Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Reunion - Part 2 - San Diego

Following San Fransisco, I got to spend the week living with Tristan.  

Flashbacks to Bruce Hall ensued: small little rooms where you got to eat, sleep, cook and study, in close proximity to many others; fellow "in-mates" getting home at 5am and stomping through the hallway (the difference obviously being that their 5am home coming was from work - not the pub); and seemingly people have no laundry etiquette in any joint living facility anywhere in the world.  It was like going home :-)

The next weekend, we drove through the chaotic traffic of LA to get to San Diego.  I loved this city! We stayed in a lovely hotel in the heart of the gas lamp district, about 4 streets away from "the" main street.  After getting in late, we had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant that understood that one plate of food doesn't need to feed a family of four for a week.  Tristan bought me a lovely long stemmed rose from a street vendor and we got to listen to the sounds of the city as people hit the town, as we nursed some lovely food. 

As an observation, there are very few unattractive people in San Diego. Tristan's roving eyes confirmed my suspicions. There are at least 4 hot girls to every guy, no one wears flats or jeans, and everyone is always smiling. This is most definitely a city you can have a lot of fun in. Despite feeling like a lump surrounded by so much beauty, I couldn't help but enjoy being around so many happy, energetic people who were looking to have a good time. 

We had an early night and headed to SeaWorld the next morning.  It was great!  We saw dolphins and whales shows, aerobatic displays, and so many animals I lost count.  Tristan took some amazing photos at the show (check out FB).  The crowds weren't too bad, so we leisurely wondered from show to show to see the sights and delights of the world under the sea.There were a few rides that Tristan went on with friends while I sat in the stands mumbling about how in the animal world the male seahorse had to sit on the bench while the girls got to go and play.  However, when I saw how wet he got after the white water rapids, I didn't mind sitting and watching so much.

That evening we went to the Top Gun Bar. Tristan was like a kid at Christmas as we walked there.  From the movie, you think you know what to expect...well, the movie didn't have it quiet right... It's actually a BBQ restaurant - the type you would never eat at.  It was dark and dingy and had people's left over "clothing" on the fans. The walls and benching were all plastered with photos, number plates, stickers you don't want your kids to ever read, and hats from every navy ship that had ever docked in the bay (San Diego is a big Navy city).  It was quaint in a peculiar type of way, just not what I expected.  We sat at the bar while Tristan ordered a beer and bought a t-shirt, but to be honest, I couldn't get out of there fast enough! But for Tristan, the memorabilia, including Mavrick's flight helmet, the piano Goose played Great Balls of Fire on and the many photos from the filming of the movie made the place unforgettable.  One for the boys I think - ladies only go if you have hand sanitizer in your bag or plan to drink so much that it won't matter.

The next day, in the spirit of the naval history of the city, we went aboard the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier from WWII.  I think it is safe to say that both Tristan and I would have been too tall for the US Navy back in the day.  While roaming the (I really want to say "boat") ship, we ducked and weaved our way around, doing our best to not knock our heads.  On the flight deck, Tristan's favourite plane of all time the SkyHawk A3 was on display.  Unfortunately, he had left the memory card for the camera in the computer, so he couldn't get any good photos.  But I think the opportunity to touch such a machine made up for it.  While we could have spent hours wondering the decks of the "smallish" carrier, I had to cut the trip short, as I was flying out that afternoon. 

There were no tearful goodbyes, as Tristan would be home in a week, but I couldn't help but feel a bit melancholy to return back to our house in Denver alone.

San Diego is a great city - I think that all family and friends that come to visit should make a side trip there.  It's family friendly city with Seaworld and the Zoo, even the carrier would be great to show to the kids.  It's easy to walk everywhere, and people are lovely.  However, it's also a city that you could have a great time with a group of mates, all out to have a good time. 

