San Diego, 20th June - 1st July, 2010
San Diego came highly recommend by a lot of other travellers for tanning it up and partying, so we decided to come down and see what all the fuss was about. We ended up staying here for a total of a week a half, which is the longest we've stayed anywhere in the US and it was real nice to have some proper chill out time.
So we went to some nice beaches, some great bars (ok, a lot of bars) and met some great people. We spent our time in San Diego either sunbathing when the sun was out, or drinking when it wasn't. We had heard about something called 'June Gloom' which means that the whole area is usually overcast due to the 'sea mist' (we would just call this fog), but by the afternoon it has usually burnt off enough to get a couple of hours sunbathing in. We had hoped that as we were getting to San Diego at the end of June we wouldn't see the gloom, but it was actually here everyday - more often than not it was all day, which is very surprising considering it is only 13 miles north of Mexico.
Coronado, La Jolla & Ocean Beach
I don't know what it is or how it happens but we quite often end up taking the longest possible route we can find and walking for hours, rather than the 10 minutes as given on the directions.We don't know how this happens, but it happens a lot, and this phenomenon struck at every beach we went to.
On our first day we went to Coronado Beach.Instructions state 30 minute bus ride, 5 minute walk. Actual time - 30 minute bus ride, 60 minutes walk. This might have something to do with getting off the bus at the wrong stop, but even when we found the correct stop it still took us 30 minutes to locate the beach. You wouldn't think that would be a difficult task but they literally do not sign post anything in this country!
So we finally found the beach and we're lying there wondering why there were so many helicopters and aeroplanes flying overhead (about one every 10 minutes). We figured there was just an airport nearby, that was until the fighter jets started flying in. We then found out that the whole island of Coronado is actually an American Naval base. Hmmmmm, how very interesting! ;)
The second time we came back here we had brought new sun tan lotion.We both had on what Hawaiian Tropic class as "quick drying oil". Quick drying my ass!!! We were both lying there looking like we had just been dipped in a vat of Oil and magically dropped onto the beach. It took about 3 hours for this "quick drying oil" to soak in, and I'm surprised the aircraft flying over us didn't crash due to the blinding reflections bouncing off of us.
Stated time 40 minute bus ride, 5 minute walk. Actual time 2.5 hour bus ride, 5 minute walk there, 2 hour walk on way back (to avoid suicidal bus driver). The bus ride there was absolutely insane - 3 days later and all the bruises really started coming through. I've taken a video which I will try and upload, so you can see what it's like to be driven around by a bus driver with a death wish. I was thrown around so much that my whole body came clear of the seats 3 times, we were constantly jolted around, the bus sounded like it was falling apart and the more we screamed and laughed the faster he went!
So after getting off the bus and kissing the ground that we were still alive, we went to the street fair at Ocean Beach. It was full of hippy shops, food & drink stands, market stalls, a lot of arty things like buying a square on a wall and painting whatever you wanted on it, loads of give aways and they also had 3 stages with bands playing music all day.
We were walking around when I spotted a hippy store where everything was $2 - Bargain-o-rama!! J :) They had such cool stuff and we both ended up getting a dress each, and I got a funky top too. We then carried on with the street fair and both got some accessories for our new purchases, along with trying out lots of small samplers from the food stands. Unfortunately we had missed the chilli cookoff which finished at midday (what kind of cook off finishes at lunch time?!) but we sat on the beach listening to one of the bands on the main stage and watching the waves rolling in.
A large helping of drinking, with drinking on top and a side order of drinking please
So like I said if we weren't sunbathing, we were drinking, and as most of the days were overcast we became frequent visitors of San Diego's drinking establishments. These's were some of our top bars:
Dicks -An outside bar that looks like it was once a car park. It's covered in bright umbrellas, big wooden tables, has strange murals on the walls, they've even got one of those high lifeguard chairs for the servers to stand on (seriously you don't want to call one of these guys a waiter!), all servers are mentally deranged and very, very loud, and they serve a gorgeous frozen raspberry cocktail called a Razzicle. A very good place to sit outside, get some afternoon drinking in, and even out your strap marks. :)
The Field - This is an Irish pub that was taken apart piece by piece and brought over to the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. So after being out on Saturday night and getting in at 5am Sunday we came here for a Sunday morning fry up (we were going to have a chilled day to aid recovery from the night before), but instead met a group of guys and gals from somewhere near Canada and ended up staying here all day (yes drinking, how can you not in an Irish pub?!) before heading off to a club with them. One of the guys said I sounded like his old Mini Coopers sat nav and all day kept asking me to give directions. I suppose you just had to be there really :)
Mo's club - So our quiet chilled day turned into a day of drinking with some very loud Americans, followed by a night out in one of San Diego's top gay night clubs. This was the best night out we'd had in the states and we didn't stop dancing, drinking and chatting to people all night. Everyone was so friendly, they all loved our accents and even developed an army of guys we called out 'security staff' all keeping an eye out for us and rescuing us if we got hassled. Absolute top night! We finally crawled in at 3am Monday morning - not bad for just popping out for brekkie ;)
Mahoney's - this had the best stocked bar I've ever seen, and I even did my first ever vodka jelly shot (3 actually, but who's counting?!)
Hard Rock Cafe - another foggy afternoon washed away with cocktails and this time in the Hard Rock Cafe. Bargain if you ask me - buy a hurricane glass which fits 2 cocktails for 13 buckaroos and only pay half price for each refill! Nice :) That glass is on it's way home now - soooo having a welcome home cocktail drinks!That is of course as long as I've not become a raging alcoholic who's finally decided to go T-total.Only messing, I wouldn't do that to you all! ;)
Double Deuce / Buckin Broncho - we ended up in here a couple of times and what a blast we had both nights. We actually spent the whole of our last night here and I ended up being the judge in a 'Is the US Marine Corp better than the Air force' competition. Absolutely hilarious, and I have to say that on this occasion the Marines won it hands down. I was even invited to join the Hawaiian Airforce's buckin broncho team, but thankfully even with the amount of alcohol consumed I realised I probably shouldn't due to my erm 'cut of top', and the fact I didn't fancy getting 2 black eyes and a broken nose if you catch my meaning! ;)
So that's it, another city crossed off. We've really enjoyed our stay in San Diego and it's been a real nice break from constantly moving around, and it's hopefully prepared our livers for 4 nights in Vegas. :) So we've now got an absolute whirlwind over the next 12 days which will include LA, Vegas, our road trip, the Grand Canyon and Death Valley all to be crammed in before we leave the states. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. In one way it feels like we've been away ages but at the same time, I can't believe we'll be leaving the states in under 2 weeks.
Anyway Ciao for now. Next update will be from Santa Monica, LA.