California Dreaming…..Flash back to San Diego 2011

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

this was on my old blog….needs to be on my new one 🙂  Leaving snowy Maryland while I’m California dreaming 🙂

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that’s me in there ready to land

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ewww ewww and more ewww

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Friday Jan 21, 2011 (duly noted because this is my first California so its special to me)

The flight is from BWI airport to Dallas, Texas, no time for Texas tho, long-delay getting de-iced in Baltimore which almost makes me miss my connection to San Diego. The flight attendant asks me “are you fit”? Me: no but I’ll pretend ! She says if you go fast, really fast you might make it in time. My other plane is boarding and I’ve got flying sidewalks to fly over and another terminal to go completely across 39 to 21 , 14 ? I can’t remember but I know I took off like Grant took Richmond. I finally reach the gate, the lobby is empty and a lady at the counter says “hurry” !! (as if I just had a walk in the park) Good God by the time I plop down in my seat I’m panting and gasping without a voice to even murmur “water… for the love of God can someone give me water”? This is said to myself of course. Once the heart settles and the sweat is dry I get myself happy….heck I’m going to California !

I’m a huge fan of the “International Youth Hostel Associations” big fan, so usually I try to stay at one when I can, I like the people, the sense of community, trying to help each other out, sharing our experiences, activities and its international flair. The San Diego hostel is no disappointment, matter of fact, I saw some great things I’m going to tell other hostels about if they ask me for comments. This hostel has many relaxation spaces, a huge kitchen and a free pancake breakfast which sometimes we cook and sometimes they cook. Many bulletin boards post information for activities, free-tickets (one of which was to hear The Music of Judy Garland) and attractions. I saw that notice too late. There is a wall with pull tabs for directions to attractions, one side lists directions if you are driving and the other side lists directions for walking or public transport. Very very helpful for me. It was clean, private bathrooms and full of character and color. There are discount tickets for attractions as well. Now about customer service, the employees are some of the friendliest I’ve come across in my hostel stays. At check-in I’m asked well we have one 4-bed room with no one in it tonight at least you want that one ? Also if for any reason you do not like this room come back down and let me know I’ll change it for you. Cool I’m thinking than I meet by bed, now some of you are surely familiar with the Tempur-pedic mattresses, NASA memory foam and all that good jazz, I have one at home which I love to pieces and never get when I’m away till now because all of the beds at the hostel are tempur-pedic ! I know they were because I went and touched all four just to check ! Good God I’m going to love this place ……. did I mention how hot it was when I came out of the airport ? I called my Mom right away. (said something to describe the heat in a naughty way to her) sorry couldn’t resist !

I’ve got plans to meet up with my friend Trish who is in town from cold Salt Lake City Utah who’s very much loving the warm temps and sunshine as much as me. After unpacking and making my new home I meet Trish.

Trish I have not seen since Italy, she so generously said Jeannette I can pick you up from the airport I had planned on the bus, after my call to Mom, I try to ring her, somehow our phones were not connecting so I decide to hop on the bus, I believe the 992. Later I’m to find she was there waiting for me but I didn’t see her. Still a big thank you for that Trish. Now on the bus you are going along the harbor and which is beautiful, the palm trees are there waving at you, its warm, its blue and it’s sunshine. Somehow me the bus driver and another patron quite don’t understand where I’m going to I get off at the wrong stop, something like 10th or 12th avenue, in my mind, I’m to walk four blocks over to Market Street and there is my hostel. I reach that street taking in all the sites along the way. Now once on Market street I realize I am on the 1000 block and need to get to the 500 or so block so I continue walking. Even with lugging the suitcase and a backpack I did not care. Once sorted I find Trish’s hotel which is a short two-block walk. She has rented a car and now we are off to the Seaport Village. She finds parking easy enough and we are catching up and start strolling the harbor. It is a quaint area filled with assorted shops and probably even I was in San Diego again I would spend sometime exploring those shops because I’m sure you would find some neat unique items. I’m very impressed how clean San Diego is, I was explaining to Trish that this looks like a sparkling new city, everything seems so new. I am not sure if this is because I travel to Europe so much and am used to looking at old old things. Old new whatever, it really is pretty and something to see. We stroll this pretty waterfront and just people watch and chat. If you look you will see in the photos a man doing a sketch of a doggie and his master. That wrinkled thing was so darn cute I had to stop and get a photo. Later looking at what the artist was doing I’m showing my employee who is Italian saying now I’m not sure about what he’s doing, is that good? She informs me it is in its way, I think she said in its way it is in its abstract way. I said well I’m taking your word for it, you’re the italian and what the hey do I know? So have a look at that and tell me what you think. I’m not abstract really, I like faces and things that look real like my man Michelangelo does in sculpture with veins bulging but again that’s just me.

