Guest Columnist - John Ropa
In the old days, when my wife, Arty, and I still traveled, we used to pick out a city which neither of us had ever visited and book a flight to that destination. This time it was to be San Diego, where, according to the local chamber of commerce, the sun never sleeps and it never rains.
Our vacation got off to a slow start because of the local weather and we had to fly to Chicago from Dubuque,IA. The luncheon special on the flight to San Diego was gelatinous meat with a spicy cheese sauce to cover the flavor. Fortunately, even though the food was awful, the portions were small.
After checking in during early afternoon on a Saturday, we decided to stroll the harbor. We passed Toussaint Teen Center and went in to try to see one, but some girl said, like, they were, like not there. Arty, of course, found the Horton Shopping Plaza almost immediately. While she shopped, I had a cup of coffee and kind of dozed off on a sunny bench. I thought I had dressed appropriately, but when I woke up, someone had deposited 53 cents in my cup. Arty wanted a snack, so I stayed there and collected another 38 cents.
We decided to have dinner in the Gaslamp section of town. The Gaslamp is an area where even the Thai restaurants are Italian. We chose Del Medici for some fish stew, whose name I can't spell. We spent Sunday at Coronado after a pleasant ferry ride. Arty went shopping while I dozed in the sunshine. I collected nearly a dollar this time.
Monday we took the city tour and stopped at Balboa Park. The Art Museum was closed, but we spent a pleasant, rainy day rushing in and out of buildings that were open. We ate a big lunch in Old Town, which was so big that we had skip supper.
Tuesday we took the trolley to Tijuana. Arty went shopping, but was dismayed to note that nearly all of the prices were almost 10 times the prices she had expected. I found no incentive to advise her of the 10 to one exchange rate and was quietly pleased that the Mexican department stores all use dollar signs.
That night, the rain let up long enough for us to walk over to the Marriott for a couple of drinks. We let the waitress know it was out 36th wedding anniversary, so she bought us a round and delivered a couple of pieces of New York cheesecake on the house.
Wednesday was Escondido day for us. We caught the 20 bus, transferred to the 382 at Escondido and caught the 307 to the Wild Life Park. The park is a treasure, and some of the animals seemed to wave as the tram went by. In the midst of many orange trees, we had a glass of freshly squeezed juice poured directly from a cardboard carton.
Thursday we took off in brilliant sunshine and made it home on schedule. We had a great time, even though everywhere we went, there was an extreme shortage of water. Nevertheless, any place where it's easier to get a beer than a glass of water is ok in my book.