Definitely on my to-go-back-to list.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Reunion Part 1- San Franscio

After weeks apart, Tristan and I finally reunited this weekend!!!
Given our differing schedules, we hadn't had all that much time to talk on the phone over the past few weeks, so we were both looking forward to some quality time together. I was looking forward to/terrified to show him my expanding waistline and growing belly.  On the flipside, Tristan was looking forward to showing me his finely turned physical form, honed by hours of running.
We met in San Francisco. A city I knew from movies and bad tv shows as home to the cable car, golden gate bridge, and many, many sleep hills.  What tv failed to mention was that even in summer, it barely got over 23C, it was windy and foggy, and what looks like a rolling hill isn't - it's a disguised mountain (probably not, but it sure felt that way when I was walking up and down them!!)
We stayed in this lovely little hotel in the heart of the city, within walking (mountain climbing) distance of Chinatown, the wharf, and all the other tourist traps.  It was great!  On that first night, we wondered into Chinatown to get our fill of Asian food - something I had been craving! We chatted and talked: I finally got all the details of how Tristan's phone went missing; he learnt about all the "fun" parts of pregnancy he had been missing; and we discussed the important things in life - the upcoming NRL grand finals.
The next (foggy) day we went on a bus tour of the city.  We went to the gold gate bridge - you could really see too much of it - but it was definitely a highlight! We saw the lovely public parks, the wharf, all the Victorian and Edwardian houses that make San Fran famous, Nob Hill (where all the snobs apparently lived in the early 1900s) and the city centre.  The city is so irregular - with no real flat landscape the cityscape flows up and down with residential buildings seemingly standing at the same height as city sky scrappers.  It was crazy, but the uniqueness of the city added to its charm. 
We had a late lunch/early dinner at a waterside seafood restaurant, and devoured a feast! Living so far away from the coast in Denver, seafood has become a new delicacy! Who would have ever thought! 
After wondering around the tourist district, we waited in line for 45 minutes and caught a cable car home - or at least we tried.  It broke down on a hill (mountain) and we had to sit (slide up and down the seat) for 15 minutes while the mechanics fixed the problem.  200 meters up the road, the track came to an end, and we walked (hiked) the last mile home.  I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow that night.  Given it was barely 8pm, Tristan went and wondered Chinatown, looking for a bargain on a new camera lens.
Between baby RJ and the "rolling hills"of San Fran, I was exhausted! So the next day, we took a gentler option and caught a bus out of town and explored one of the old red wood forests of California. It was bliss to be surrounded by trees and fresh air.  We also got to cross the golden gate bridge!  That afternoon, the bus dropped us off at a little tourist town full of antique shops, art galleries and salt water taffy stores.  We slowly meandered our way along the main road, then caught a ferry back to the city.  It was great to walk around, hand-in-hand, and just hang out.

We caught a ferry back to the city, and walked up the crookedest street in the world - Lombard street - back to the hotel.  My lovely husband gave me a hand to climb up the street.  It felt like a marathon, and I was just as proud as if it were when I finished it.

That night we had Indian.  Another food I had REALLY been craving! Although our favourite butter chicken wasn't on the menu, we still managed to order enough food for a family of four, and clean off our plates.  I think RJ may now come out tandoori orange, but it was so worth it.  I can't remember being so satisfied by food,
!0AOn)jur)final)`ay*ij)San*Braj!2@*Prhqtaj*`ratad(uha(aodipkc)`is|"qrfackd/sl"avesd/sd(ukg(qbfsc/si$kw/ultkb�!caubct/sg�t home at the end of the day.  Given all the one way streets, up and downs, back and forths, I really admired the way he was able to make it to our destination.  Once we parked the car, we went to collect our golden tickets - tickets to Alcatraz.  Most people had to book theirs weeks in advance, but somehow our concierge finagled a couple of tickets, and we were off to the Rock!

This was the highlight of Tristan's trip, and he could barely contain his glee!  As per our tickets, we arrived at the wharf 30 minutes early, and lined up with 200 other excited visitors to catch the ferry across the Bay.  That day the sun had melted the fog and we could finally see the entire bridge all at once as well as the city scape.  It made for some fantastic photos!

Once on the Rock, we had an opportunity to watch a documentary on the history of the island, and take an audio tour of the old jail house.  It was really interesting.  However, after a few hours, we caught the ferry back to the city, and drove the 5 hours home.

Despite the weather being a lot cooler than I expected, it was a great weekend.  Tristan and I will spend the next few days hanging out, and then next weekend we will go on our next big adventure together to San Diego - we can't wait!

Missing you all at home

Tristan and Penni (together - at last!)