We talk about dinner after a nice long walk along the harbor and decide onOld Town. One day I’m going to read way more about Old Town and its history but for now I know it was the first part discovered by the Spaniards. Again we are lucky with the parking. I think this is quite charming as well. We were thinking of Mexican food and this place looks like we are going to find something good, matter of fact, Trish and my friend Laura a San Diego resident have been there together and had a good meal. We are just strolling along and looking for atmosphere which we discover. There is an open type courtyard with a restaurant and tables some under covering, there are fires going, torches candles fountains and soon to be live music. One of the fountains has large Margherita glasses. Bingo ! Oh now I have to tell you this place also had overhead and propane heaters like you see in the cafes in Europe, we nestled up under one and to a charming atmosphere in the Old Town. I’ve got low-blood pressure so soon can start shivering like a wet pup and Trish thankfully had a spare jacket in her trunk which we took with us and I needed. Many bare arms were around so I’m really chalking it up to my low blood pressure. The menu is extensive and what to order ? Okay first Corona and two-limes, I believe he even gave me more and that Corona is ice-cold the way beer should be (my opinion) I decide on the sizzling fajita with a mixed meat of beef and shrimp, maybe chicken too I can’t remember but there is something about a plate coming out to you that is sizzling, popping and steaming with aromas that I love. Trish and I chat away, we are talking about Sicily for which I have an upcoming trip and she has just recently been and she’s bravest woman I know because this lady drives anywhere, any country which I’m in awe of, I will travel most anywhere but renting a car is not an option. I am a sissy that way. Maybe if I did it once, I would think differently but so far that’s not happened and I can barely be a passenger in a car in Italy (sometimes not a pedestrian even) I’m just a slow take it easy kind of driver I would say…. but Trish does this, she gets maps, GPS in Italian and english and off she goes ! Our food was excellent I could have had three-Corona’s with all that lime and Trish can tell you what she ordered but I believe she was pleased with it also. Now it’s getting a bit late for me, not on California time three-hours behind but on Jeannette’s Baltimore time which is three-ahead plus I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut-off since 6 am not counting the marathon race in Dallas. I am ready for nite nite. Now prior to leaving Laura has rang me and arranged us a reservation at La Jolla. Trish knows of this place and the plan is, Trish and I are going to head to the Little Italy section of San Diego for the Italian market (see how Italy is never far from our hearts?) than we are going to a whale festival at the harbor than head to La Jolla and meet Laura for a gorgeous lunch and La Jolla sites. Now you all may know this but I didn’t and thank you Laura but it is pronounced with an “h”. I still like saying it now with an “h” I even practiced on the way home in the plane of course silently in my head so glad no one can read your thoughts or they would send the men with the white coats to take you away. So I want to be full-steam ahead for tomorrow, it’s going to be a good good day. Our plan is to meet at 9 a.m. I tuck into that tempur-pedic mattress for the good sleep but not before I hear live Irish music and bagpipes. Sat straight up in bed, am I hearing right ? I am, Market street is a very lively filled place with an abundance of night-life, restaurants and good cheer. I say out loud since no one is in the room with me yet, how about that? I put on my new i-pod shuffle clipped to my pj’s with the white-noise music of shhhhhhhh and go right off to sleep bagpipes and all. Good first day!

Oh and here is the restaurant where we have a reservation for lunch the next day. Brockton Villa in La Jolla.

Next morning, Trish and I meet and get in the car on our way to the Italian market. This is held on Saturday mornings and for me really does have a european flair to it, kind of reminded me of Campo dei Fiori in Rome without samples. Trish has scoped out parking at a nearby elementary school. Walking up to the market we hear street musicians and there is a kind of hippie woman on the corner hula hooping to the music, I like the 60′s and hippie culture a bit so am enjoying this introduction to the market for this one particular corner. The market goes almost all the way down the street to the harbor. This is a tasting market for sure, almost every vendor has samples to test and you can sample as many varieties as you like. If they sell 20 sauces you can taste test all 20. Another thing I liked about the assorted vendors here is that they take the time to talk to you, explain things, give advise and make recommendations. You never feel hurried. I felt like a kid in a candy store walking along excited for the next tent and the next and what surprises do they have. I’m making mental notes ok go back and get this and that because I didn’t want to carry them all thru the markets. Trish made connections for products she is interested in and was added to mailing lists and ways to order for shipping to Utah. I like to think my big discovery was frog balls. Now I won’t lie, I was certainly taken by the name initially. Laughing I had to visit their table. The couple running the frog ball stand were humorous as well. Tasted a frog ball? no…. ok here have a bite? oh yummy….now what exactly do I do with these frog balls? Do you like Bloody Mary’s? indeed I do ! well put a frog ball in one, it is fantastic. There’s many other things you can do with frog balls but that one appealed the most to me. Are you going to be selling these frog balls on the internet? Yes our site will be up and running in about a month but let me give you some information now. Thank you because I know some folks at home who will want to order just for the jar alone. Yes we thought it was a catchy little title too! I love it I told them. Purchased my frog balls and they wrapped them nicely for me so they won’t break in the plane home. I took a photo of them so you can see and when I tasted them I was hooked.

