Stop 25: San Diego
We'd experienced a slight hiccup on arrival in San Diego, where our latest host was unfortunately not aware of our booking, and so was not expecting us... We feared homelessness but luckily he was able to quickly sort our room - we wouldn't have been able to handle trying to find alternate accommodation in our hungover, sleep-deprived states! We quickly fell in love with our latest adopted pet, Colt the dog - the softest dog in the world, who quickly made himself at home in our room, jumping on the bed and demanding cuddles.
After parting ways with our beautiful Solange, we decided we needed a hit of the good stuff to help us to cope with her loss.... The finest pasta San Diego has to offer. We grabbed a cab Downtown and headed to Little Italy, where Helen enjoyed everything set in front of her, but some alien being parading as Nat who was unable to eat even half her meal.... This must be a BAD hangover. We returned to our apartment for an early night, hoping to wake up new people.
We hopped on a bus Downtown, where we enjoyed our day exploring the waterfront - with the weather now a much more bearable 80F degrees. We wandered past the Naval base, in the hope of being able to spot some handsome sailors but were sadly unsuccessful. We stopped to look at the "Unconditional Surrender" statue by the Midway Aircraft Museum, a towering statue of a sailor kissing an unknown woman in Times Square, to celebrate the end of WW2, before wandering along the marina, lined with gift shops, bars, tarot stalls and caricaturists. To get ourselves in the mood for our Hawaii trip, we stopped at a Hawaiian restaurant and enjoyed a lunch of sushi and salads - desperately attempting to be bikini-ready.
We then hopped on a trolley (tram) to Fashion Valley, an outdoor mall where we enjoyed a couple of hours of shopping before grabbing dinner to go from a Mediterranean takeaway, which we then snuck into the cinema with us. We were far from popular - we were a little late for the film which had already started, and then rustled about noisily preparing our evening meal - the guys next to us were dying to say something insulting, incredulous at us cheek at sneaking a two-course meal into the cinema!
After the movie we found there were no trolleys back to our neighbourhood of Hillcrest, and so set off instead for the main road to hail a cab. We found a gas station just off the main road and decided to ask them to call a cab for us, but on our way in we found a lady called Amy outside her car who had drank FAR too many cocktails, before getting behind the wheel of her car. She tried to offer us a lift to Hillcrest which we declined, instead forcing her to abandon her car for the night and bundling her into our taxi. Amy didn't let our good deed be an easy one - she rambled on drunkenly, shining her torch in the driver's face and forced Helen to leave a voicemail in her best English accent for her boyfriend. To make it even more painful, our taxi driver couldn't find our address despite our repeated efforts to guide him/show him a map, and by this point Amy was starting to get even more out of hand so we quickly paid the fare and opted to hop out of the cab and walk 15 mins to our apartment, rather than continue this farce! We're sure our taxi driver was over the moon to ferry Amy home on his own without us to ward her off.
Another lovely sunny day, perfect for a visit to the zoo. We were like two kids on a school trip, running from enclosure to enclosure, impersonating our favourite animals. We enjoyed an outdoor 'tree tops' outdoor lunch (more on that later...) with a view of the pandas in their enclosure, before taking a ride in the SkyRide cable car high above the zoo. As usual, we misjudged time and had to run to the panda enclosure before the zoo closed - viewings were over for the day, but a lot of pleading in a very British accent got us in for a quick viewing. Cue much whispered abuse of the poor panda as we reenacted a popular scene from Anchorman, and took a few panda selfies. Our aim for the day fulfilled and the zoo now closed, we took a quick wander through nearby Balboa Park, before returning home to pack ready for Hawaii.
However, in the night Helen was sadly struck down with food poisoning courtesy of her chicken salad from the zoo - not a happy 24 hours for the poor love. Hawaii was unfortunately out of the question on Monday, and so we quickly changed our flights to fly Tuesday instead to allow Helen 24 hours to recover.
We woke on Tuesday to find Helen radically improved - all systems go for Hawaii!