I arrived in San Diego after a pretty hungover 2 hour journey from L.A. I always seem to have a drink the night before I'm due to take a journey somewhere! Still, it was only a short one straight down the freeway that runs next to the coast for most of the way. On arriving in the Greyhound depot I caught the local bus to my hostel on Ocean Beach, about 30 mins from the city where I was glad to down my bags and relax.
My hostel was the cheapest place to stay in San Diego and although it was a little out of the city and involved me getting the bus in and out every day it was ideal. The street it's on, Newport Ave, is like a mini Venice Beach, full of smoke shops, hippies, bums, bars and Mexican takeaways. The Ocean Beach area has a very distinct feel to it, it's very laid back and peaceful. The hostel itself wasnt so peaceful, it was quite noisy most of the time despite there being a 9pm alcohol curfew in force, work that one out! I didnt do a lot that evening as I was shattered from the previous nights drinking on the Sunset Strip. I showered and went to bed to read.
Next morning after grabbing my free breakfast of eggs, pancakes and toast I caught the bus into the city to have a proper look round and explore the place. I wandered round the Gaslamp Quarter which is full of bars and restaurants and then caught the tram up to the Old Town area of the city. Old Town is full of history in terms of how San Diego started and some of the original buildings are still standing. Being close to the Mexican border theres also a lot of Mexican souvenir shops too selling all kinds of cool stuff that I couldnt buy for fear of it getting broken in my bag! I've never seen so many cool Mexican wrestling masks either, I'm sure I spotted Nacho Libre's mask! As its only 17 miles from San Diego I had considered visiting Mexico for the day but had been warned about people crossing into Tijuana and falling foul of the characters that wait around the border. It didnt seem like a bright idea to go down there on my own so I blanked it.
San Diego is a bit different to L.A, it still has all of the bums and odd characters that inhabit it but overall it's that bit nicer a place. I was out all day and hadnt realised how long I'd spent just walking round the city and browsing in shops. I got back to the hostel at 8pm! On getting back I cracked open a bottle of 58% rum that I'd picked up on my way out of Fiji and drank it with some Brazilian guys from the hostel. It needed drinking as it occurred to me that I wouldnt be able to take it on the plane up to Seattle in a few days time. Between us we drank 3 quarters of it that night, not bad going eh! Afterward I went to an Irish bar, The Harp, two doors down with some American guys, Bo, Derek and Tom who had started talking to me as they passed the hostel. On chatting about where i'd been since leaving the UK Bo couldnt work out why I'd want to travel so far to countries like Laos! He thought it was awesome and seemed amazed that people actually bother to go that far afield in the first place. It must be the fact that America is so huge and diverse a country that many Americans dont look further than their own shores when it comes to travelling. Bo and his mates were good lads and we had a good drink together. A Beatles cover band were playing at the Harp that night, they were pretty good and I stayed til the end of the set and then stumbled 20 yards back to the hostel to bed.
Because of the previous nights indulgence I woke up feeling pretty shoddy. That rum is killer stuff and I'm glad I dont have access to it on a regular basis! Devil drink! I didnt venture far that day, I chose to spend the day relaxing on the beach and writing postcards and just chilling with the sun and the sound of the ocean. I didnt book a hostel next to the coast to spend all my time in the city either! I spent the evening cooking jerk chicken and rice and got an early one.
Next morning I was up and revived and felt ready for a full day of seeing the sights. I went out, had a chat online with Ciara for the first time in 2 weeks then afterward went to look around the USS Midway museum. The USS Midway is a decommissioned warship that served in the American Navy for more than 60 years from 1943. The walk around the ship takes around 3 hours comfortably but I made it round there in about nearly 2 as it was mid afternoon by the time I got there. What I did manage to see on my way round there was very impressive in terms of the size and capability of the ship. Its truly an amazing piece of engineering. On the flight deck there are many different aircraft that have served in various wars spanning back some 40 years that you can look around, one of which, a helicopter that you can walk inside of. After walking round the vast flight deck, I ventured below to walk around the many different sections of the ship, too many to list here! I really needed the full 3 hours to walk round and see everything properly but it was better than not doing it at all. After I was done at the Midway I went to watch Clash Of The Titans which was just as impressive in it's own way! Plenty of massive monsters and action! The only downer of the movie were the parents who decided to bring along their crabby baby that decided to bawl at completely the crucial moments while I, along with everyone else, was trying to enjoy the movie! Seriously, leave the kid at home with the babysitter, its a cinema not a frikkin creche!
That evening I went to bed earlyish as I had another full day planned for my last day in San Diego. I got the bus across town up to Balboa Park to visit San Diego Zoo. Myself and Ciara had already visited Singapore Zoo which was brilliant so 'visit zoo' was already ticked off the list but seeing as San Diego Zoo is world famous I felt obliged to visit it. Most of the animals were the same as any you'd see in any other zoo in the world but there were also many different species that I wouldnt have seen elsewhere either. One of which was a mother and daughter Panda, the cub born there at the zoo, I'm sure it made the news last year, cant be sure... After a full day at the zoo and achy legs to boot I caught the bus back over to the hostel. From Balboa Park you have to get 2 buses and it takes about an hour and a half sheerly because the city is so big! I managed to make it back in time for the free meal that the hostel puts on twice a week - spaghetti! You can never turn down a free meal when you're backpacking!
After two plates worth of spaghetti I broke out the rum and finished the bottle with Igor, my Brazilian friend and a few others whilst we played beer pong, a game which the aim of is to land a ping pong ball into your opponents cup which is half full of beer. There are 6 cups set out like bowling pins and depending on which one you land it in your opponent has to drink anything up to 3 cups one after another. After I'd finished beer pong and also the rum I broke out the free bottle of cheap spritzer 'champagne' that I'd been given on checking into the hostel and drank that too. Bad idea as I had a hungover flight up to Seattle the next day, great fun!
I would write more but its late and my brain doesnt have the energy to stay up any longer and tell you all about how fun Seattle has been so far! Til next time!