Some of the items I saw at the Italian market were lots of flower marts, nuts, pasta, sauces, Panini stands, cheese, coconuts, salads, produce, sea urchins (so curious about them) dipping oils, edible flowers, many many fruit stands oh and English peas, were they grown in England ? J

I bought some dipping oil too. John Spengers of Napa Valley, Bistro Blends, Chardonnay & Roasted Garlic Bread dip/Vinaigretta Marinade, oh yummy ! My frog balls and this made it home safe. All the fruit I bought was consumed at the hostel. After spending a great morning here we are headed to the harbor for the whale festival, we park near the Star of India and have a walk down to the pier. It’s a beautiful day and families are out in force. Not too crowded tho, we explore this small festival and I did get some coupons that could be used for the tour of Midway and the whale cruise. I crawled in the belly of a whale, well kinda.

Now it’s time to meet Laura at her house, we are going to switch cars and head to La Jolla. Laura’s smiling face is out front waiting for us plus secured us a parking spot. After big hugs we are on our way. La Jolla is a busy day today and traffic is a bit more than we had anticipated. No worry though Laura secured a good spot. Good God this place is beautiful. Incredibly beautiful really like a postcard and you’ll see I tell no lies by the photos. We have a small wait for our reservation at Brockton Villa. This is a beautiful restaurant with a jaw dropping view. Here is their website:

This place has it’s own bit of history and I’ll copy it for you because I find it interesting.

The History of Brockton Villa

1894: The first beach cottages were constructed along a formally barren hillside above the La Jolla Cove. Outstanding among them was this house, built as a weekend retreat by Dr. Joseph Rodes, a San Diego physician, who purchased the prime oceanfront site for $165. The architecture is typical of early California bungalows, with single wall construction and vertical tongue-and-groove siding of pure heart redwood with cedar shingles. A hip roof and a wraparound veranda take advantage of sea breezes.

1900: After Dr. Rodes’ death in 1896, the house was taken over by two sisters, Olivia Mudgett and Nellie Mills, La Jolla’s first real estate agents. At the turn of the century, it was a four-hour trip from San Diego to La Jolla, so weekend cottages were very appealing. Mrs. Mills rented out several beach cottages, including this one, which she named The Brockton Villa, in honor of her New England heritage in Brockton, Massachusetts. The diaries of her husband, Anson Mills, contain many references to the cottage such as…., “Today I painted at the Brockton….”

1920s: The unusual shell-inlaid fireplace was probably built-in the 1920s, judging by the fire bricks and Portland cement used. These rare, oversized abalone shells are impossible to find today due to over-fishing.

1940s: For many years, the house was occupied by Moreland MacPike, known to many as the “Turtle Lady.” She is described as a very shy woman who had a performing turtle. Rumor has it that she and her piano-playing pet once entertained President Truman at the White House.

1968: Pannikin Copper, Coffee and Cookery opened at 1296 Prospect, specializing in freshly roasted coffee beans and copper cookware. Soon after opening, Cooper and Cookery gave way to tea and spice. Pannikin’s first coffee-roasting plant was located in a garage near the Cave Store just up the street from Brockton Villa. Today, Pannikin Coffee and Tea is acknowledged as being ahead of its time.

1990s: Pannikin obtained the lease to this historic but somewhat dilapidated property in order to renovate it and adapt it for use as a restaurant. Pannikin founder Bob Sinclair had a strong commitment to preserving the community’s architectural heritage, and has renovated and adapted other buildings for several of its locations. In 1993, Pannikin won the prestigious orchid award for preservation for its distinctive renovation of the Brockton Villa cottage. Megan (Lee) Heine, daughter of the Pannikin family, took ownership of the Brockton Villa Restaurant in 1994, and the remaining Pannikin coffee business was sold to outside interests.

2001: BV marked the 10th anniversary with 300,000 Coast Toasts sold! In 2005, Megan and husband Dave expanded their family of restaurants into the Bird Rock area with “Beaumont’s Neighborhood Eatery.” Beaumont’s features an extensive grill menu (dinner & weekend breakfast) a full bar and live music.

2006: The La Jolla Historical Society honored by the Brockton Villa at the 15 Year Anniversary celebration. Over in Bird Rock, Brockton’s sister restaurant, Beaumont’s Neighborhood Eatery, turns one! With live music, a full bar, nightly dinner and weekend breakfasts, Beaumont’s is sure to become another locals’ favorite!

Brockton Villa remains a significant reminder of the architectural past alive in our La Jolla community: simple and lovely, blessed by the sea, the sun and the sand.

