My first day in California was mainly a driving day. I started the morning in Arizona working on the blog and the second half of the day I drove west through California on my way to San Diego.
My first full day in San Diego was awesome. I started with a trip up to La Jolla Cove (pronounced La Hoya Cove) to see the sea lions. It was so cool! Down at the beach you could walk right up next to them! I had to resist the urge to try and pet them. There was a little reddish-brown one sleeping so peacefully…it was the cutest thing! In that moment I really wished I was a mermaid so I could have a sea lion as a pet and cuddle with it. Yeah, I know, it may sound like I lost my mind slightly, but I’ve heard sea lions are the dogs of the sea…so there’s that…
There was a small beach area at La Jolla Cove but the surrounding area was quite rocky. Nonetheless, there were a couple people swimming and surfing around the cove. At one point I was absentmindedly watching these two guys when a lifeguard ran into view and I realized one of the guys I had been watching had been caught by the current and was being pushed toward the rocks away from the beach… Yikes! I then realized the guy on the surfboard near him was a lifeguard and was trying to help the swimmer get back to the beach. As the surfing lifeguard tried to help the swimmer away from the rocks the other lifeguard jumped in and swam out to help. Together the two lifeguards managed to guide the swimmer back to the beach safely. Crazy!
After that highly intense moment I decided to move along and see what else there was to see around La Jolla Cove. As I walked away from the cove area I saw a couple of guys way out in the water body surfing. They were pretty far out because all along the shore from where they were were huge rocks. I was impressed with their swimming chops because a. they had to swim quite a way to get out that far and body surf and b. because they’d still need energy when they were done surfing to swim all the way back to the cove beach. They were pretty darn far. It was cool though, because I’d totally heard of body surfing, but had never seen it in real life before.
As I kept walking I saw a lady painting. She had a bunch of her work laid out in the grass next to her so people could buy it. On her other side on a post was this bird. From my vantage point it looked like she was painting the bird and that the bird was posing for her. Once I got close enough I made some comment along the lines of, “How did you train the bird to sit so still for you?” She laughed and responded by getting some bread out. I watched her feed the bird and then a nearby squirrel. She started talking to me and I ended up staying and talking to her for over an hour and a half.
I learned that the painter lady, is this awesome Italian woman who’s been in San Diego for like twenty-six years. She paints and does other cool things to make ends meet. We talked about love and life and travel and adventure. It was wonderful. I love meeting new people and hearing all about their lives. It’s probably one of my favorite parts about my trip. I just make friends so easily, with the most random people, in the strangest places.
I think the best part was when I went to leave and say goodbye and I suddenly realized I’d been talking to this lady for so long and yet I didn’t know her name. I knew she had a twin and who some of her friends were, but we hadn’t actually introduced ourselves properly. Those moments are the absolute best. Like, I totally just connected with this person and yet I don’t even know the most basic thing about them… Amazing! Her name, for the record, is Marysia, at least I think that’s how you spell it…I didn’t ask.
After La Jolla Cove I dipped my feet in the Pacific Ocean and watched some surfers do their thing for a bit at Windansea Beach. It was too cold to actually go swimming and high tide was coming in so the beach was receding rather quickly. That being the case, I didn’t stay terribly long.
Instead I went to Old Town San Diego and wandered around. It was pretty neat. One place had two-for-one root beer floats but I wasn’t quite in the mood for one, let alone two, so I got a churro instead. I liked checking out all the different little shops and things, but after a while I was ready to move on to my next adventure for the day.
My host had recommended I check out Waterfront Park, so I did that next. Waterfront Park had cool boats to look at, but I didn’t want to pay $1.25/hr for parking, so I just stayed within sight of my car and left after like ten minutes.
The road to Seaport Village literally ends in a parking area and says it’s $4 for any time under 3 hours. There’s nowhere to turn around or any signs saying you’re about to enter a parking area, you just end up there. I was so annoyed. I hadn’t wanted to pay $1.25 for parking earlier and here I was stuck paying $4?! Not to mention the fact that Seaport Village was just a touristy area with some shops… Gah!
To be fair, the view of the water and the city skyline was nice. Since there really wasn’t anything I could do, I decided to roll with it and get the most out of my time, so I wandered around and FaceTimed with Alex, which was nice.
When I went to leave, I hadn’t gotten my parking ticket validated and gate thing said I owed $24! What. The. Frack?! I freaked out, but thankfully there was a worker guy nearby who told me to go inside somewhere and get it validated.
I parked the car and ran inside. I was still freaking out because I was just barely making it out in under three hours and any time after the three hours was $3/hour! Sure enough, with my parking ticket validated, I went to leave again and the price was $7 instead of $4. Damn! As I’m grumbling about paying $3 for three minutes, the same guy saves the day again by swiping a special pass that reduces my fee back to only $4. Score! I told him he was my favorite person and that he totally just made my day, he smiled and said it was no problem at all. The kindness of strangers…I’m telling you…
That night my host and I went out for Taco Tuesday. Her friend, also named Brittany, joined us, and on the way we picked up two more of her friends, a guy and a girl. We started at a bar/restaurant called World Famous where they have taco deals if you buy a drink. I was totally in the mood for a margarita, so I got one. Then later I decided I was actually hungry so I had my first ever shrimp taco. It was pretty good. Next we headed to a place called Open Bar where we were killing time until the bar the group wanted to go to started their nightly drink specials. Once Cabo Cantina’s 2-for-1 drink special started we went there for a bit and were joined by a few more people.
Eventually we left Cabo Cantina and headed somewhere we could dance. At that point Brittany and the group that had joined us at Cabo went home. Shortly after arriving at the dance bar, which I didn’t catch the name of, the other girl we arrived with also went home. Not to worry, as we were taking a selfie at the bar I picked up a couple of South American college students, one from Chile and the other from Peru. I danced for a while with the guy from Chile and then with the guy from Peru and then my host was hungry and ready to head out so we left. On the way back to her place we stopped at another bar, the one the guy we were with had wanted to go to earlier. I again made a couple new friends with the people sitting next to us at the bar and then we eventually caught our Uber and stopped to get french fries on the way home.
My third day in California was another driving day. I drove part of Highway 1, the scenic route along the Pacific Ocean and then it randomly ended and spit me out inland. I only realized this when I suddenly noticed there were a ton of farms all around me and I could no longer see the ocean… I managed to find the costal route again somehow, but it was all a bit confusing. Either way the drive was really pretty.