Friday, March 19, 2010

I Love You San Diego. day one.

Greetings from warm sunny San Diego!

We're here because my grant for my honors thesis was funded. I am exploring my ties to San Diego as a result of my parent's identites (they grew up in San Diego) and through my interactions with this area (we visited often because my grandparents live here).

The trip down was long. We left on Wednesday and it took all day to get here. Its been quite an adventure. We arrived at our hotel around 5 or 6. I got an amazing rate for the America's Best Value Inn at Mission Bay. When we got to our room, we realized why. The room was tiny. Tiny like I couldn't believe they could fit the furniture in the room and call it a hotel room. You had maybe a foot from the edge of the bed to the tv, and then maybe a foot and a half on either side of the bed to the wall. There was no closet area, just a pole hanging next to the TV. It was cramped and dirty. We were not thrilled and realized our great deal was really just more of a get what you pay for.

We ended up realizing we needed a few things (beach towels, extension cord, some toiletries), so we drove to target and tried to forget about the worries of our room. Target only made it worse. Traffic was horrible getting there and it doesn't help that I'm horrible at reading directions from my phone to Jeff. Then we get to target and it feels dirty. There's a random homeless dog sleeping in the bushes and dirty people trying to see if its okay. We were totally bummed out. I've grown up loving San Diego, and instead here we had only seen dirty nasty bits of the city, and had nothing to look forward to. When we got back to our hotel we started looking on our phones and the computer for another hotel. I tried to reason in my head that the hotel wasn't that bad and it wasn't like we'd be spending much time in it anyways. But we looked anyways. By 9 we hadn't found anything better for a decent price. We hadn't eaten dinner, but neither of us were up for finding a restaurant. So we ordered pizza. We payed way more than we should have for that small of a pizza, but it was delivered and it was yummy. Hoping the day would turn out better, we went to sleep. Here's a picture from my phone of our tiny room. The wall is right outside the frame on the left:

I woke up at 7 am staring at a dirty and dented ceiling. I freaked out for a moment, not remembering where I was. We got up feeling dingy. I thought breakfast would help, but their continental breakfast consisted of dry nasty muffins and pastries (I don't think my dog would have touched them) and some coffee. We went back to our room and started looking for a hotel again. I'd seen a Ramada for around what we were paying here through But I wasn't convinced by their pictures of their rooms. I'd been convinced to stay in the crappy room we were in because the pictures made it appear much larger and clean. I tried to convince Jeff we should drive and ask to view a room before trying to book a reservation under the rate and then try to check out of our current hotel. My worst fear was we'd switch hotels and it would be just as bad, if not worse. But we didn't have enough time because checkout was at 11am. So we took a risk. The Ramada was willing to give me the rate I'd seen on, and we booked a room. Then we packed our stuff, checked out, and left. The Ramada let us check in early (thank goodness or we'd be lugging our stuff around with us all day). We nearly jumped for joy when we got to our room. Its double the size of the other place. The floor and beds were clean and tidy and the bathroom was spotless.

It was a much needed change. We hadn't showered since we left Carson the day before so we hopped in the shower, rinsed away the dirt and grim from the day before. Jeff was hungry (he hadn't forced any continental breakfast into his stomach like I had), so we headed out to the boardwalk to get some lunch. The beach was beautiful. We walked along the boardwalk for a while and then stopped at a little Greek diner. Jeff got a Falafel sandwich, and I got a chicken version. They were both incredibly delicious and filling.

Finally we got to go lay on the beach. We people watched and relaxed and I was even able to read some of one of my books for my thesis. We hung out for a hr or so before the clouds rolled in. So we packed up and headed out. (see picture at top of screen). We stopped at Balboa Park (largest urban park and cultural center in the nation) which houses a ton of great museums and the San Diego Zoo. It was almost 5, so everything was closing but we walked around a got an idea of what we wanted to come back and visit tomorrow.

I'm training for a half-marathon and Jeff has been working out and training for his Kenpo camps in April, so we got travel passes from our gym to be able to go to a gym while we're here. The Gold's Gym here is 100x better than the one in Carson. But they have a larger population to cater to so they have more money to build a bigger place. It was two stories: weights, machines, training rooms, a cardio cinema (they play new movies while you run, bike, etc) and locker rooms were on the first floor. Then cardio equipment and stretching rooms were on the top floor. I was very excited for sea level training (its easier, but makes me feel good). I ran a strong 3 miles in under 22 minutes. As lovely as the saturated oxygen content of the air was, the humidity was not. I was the sweatiest person in the entire gym. Even 10 minutes after my workout when I was stretching my body was still glistening.

Back to the hotel, another shower and we were ready for dinner. We decided on Mexican because I wanted some good authentic fish tacos. I love fish tacos and hate that Carson doesn't have anywhere that makes them very well. We got a little too high tech trying to find the best rated places with our iPhones, and while we were on our way Jeff decided to pull off to a closer place "the Amigo Spot," which was hooked onto another hotel. jeff got a chimichanga and I got fish tacos. All the food was incredible. I think they were probably the best fish tacos I've ever had, or at least the best in the last 5 years. If all fish tacos tasted like those, I would eat fish tacos every single day!

We were tired (and stuffed) when we got back to our hotel so we lounged in pj's, watched some tv and went to sleep. Day one in San Diego is complete. I couldn't have asked for a better day (except maybe some time and diligence to work on my thesis). Tomorrow's plan: gym, Balboa Park, Museums, zoo, and of course, more beach!!
[and excuse the low-quality pictures, iPhone pics are so much quicker to upload!]


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