We have a great table with a view and since it’s mini-vacation time and brunch I’m looking at the drink menu. I see a beer called, Stone cold arrogant *astard, well I had to laugh that one, I wanted to order it just so I could say it but while talking to the waitress about the *astard I find out it’s a dark-beer, I’m not a dark beer fan so I settle on a Corona. Later I see a beautiful glass of red passing by and get I get one of those too ! It’s a very nice lunch catching up with Laura and Trish sitting in the beautiful San Diego at La Jolla. Laura is one lucky woman living here I’ll say that. There is no doubt I’m to live in a warm-climate year round, it’s me, it’s me, it’s me. I can’t stress that enough …. I didn’t know of a thing called tidepooling which Trish did prior to me getting to San Diego. This is where the tide goes out and it leaves all sorts of tiny plants & animals. Here’s a better explanation for those who are not familiar:

Rocky coastlines create the conditions for tidepooling, with depressions in the rock-forming pools which hold seawater after the ocean recedes, allowing animals to survive until the rising tide floods the area again. Each of these pools can form a microcosm of life, hosting incredibly diverse creatures and seaweed. Tidepooling can be fun for people of all ages, as a number of interesting creatures including limpets, mussels, young crustaceans like crabs, sea anemones, starfish, barnacles, urchins, sea cucumbers, and chitons can be found in tide pools.

Trish was showing us some of her photos of what she discovered tide pooling and maybe she will share her link here for you to see but she has some gorgeous photos. I didn’t go tide-pooling but I will one day after seeing these photos. Always something new to learn.

After a most enjoyable lunch with the girls we head for the beach. Laura is walking us down the coast and sharing La Jolla highlights with us. Heavens it’s beautiful. I was telling the girls, if I lived here I would have my morning coffee every day here now that’s s start to a day I think. The views are stupendous. I need to be rich to live here but if I can’t be in Italy I’ll take this….if someone forces me, ha ha !

I’ve been so waiting to see the seals and they are here and vocal. Matter of fact, Laura said they are usually further down and it’s not usual where we are watching them and man they are having a party. Hooting and hollering. Gosh so incredible. Laura said they are showing off for you ! This coastal area has it all, the beautiful flowers, cliffs, seals and plenty of places for people. Oh and one little squirrel who ran up the cliff and thru the flowers and just stood there looking at us so I snapped his little photo. We are going to walk down to the cove where lots of seals should be if the tide is okay and I’m practically running there afraid might go or I’ll miss them. On the approach while looking at the beach I initially thought there was loads of brown-rocks but those rocks are the seals! It’s so many of them, some sleeping, some crawling around and talking to each other. I head down the steps to the sand that has a rope sectioning off where you are not allowed to go and if you look thru some of my photos and the size of those teeth, that rope is there for good reason J plus this is their place and they should have their privacy. I could sit and watch them all day. La Jolla is beautiful.

We are headed to a new spot in the car Torrey Pines Glider Port. Here you hand glide right over the cliff. Yours truly won’t be gliding there any time soon but it would be interesting to watch the others. Problem was, no wind. There were a few who gave it a gallant effort but it just wasn’t going to happen today. Laura explained that if it is a good windy day the sky there would be filled with them floating and gliding off the cliffs. I’m still glad we got to visit there. After visiting here we are headed back to Laura’s house. It really has been a pleasant enjoyable day. We got to meet Laura’s hubby who I liked immediately, he likes the race horses and so do I, remember I’m a Preakness race girl all my life and love the famous racehorses with character and history. Gives me goosebumps. We spend talking about our trips and future travels and Spain is on my list so I’m learning lots from Laura regarding Barcelona which sounds even better to me now. Kelly and I were torn between Ireland and Spain and picked Ireland for next year but Spain is going to be soon after I’m sure.

We say our goodbyes and are going back into the city. Trish found an amusing note on her rental car which cracked me up, apparently someone (probably a college-kid) thought we didn’t park properly on the guest space and told us off with a note with an ending that says “and you have a nice day” sorry but it cracked me up.

Thank you Laura for a such a nice day. Trish too.

Now we are talking about dinner and decide on the gas lamp area where we are staying. If one can’t find food you like here than you’re not human and eating people food because this place is LOADED with restaurants of every variety. We decide to meet about 7 and walk to we see something that inspires us. Any shocker Italian inspires us ? I’ll have to look for the card but I believe it was called “Bella Luna” I will need to double-check that …. Ok I did and here is the website:

There was a drink special on wine so I order the house red and there is still a restaurant week menu I didn’t order it but it did look nice. I decide on a pizza and Caesar salad, Trish had a salad too that she really liked and lasagna. My food was excellent and Trish really enjoyed hers as well. I had enough pizza left to take back to the hostel for another meal. I would definitely go back to this place again. We walk back near our hotels, Trish is leaving the next day and I feel bad for her going back to the snowy lands. After a great couple of days exploring San Diego with Trish, we hug and say goodbye. My plan is for the next day to explore the San Diego zoo. I’ve heard wonderful things this zoo. I feel like a Corona and the street is getting more lively by the minute, right next door to the hostel is Wet Willies, Wet Willies has some outdoor pub tables and a huge huge wall of daiquiri’s inside, all the flavors of a rainbow I say, I took a photo of the wall with the assorted slushes.

