Missing Statues and Spaghetterias

Want to know the worst thing about the West Coast?

It’s not the lack of financial responsibility bankrupting California. It’s not the number of illegal immigrants leaching off of taxpayers. It’s not the high gas prices. It’s not the extreme liberal politics.

It’s the fact that even if you sleep in until 10 AM, it’s only 7 AM since your body’s still operating on East Coast time.

But as they say, the early bird gets the worm. Or in this case, the one and only treadmill in the fitness center. It felt amazing outside and someone was awesome enough to leave the fitness center door to the outdoor pool open. You can’t beat inside running with outside crisp air. Two miles (literally) and a shower later, it was time to hit the ground running (figuratively).

There wasn’t anyone around to suggest I eat at Denny’s or Shoney’s, so I made an appearance at the next best place – The Seven Seas Cafe at the hotel. I’m used to Southern breakfasts, so the bacon and hash browns fell a little short. But I got their apple fritter french toast and it was absolutely amazing. Apples AND french toast combined into one? Uh yes please!

Then it was finally time to start hitting the sites. First up on the list was the Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma. I’m big on getting my National Parks passport stamped anywhere I go and with Cabrillo being the only National Park in the San Diego area, it was a given. The San Diego weather didn’t disappoint either. It was gorgeous on the point.

Panorama Lighthouse

Showing off my iPhone 5

Panorama Ocean

Such a perfect day

I’m not really sure what the intrigue with lighthouses seems to be. They’re just a tower with a big light bulb on top. It’s always interesting checking them out for some reason, though. Everything was closed off behind glass but you could still look into all of the rooms in the house on the way up to the actual light itself. It was all so tiny!

Point Loma Lighthouse     Point Loma Lighthouse Flag

The new lighthouse and Coast Guard digs were just a little bit nicer than the old one.

Coast Guard LighthouseThe actual park is named for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who led the first European expedition to the west coast in September 1542. The monument was established in 1913, which is pretty early in the grand scheme of things. If Wikipedia doesn’t make me out to be a liar, it was the 15th national monument in the country.

CabrilloFrom there, I drove down to the tide pools. I’m a boy and there were groups of people climbing on rocks by the water. Like I’m not going to aimlessly follow…

Tidepools North     Tidepools South

And with that, I called it quits on the solo vacation and hanging out at Point Loma. My high school buddy friend Bethany lives in San Diego and works nights. So by lunch time, I’d given her enough time to catch up on sleep before joining the craziness that is my vacation. We met up at the hotel (that doesn’t sound sketchy at all rereading this…), dropped the Mustang off at the airport, proceeded to get stuck in the lane you drop rental cars off (-insert girl driver joke here-), and eventually headed our way downtown.

We skirted our way around a Martin Luther King Jr parade through downtown San Diego (side note: It was a little weird seeing that out West. I feel like that whole situation isn’t fully grasped for non-Southerners. The gesture’s there but I’m not sure the understanding is) on our way to the first non-solo stop on the trip: the USS Midway. We were warned at the ticket window: the ship closed at 5pm, the tour took 3 hours, and it was already 3pm. Dual executive decisions were made to wing it and rush through. And in hindsight, that was probably way more fun than listening to the self-guided audio tour for 3 hours. Running commentary with someone you haven’t seen since high school is pretty entertaining.

We saw the deck, officer quarters, crew quarters, mess hall, ready rooms, the bridge, and who knows what else. Probably all out of order. I had the most fun on the bridge tour and checking out the crew quarters. I had the least fun noticing the “dated” items left in the bunks were almost all from the 1990s. I would have punched a kid in the throat had I heard one comment on how old the 1991 bumper sticker or Jurassic Park paperback was. In front of his 25 year old parents, no less.

But we rocked the self-guided created tour with 15 minutes left to spare.

Midway Flight Deck     Midway Profile

Next stop on the list was this huge statue of the kissing sailor from New York on VJ Day in 1945. My local tour guide kept mentioning how awkward it was because of the size and location. I kept wondering why a statue from the New York kissing sailor was in San Diego. So we walk down a couple of blocks, head back towards the water, and find…

Nothing.

After all the hype, I was a bit disappointed to say the least. I may or may not have claimed it ruined my trip? Oops…

Turns out though, it’s a little crazy after doing some research now that I’m back home. This LA Times blog mentions that it was permanently removed in June and shipped back to the Santa Monica foundation that owns it. My first question is still why was that statue in San Diego? My second question is why does a Santa Monica foundation own it? And my final question is what does one do with a 6,000 pound sculpture if you’re going to remove it from its location? Lawn ornament, maybe? Either way, there’s a fantastic picture on that blog of what the sculpture would have looked like in person… had it been there for me to see. Ugh.

After that disaster, we set off in search of food. There was a local pizza place in Little Italy my friend was supposed to try based on solid intel. But it wound up having a line wrapped around the entire store to get in. Even at “old people dinner time” (6-ish). So we settled on less line but cooler name: Little Italy Spaghetteria! I had some delicious penne salmon (I refuse to put the e on the end of salmon. Because I’m American! I do what I want!) and about a gallon of water after trekking all over the city.

From dinner, we quickly realized no one had decided to plan any night activities. Apparently San Diego gets boring after the sun goes down. So we leeched one of Monday’s plans and headed over to Coronado Island at night instead of doing the beach thing during the day. For those of you from SC, Coronado is essentially Mt. Pleasant on steroids. It was designed around beaches, designer shops, and kids blowing through rich moms and dads’ money. We hit the local Starbucks (you’ll quickly notice a theme…) and did some beach walking in the shadow of the Hotel Del Coronado. I’ve always been a strong proponent that the beach is a much better place at night. While there are far fewer half naked people (sometimes that’s a good thing), it’s a lot calmer and more relaxing.

Hotel Del Coronado

It was my favorite stop of the day, by far. I got to walk in the sand with waves crashing down, enjoy some quiet company, and just stare at the stars. I could have stayed out there all night.

To finish out the night old-people-style, we picked up a movie (Looper – which was fantastic, by the way) and called it quits on my first day in San Diego. Compared to the plans laid out for the rest of the trip, it was a fairly tame day. But I’m not sure I would have planned it any other way.

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2 Responses to Missing Statues and Spaghetterias

  1. hopeclark says:

    Yay Nanu. You plan good vacations. Going to places and getting lost in them instead of just hitting the commercial stuff. Nice job. And you’re 30 . . . you’re allowed to be sketchy.

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