Friday, April 18, 2008

San Diego

Last weekend was a great trip to San Diego. It was 5 PM in the office when we remembered that the car rental was going to close at 6 PM. After some frantic printing of maps and even more frantic calls, we were on our way to pick up cars. Though it was me and 2 of my colleagues (Eddy and Crystal) who all went to San Diego, we all went in different cars, bcos of personal plans and commitments. So after picking the cars, and dinner at Indo Café near LAX, I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the weekend. I have to mention here that the Indo café was an Indonesian restaurant where Eddy took us. Don’t miss their corn fritters with spicy sauce. YUMM..!!

Country inn, San Diego - Apr/12/2008, 12:30 AM
Reached the hotel, checked in and hit the bed.

Country inn, San Diego - Apr/12/2008, 11:00 AM
Still in bed. Went downstairs to get breakfast at 9 AM, though.

Country inn, San Diego - Apr/12/2008, 1:00 PM
Was ready to hit the road. The girl at the reception gave me a sheet of paper with abt 15 locations to see in San Diego and directions to the place. It covered pretty much the whole of San Diego. It even had the nearby Starbucks and restaurant locations. Really useful stuff. She even recommended places for me to see, based on what my interests were. The day was bright and hot. I was keen to hit the beach asap, so after a lunch stop at a sub place, I headed to the Posh La Jolla area, which was just 1 exit away from where I stayed.

La Jolla Area (pronounced, La hoyya) 1:40 PM
…was freakin' packed. Traffic lined up for 2-3 blocks. The beach area was even more crazy. After a lot of searching, I found a place to park, and headed to the beach. The beach was simply amazing. There were hundreds of people swimming, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, playing on the beach, sun bathing, or simply sitting doing nothing. I was probably the only guy on the beach with shoes (I took them off as soon as I realized that, and tied them to my backpack. Cant say if I attracted more attention now or before). There are dozens of little shops, restaurants, and surfing and bikes rental places right next to the beach. Since I was alone, I wasn’t too keen abt heading for a beach swim. I walked into one of the rental stores, and found a kayak tour into the sea to a set of natural caves about a mile away. I signed up for it.

Tour of the caves, La jolla beach, 3:00 PM
They loaded us up with a life jacket, helmet and a paddle, about 15 of us. Then we trotted to the beach, and waited there for the tour guides to divide us up into groups of 2, and put us in a our kayaks. Since I was alone there too (damn!!), I got a kayak for myself. We paddled our paddles and headed into the pacific. Jason, the tour guide tried to keep us together and safe. He even gave us some snippets about San diego history, sharks, marine plants, and some other stuff I could quite hear. Since I was alone on my kayak, I was usually at the end of the group, fighting to catch up with the group and what Jason had to say.

The caves were a natural formation due to soil erosion due to the waves. They were apparently used by beer smugglers during the time of prohibition in the US, to store beer smuggled from Mexico. These days, they are used by pelicans and sea lions as nesting ground. The whole area stank of their poop like anything, that I couldn’t stand it. But some guys dint seem to mind, and were there snorkeling in those waters..! Yikes..! After touring the caves, and avoiding any pelican poop from hitting me, we headed back to the beach. The return trip was even more tiring. After a quick wash, and a delicious veggie burrito and modelo, I was on my way out of La jolla.

Interstate 8, 6:00 PM
I wanted to go to the Old town area, cos it was a nice area to go to. Atleast, that’s what she said at the hotel. But I somehow messed it up and ended up going the wrong way. Like all true explorers like Columbus and Drake, I headed further, trying to make the most out of my error. I infact did, and found a mission trails dam and hiking area in the hills. I have kind of developed an addiction for hiking these days, after a couple of hikes in the San jose area. I was thrilled to bits of having found this place. But the place was closed as it was close to 7 PM. So I decided to come back the next day, and headed to my hotel.

Gaslamp, 9:00 PM
Eddy was in the downtown GasLamp area, and we decided to check out the night life in San Diego. I left my hotel and headed to the GasLamp district. After picking up Eddy, we walked around a bit, and finally decided on the Whiskey Girl club for a few drinks. The club itself was pretty cool, and the crowd, hep. The little tussle at the entrance between a customer and a security guy made it even more interesting.

Apr/13/2008, 1:00 AM
Lights Out.

Apr/13/2008, 9:00 AM
Still in bed…

11:00 AM
Was ready and headed out. First stop Coronado Island.

Coronado Island, 12:00 Noon
Coronado Island is a little island just off the mainland of San Diego. There is a bay bridge that connects the 2 land masses. It’s a beautiful quaint island. The centerpiece of the island is the 100 odd year old 5-star hotel that stand imposingly on the beach. Simply beautiful. I would want to vacation there sometime with my wife.... Zap! Back to the present. After a quick lunch (veggie burrito, what else) and lemonade, I headed back to Mainland SD.

Mission Trails Visitor Center, 3:00 PM
Remember I said I would trek here the day before? So here I was. I came to the place a little late hoping that the sun would have cooled down a bit. Dint happen. The lady there asked me if I have hiked before, when I told her that I have neither a cap nor sunglasses not a wet cloth to wear around the neck. Taking pity, she I went to the back room and got me a piece of scarf that was in the lost and found section. IT was still in the 90s when I started off on my hike, armed with a bottle of Gatorade, some chewing gum and that someone's scarf. It was a lonely 1.5 mile hike with lots of ups and downs, and at the end of it I was feeling like the wet rag (now fully dry) dangling around my neck. But I loved it. I then got back to my car, and drove to the dam up hills. IT wasn’t much of a dam really. But it was worth a trip.

I then got back to the room and spent the rest of the day doing laundry and sitting in the hot water spa and swimming (caused my eyes to burn for the next 3 days).

In short, a place worth visiting. Again.

2 comments:

Mohan said...

Maga...add some pics to the post...sounds like u had a blast...:)

the k factor said...

I forgot to take my camera :(