I get a table outside because I know this weather has to be taken advantage of because at home this is not possible outside on the East Coast. I have my coat on, scarf and am very comfortable. Lots of military are here in San Diego and at a table near me are four or five guys who I start chit-chatting too and lo and behold one is from Maryland, Cumberland to be exact. I find he is there for some training and has arrived from Guam. He’s been in Guam for three-years and is tired of it, tired from tropical I’m saying? He loves the cold and winter and Maryland and I’m saying to him, you are crazy ! He’ll be going back to Guam in a couple of weeks but is out of the service in November. I forgot to mention there are four-french guys staying at the hostel. We’ve met in the hostel kitchen and halls and they come along to Wet Willies too. One thing I’m surprised to hear from most travelers at the hostel is that those who just visited Los Angeles didn’t care for it at all. They all love San Diego, love San Francisco but not so much this place. So I’m talking to the French boys about this and they did crack me up at one point saying this hostel has a lot of old people in it – WHAT ? you are saying I’m old? I’ll kick your French butt, no no no not you they say, we have a 75-year old man in our room and there are some older Australians too and I’m laughing my butt off really, well look guys you have every youthful pub and place around you. These French are in and out of the club and at one point I’m speaking to one of them and suddenly hear, screeeeeech, screech and a dragging sound, what the heck???? Look to the street right smack in front of us and see a bus who is side-swiping a car, a Mercedes to be exact, oh my gosh, now the bus keeps going thru the intersection and I’m telling the French boy, oh wow we have a crime, I whip out that camera fast as I can and take a photo of the bus that can be blown up in the FBI room for bus crimes and get it’s tag and bus # which I shout to the French boy, remember this number, we are witnesses to a crime ! We may have to testify ! Well our witness role was short-lived because the bus did pull over. We check out the Mercedes and boy it has been hit, some of it pulled off and here is the gem of it all, the car belongs to the owner of Wet Willies! Now I was getting ready to go to bed but with the new excitement I’m staying to see this thru, the owner is not there and has to be called, he’s on his way, me and the doorman discuss this, now I did tell the doorman if you ask me that car is parked too far from the curb it is sticking out a bit much compared to the other cars. He shrugs well I think it’s legal. The owner shows up who is kind of young too and I’m think darn how did he get to own this at such a young age? He must have been reading my thoughts too because I did see him put his shoe by the curb and measure walking to his tire. Hmmmm as I suspected, too far from the curb. It’s a good thing my photos weren’t needed because they turned out too blurry because I was practically standing on a pub chair trying to take the photo and moved the camera too much. The doorman is a nice fellow and he’s doing that job in addition to his real job to pay some things off for about a year but complains he has no life but I tell him you are accomplishing a good goal and you’ll surely appreciate it later when all your debt is gone. Now when the accident was happening he said of all nights, my Mom and family are here and I step away for one-second and all this…eventually his Mom and family come out and are giving him big hugs and I take some photos for them. I am getting tired because I kind of stayed on Baltimore time this whole trip so I say my goodbyes and go to the hostel besides tomorrow is going to be lots and lots of walking at the zoo.

Up bright and early and headed for the zoo I know that I need to get to Broadway & 5th I believe to get my bus to the zoo. The #7 bus which is fine and dandy till I realize while standing alone on the bus stop that this 7 does not run on Sunday according to the sign. Great I have no ideal what direction the zoo is even in so I cross the street to find people to ask. They don’t know either. I go back to the #7 and now there is a woman there with a baby on her back having a good time with a cookie and she tells me go up the street to the tram, take that to a transit station, so I walk up to the tram station but am unsure which side I’m to be on, read the board to find out and then a police comes up and I ask him about the zoo and he recommends I take the tram to city college stop than get the bus from there, so I decide to do just that, there’s come bums around this tram station. I’m asked for cigs, spare change, good gosh, some I don’t realize are bums till you speak for a minute or so than they ask you for the spare change. They are dressed so casual you can’t tell ! Well next thing you know I hear a whole lot of shouting, someone in the direction I just came from is having a heck of a fight, there is lots of yelling, a man runs up to the policeman who gave me the zoo info and said you better come this is turning ugly. I did not see them fighting but definitely could hear them. The tram pulls up and I hop on than notice the man who is across from me is the one who gave the warning to the policeman, so I asked him what the heck was going on with that fight ? He said, I don’t really know but I do know it was a couple that got off the tram coming from the opposite direction and he was really going off on that woman and with domestic situations it can turn ugly so I told him I hope they jail the ******d ! He was screaming like a deranged nutcase, no doubt in my mind he’s a beater.

