot’s of water on the side. There was no joy in the pub, probably because they were watching baseball.

The next day, after getting myself a fan, I decided to head to Balboa Park to visit museums. This seemed a safe bet as, I assumed correctly, most museums would have their collections air conditioned. I did manage to get off the bus at the wrong stop and, as I was walking an additional mile out of my way, I found this bit of graffiti spraypainted on the sidewalk. It seemed a suitable beginning to my adventure.

But seriously, the San Diego Museum of Art had an exhibit of Maxfield Parrish to die for. They also had an exhibit of Mughal Art (I took an art of India class in college and was thrilled to be able to stand in front of some of the pieces I’d had to study then.).

My favorite museum was the Museum of Man, which had a couple of mummified bodies (all in air conditioned bliss), which completely fascinated me. For dinner that night, I blundered into the hotel next door (always a poor choice, but my feet had blisters from my sandals and I didn’t care to walk anywhere else).

Monday, I took the bus up to the zoo. I stayed on until the zoo this time, which my feet thanked me for. Most of the pictures from my San Diego adventure are from here (so I guess you can say that Spinster went wild!).

I took the guided tour, then wandered to some of the places that weren’t covered on the bus ride. I especially loved the gorillas and the hippos.

Then I took a skyride over the entire zoo before heading home. I made a departure from trying to eat veg that night and decided to go for some mussels at the local tourist seafood place. It kind of made me sad as the waiter turned his charm on to me, as I realized that I really hadn’t had much human contact at all during my trip, so that it seemed special.

I ended up calling HippyChick for human contact on Tuesday a.m., before going on a harbor cruise. The cruise was a bit of a disappointment. San Diego is a beautiful harbor, but it’s primary industry is the Navy. This picture of the U.S.S. Midway (now a museum) is fairly typical of what we saw that day – nothing but navy vessel after navy vessel.

I have to admit, I would have been supremely pissed off, if it hadn’t been for our fine president.

You see, W had decided to come to visit San Diego Tuesday. He actually arrived on Coronado Island on Monday, but on Tuesday during the harbor tour, we were able to get a good view of Air Force 1 and also the Navy SEAL boats that were speeding out to guard the entrance to the bay.

We also got to witness the impressive show of force that the Coast Guard will put out when the president shows himself anywhere near water. There was also the lovely decorations on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (where W was giving his morning speech).

But, really, I was glad to be off to something interesting by the end of the 2 hour harbor tour (I don’t mean to be disparaging, but unless you are interested in the modern U.S. Navy, it’s better to spend your $20 on something else).

I headed off to Old Town where I first had lunch (including a margarita which left me sleepy and having to pee for the rest of the afternoon), then wandered around looking at all the old buildings. This one below was absolutely superb, and left me amazed at the ingenuity of old Spanish architecture. The place was built to maximize the shade and draw in any possibility of breeze. I spent much time sitting around the garden on a bench just trying to stay cool.

Today, I went looking for a book to read on the plane ride home, then headed to the airport. I have to admit that after 4 days, I was looking forward to a place where I could just stretch out and have a toilet to myself. I also was looking forward to some cooler temperatures, but I arrived to find that the Bay Area had finally moved into its summer.

I’m hoping to actually have some meaningful conversations with people in the next couple of days (the sucky part of traveling alone is the actual alone-ness), and maybe take in a movie or two (why does that not seem like a worthwhile activity when one is away from home?).

Sadly, there are no tales of mad vacation-sex or drunken dancing in the streets…Maybe I’ll blog someday about the difficulty I have going out to bars alone…I do still have holiday until Sept. 6, but that will all be spent at HSH (short for Home Sweet Home…the apartment’s moniker, as it’s the only thing that seems to fit at the moment).


P'tit-Loup said...

Welcome back!

Sorry your trip was devoid of human contact. That is why I often like to stay at youth hotels as you always meet some folks and many of them are not so young and are from foreign lands, an added bonus. I know San Diego can be a lovely city, but I usually have a friend to drag me around to the places they know.

Aravis said...

I'm sorry you didn't have more fun, though the zoo, the museum and old town sound nice. But at least you didn't have such a good time that coming home again was torture. I love traveling, but it usually feels great to get home at the end of it too. :0)

Happy Human Contact soon!

Mark said...

we may have to have a Travel Write-Off!

Hyde said...

The Old Town looks beautiful. Sorry you couldn't beat the heat! If you ever need a tip on "going to bars alone," drop me a line. ;)


Scully said...

With the exception of no ac it sounded like a great trip (and of course Bush landing there).

Great pics, btw.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

red one said...

Ooh, a panda! A polar bear!

They're lovely.

I'm not one for bars on my own either. Mind you, I prefer anywhere with food whether I'm on my own or not, to be honest. But little caffs and snacky places are often friendlier I think.


Flash said...

Glad you're back & I hope you're happy.

NB. I simply cannot go into bars on my own unless armed with a newspaper or for the purpose of watching the footy.

Charby said...

I can't go into bars on my own either.
If I'm meeting some one at one I'd rather wait outside than walk in on my own.
The polar bear looks cute!

LavaLady said...

Welcome back. It's good to be home sometimes. I'm late doing the song meme... Argh! I procrastinate over everything lately!

Hope you are having a cool Thursday...

Fred said...

Thanks for the tour. It was great. The F*ck The World was rather interesting...

Bee said...

Welcome back!

I don't mind going into bars on my own, but I have to take something to read, or sit and scribble in my notebook.

Mr_Mystic said...

If the veggies were saturated with olive oil it would be okay, as it is a beneficial food. But I suspect they may have been drowned in a less expensive substitute, as nobody wastes olive oil.