There’s a busy road across the street from the zoo, that’s where you get dropped off, nice and convenient! I had a coupon from the hostel for a discount, get my map go sit under a tree to decide what animals I want to talk to today. I decide on the chair lift across the zoo so I can get the polar bears first. Well the polar bears hid from me because I couldn’t find them. I believe I went thru all the display. It was warm maybe they moved them to Baltimore to arctic temps my mom told me they were having. Okay than on the elephants I say, if the polar bears won’t love me. Polar bears do they not looking like a living breathing teddy bear you want to hug? When I watch National Geographic I’m still shock how they show they can be vicious, well if I lived on the Arctic I’d be vicious too, ask anyone in my hometown. Well god knows I love an elephant. Just look at them, really look at them. Is that not animal art? Now maybe everyone else know this but I didn’t but do you know that the elephants mourn their dead. Yes it’s true I saw it on a Nat Geo program. Not many in the animal kingdom seem to have a sensitivity or awareness of loss but an elephant does and they show it during the program I watched they each would stop and with their trunks stop and lovingly touch, feel and caress the elephant bones with compassion and some had a little tear. Coincidence ? I don’t know but it is something ……. something pretty incredible about elephants. and their feelings.

see this : ……elephant.html

and this if you are interested : showing this sort of ritual.

A caretaker comes out and starts stuffing stalks of celery in hiding places so I have a good spot at the rail for waiting. The elephants didn’t come down so I decide I’ll go to the other side, bingo found them munching away. I have good visit there enjoying them. Got to love an elephant. After this I just walk and walk and walk thru this zoo meeting all sorts of animals along the way. I didn’t take a whole lot of photos but couldn’t resist on a few of them especially that panda, so so cute, I took a photo of that wild boar thing and told it you so ugly only your mudder can love that face, lol, it was true! I am pretty sure I covered miles and miles in this zoo, up hills, down hills, hills with dead ends. It is really is a terrific zoo and well worth a visit. I am too exhausted for the rest of the Balboa park attractions so I decide to get a bus back, freshen up and go for dinner. It’s nice walking outside the hostel checking out places. TGIF made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, ½ price apps and $2 coors light so I get a table outside and talk to the hostess a bit, along comes a crazy guy, very harmless but he’s wearing superman undies on top of his pants, he is quite proud of them and shouts to the hostess where’s Adriana? She tells him she’s off today, he than says, “see what I have on today”? See my superman? Yes she answers very nice, he’s smiling away and so proud of them. I’m grinning taking this all in and once he walks away she comes to my table saying he comes by everyday, he really likes Adriana and shows us something he is wearing or has, he’s harmless tho really and very sweet, I wanted to snap a photo of him wearing his spiderman underoos but thought no…. wouldn’t be right so I turn off the camera. I like ordering a bunch of appetizers for dinner sometimes so I decide to do this since they were having a special. I had deep fried green beans, artichoke/spinach dip and something Mexican but I can’t remember what but I was STUFFED and worn out from all the walking. I am not a napper, never have been… so wish I was sometimes but once in a great while I can do it and today was going to be one of those times. I crawled in that bed and that was all she wrote, I didn’t wake up till 8 or 9 pm? My roommate who I believe is from Japan asked me are you going out tonight? Still feeling tired I said nope, no way, that zoo has kicked my butt. I shower go back to sleep and do not wake up till the next morning. My heavens this is never like me in the sleep department what are they putting in that San Diego air? Well I’ll be nice and chipper for the days events, I plan on walking down to the ships, tour Midway than go on a cruise to see whales, that’s the plan. It is incredibly gorgeous out, I make my way to the ticket booth for the whale boat and got a 1:30 time slot, ok I’ll go to this outdoor restaurant/café on the water Trish and I saw and get a Corona and suck up some of this sunshine than go tour Midway. The sun was too good to me because I didn’t get up, I had their fried fish special with French-fries which was actually very very good. Okay the sun says I sit till it’s time for the whale boat so that’s what I do oh and I did have to call home rub it in to my sister’s saying “guess what I’m doing right now”? guess what I’m wearing? guess what degrees I’m feeling? As you can imagine they cursed my good name especially since Baltimore was receiving the coldest temps to date for this winter. I’ve got to tell you something I think is really special about San Diego people or is it California people? I don’t know since I’ve only been to this one place. They have hearts of gold when it comes to volunteering. There were assorted people who volunteered at the hostel to help travelers and now I find there are whale expert volunteers. Had a nice chat with one, sweet sweet lady, we were told all the volunteers would be wearing yellow jackets and would help us out with any questions or information regarding the whales. I told her I went to Boston and went on a whale cruise and didn’t see any she said I think you are going to see more then one today! There’s been very good sightings. Elated I board the boat and get a table at the top. I see people walking by with Corona’s. Yes my eyes are not tricking me they have Corona with limes on the boat. I head to the bar and get one and take it back to my table. It was like the Corona commercial you see on tv, blue sky, sunshine and the bottle. The table sort of next to me were having their Corona’s too so I held up mine and we did a little cheers salute.

The whales we are hoping to see are gray whales. They live in the Artic till their food sources are frozen over once that happens they migrate to the warm waters of Mexico, have some babies, fatten them up for the long trek back to the Artic. The captain explains to us that sometimes the mom can’t wait till they are in Mexico so once in a while they get a San Diego whale baby. What’s even more exciting is that there have been sightings of new babies and we are all big-eyed waiting for that blessed event. Pulling out to sea the view of San Diego is pretty incredible and we saw quite a bit of seals hanging out on this one particular structure. I take a few photos so I remember where I was on the boat and what it looked like and the battery light starts flashing, no way please tell me my eyes are deceiving me? No the eyes are telling the truth and the one and only battery I have taken on this trip is going DEAD. Are you kidding me? I’m going to see whales all natural and possibly babies and I’ll have not one photo of it ? Are we going to having it like that ? yes we will Jeannette, no whale photos for you today. I stew a few minutes about this than make my peace, ok you have sunshine, blue sky and beautiful water and eyes to see a whale, you can’t have everything Jeannette so I don’t fret any longer and decide just enjoy…..the pictures will be in your mind. We’re to yell to the captain if we see a whale blow, he teaches us how “Tharrrr she blowssss” This is going to be like a four-hour journey so we travel out to sea a good bit before the first shout of “tharrrr she blows” rings out and I’m saying to the people next to me, “do you see it— for the love of God somebody show me where she blows because I’m not seeing it” and I didn’t….till a few more “tharrrrr she blows” this time I dash right across that boat and squeeze my way to the rail and I do see “tharrrrrr she blows” !!!! I am blown away is that not magic ? I got to see lots more blowing than that flip and the best best best sight of all was when I was back at my table and there are two-whales, on my side and this bad boy jumps way up in the air in all it’s glory not once but twice. Our boat was beaming with happiness, cheers and clapping. WHAT A SIGHT !! I don’t have a photo of course but I will never forget the picture in my mind. Never. Now we are seeing a good amount of whales nearer and nearer to Mexico and I don’t know if we are truly allowed but the captain says we are going to go into Mexico’s water because it is getting quite active there now and so we did. We saw small blows which we think were from a baby but we could not make a visual on this … oh well, keep it safe and hidden.

Somehow I get to talking to the people next to me and there is this older woman, retired, sweet as sugar pie and she wears a hat and so she kind of reminds me of Katherine Hepburn in that movie “On Golden Pond” and she smiles like my friend Yvonne in Australia who’s going to Venice soon for her 76th birthday I believe and who just outsmarted Yasi. This lady makes me miss Yvonne and I get telling her about traveling and us ladies who travel together from all over the world and she is thrilled with the idea and loves to travel herself, her husband has died she said and doesn’t get to travel as much anymore so I told her you can surely come with us anytime you would like, she tells me she owns a house in Portugal also but doesn’t get there much these days either. She has some relatives in the UK who go to it for summer holidays. We decide we must keep in touch and so she goes and gets paper and we exchange emails. Now some of the people who are visiting her are from Virginia and Washington DC area and we saying to each other is this San Diego weather not a gift or what? She says she lives down by the water near Seaport Village and has great views of the harbor. Man you are lucky I tell her, you’ve got to love waking up to that each morning. She does….

We’ve been in Mexico enough the captain says so it’s time to turn the boat around and head back to San Diego, I kind of don’t want this boat ride to end, it was truly beautiful and the whales….just amazing. I’m so so glad I bought this ticket and took the ride . I lose track of my new friend but we have each other’s information. Pulling up to the docks I get my sticker “ I saw a whale “ I’m saving that …. I start walking along the harbor till I get down to the Market Street section, cross over those big intersections, make it to a corner and I hear “well look who it is” ? It’s my new friend and her family who came to visit so we all walk together down Market street and she stops and shows me where she lives and my heavens what a beautiful place she has, it’s gated and multiple terraces and no doubt incredible views. We say our goodbyes and I head to the hostel. I have lots of food to eat at the hostel that must be eaten tonight because I am leaving the next day. I’ve got fruit, pizza, dips and leftover TGIF apps too, so I decide no dinner out maybe a drink later and head to the kitchen to whip up my goodies. There’s another volunteer in the kitchen, he tells me his name and that he is having movie night tonight at the hostel and popcorn and would I like to join them. I explain I’m not sure yet but I did already see the movie “The Terminator” He’s a very nice guy and again hats off to San Diego and their volunteers. I know I have too much food and tell the volunteer how about eating some of this pizza with me? I’m going to top it with some things would you like to try it, sure he says….so we are chit chatting and cooking with nice music in the kitchen (love that about the kitchen) it’s a real upbeat place there. So in walks a Buddhist monk, yep all in orange, a little rope belt tied and kind of like flip flops with an orange cap on and I’m like oh wow, would you look at that and am instantly curious, very curious. I scoot my way near him and decide to speak, I told him “Hi” and smiled. “how are you doing” he’s a low-talker but I think he said “good” I than go on “how do you like San Diego”? “what did you do today”? and that’s how it started….we talked and I shared my day with him (well actually my whole San Diego stay) and we hit it off like two peas in a pod, sweet sweet gentle man, we talked about travel and the fact that I want to go to Thailand one day and he explains how cheap things will be for me and tells me what temples I should see while I’m there and than decides to get on the internet and show me photos of them. The volunteer is intrigued too. Now I’ve finished eating and chatting and decide I’m going next door to Wet Willies and have a corona and plus the doorman might be there so I’ll say my goodbyes to him if he is around. I tell Panya and the volunteer goodbye and we all three exchange emails and I take some photos. Panya will be coming to Washington DC sometime in the near future so we decide we will meet again in DC, he says “jeannette why u go” bless him he didn’t want me to leave the kitchen and I explain I’m leaving the next day Panya to go back home and I swear his little face looked sad. I think we both got a kick out of each other. So I go next door to Wet Willies and get a Corona and head outside to my usual pub table. It’s dead inside and no door man but the air is clean and with a jacket on very comfortable. I just breathe in the air of my last San Diego night. A short time later along come the French boys from the hostel and we speak a bit and I call my friend Kelly. “Kelly, you won’t believe who I just met”, who she’s asking , I say “ a monk” what??? “yes a monk” Kell he was wearing orange and we’re going to meet him in DC, yes you will be going too and you’ll like him, he’s real sweet and gentle. Wait wait wait she says, YOU MET & MONK AND BECAME FRIENDS WITH HIM? Yes Kel I did , he is staying in the hostel, there are a few of them but I just made friends with one, I just left him in the kitchen to go have a Corona for my last night and he didn’t want me to leave God Bless him Kelly, she said “what is with you” ?? really what is it ? what do you do to people?

Now this goes into not a fight but this thing I always have with Kelly when we are out and about at home or traveling, she tells people about it all the time, she doesn’t understand why all these people come up to me, she says they act like they are in a trance and are just drawn to you , no one looks at me or talks to me and I’m sitting right across from you AND you look like ****, I took time to fix my hair and cosmetics and you did nothing and look like crap and they come to you, in a trance, she’s always smacking her hands on the table saying ….. “ I don’t get it “ so of course she doesn’t get it this night either, tho she does tell me you know what Jeannette whatever that thing is in you, bottle it and lets sell it and get rich okay ? I said listen Kelly it’s not about looks, it’s about your energy, people get your energy, it’s just the way it is, u are timid and cautious and people get that from you, ( a guy in Greece told her you have a pretty face but look like the executioner ) why do u do that thing with your face ? I thought she would hit him but instead she said thank you, thank you for telling me and smiled at him big because now she has finally figured out what it was and it’s been bothering her for a long time and she tells him , you don’t know what it’s like to travel with this woman and what I have to go thru being ignored and this witch here with her spells….. so he says “practice smiling” and so she does at times and I have to say, she’s come a long long way and I tell her too I’m real proud of you Kelly you have come a long way.

She still accuses me of being a witch and it’s not right to be taking monks……bye Kelly I say.

I say goodbye to the French guys and head in the hostel to pack my bags and get ready for departure the next day. At breakfast I meet a new lady, she is older and from Australia and is involved in some kind of church. She’s been to Atlanta to check on the church than onto California for a bit of vacation. She’s cooking her pancakes and I have to say it’s kind of funny for me watching the Europeans cooking their pancakes, hers are so big they are not going to fit on a plate I can tell you that and she’s got the fire way too high and I know they are going to go black but she’s chipper as a songbird and has a high-pitched Julie Childs kind of voice but with an aussie accent. I cook mine than get ready to sit and who comes in but my buddy, Panya dressed in orange. He cooks his pancakes and than comes to sit down next to me, his pancakes were square, I teased him about it than the Aussie lady comes and sits with us too and we get to chatting and got on Thailand again. The aussie says she went to Thailand and didn’t like it at all and the spirits or religion kind of gave her disturbing feelings like the heebie jeebies but that’s just her… well she’s kind of insulted the Buddhist in a way not really meaning to but kinda did….so she starts asking Panya questions and he just looks at me, looks back down at his square pancakes and will not answer her. I thought uh-oh these two religious people are not of the same mind of course and he decided well, I just won’t go there and he didn’t…would not talk to her. I say my goodbyes and Panya says in is cute low voice “see u in DC” the aussie church woman comes out into the hall with me and asks if she can give me a brochure on her church so I can see what they have been doing and I say sure and than she says, can I give you a hug? I said, sure and so gives me a bear hug and says God Bless you and with that I left San Diego and the warm sun on my skin and the blue sky but not before making note of an address.

101 Market Street, efficiency apartment for sale, low $200’s….remember that address you could live there no question with 70 degrees on your skin in January. Never say never right ?

The End

Tips from wonderful people who helped me.  I stay on Market Street with no car.

Staying there will put you in walking distance to many things. Also you’ll be close to our light rail trolley. I don’t know exactly which hostel you’re staying at so can’t estimate how many blocks from point A to B. But, our Downtown is fairly compact.

Be sure to check out the waterfront. Have a look at these sight to see if there’s anything of interest to you.

A bit of a tourist mall on the water but some find it charming and I enjoy people watching on the boardwalk is Seaport Village.

You can easily take the Ferry to Coronado

From there you can take a bus over to the other side where the Village and the Hotel Del Coronado is

You can also walk, take the trolley or a taxi to Little Italy

You can take a bus or taxi to Balboa Park & Zoo

You can take the trolley to Old Town

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