Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: USA Road Trip 2011

City life

I got up at 0730 after a great night's sleep. In retrospect that seems quite early, considering the previous evening's consumption, but I didn't want to snooze my way through my weekend in San Diego. We walked to Bruce's favourite neighbourhood coffee shop, Claire de Lune, for a light breakfast. I found it fascinating just watching the city - or at least, North Park - coming to life on a Saturday morning. It was all so different from the places that I had visited on my road trip, and so much more cosmopolitan than the small city in central Scotland that I called home. The coffee shop itself proved to be a popular spot, although a new Starbucks directly across the street looked as though it might pose a commercial threat. We wandered back to Bruce's apartment to pick up the car, noticing that the streets were already very much busier than when we had set out.

The next item on the agenda was there for my benefit: a visit to Fry's electronics store, easily the largest such warehouse-type store that I had ever seen. My mission to buy a new set of noise-cancelling headphones was successful and, although it didn't seem all that long since breakfast, we then drove to China Max in the Kearny Mesa district for a delicious dim sum lunch. It was nice to see that the slight morning mist - enough to drop the temperature by a few degrees - had now burned off and it looked likely to be a glorious afternoon. The restaurant itself was extremely busy and hugely popular with local Chinese people, which is always a good sign. The food lived up to expectations.

We then made the short drive to Balboa Park, an area that I had visited several times previously but of which I never tire. The former exhibition site contains many museums, mostly along the central El Prado boulevard, which are in a striking mixture of Spanish and Spanish-Colonial architecture and which invariably look stunning in the southern California sunshine. The park is also a centre of the performing arts and contains a number of gardens as well as the world-class San Diego Zoo. We concentrated on the El Prado section, in particular visiting the new home of the Museum of Photographic Arts.

After an opportunity to relax back at base for a while, we walked to dinner at a local and somewhat German-sounding sausage and beer restaurant, which rejoiced in the thoroughly Anglo-Saxon name of The Linkery. Once again, it proved to be a hugely popular spot and indeed, all of the surrounding streets seemed to me to be bursting with life as people were out enjoying themselves on a Saturday evening. I enjoyed my unusual meal, although I can't say that I recognised the sausage as a Bratwurst, which is what it was meant to be. What struck me about the walk back to the apartment was how, in the space of a couple of blocks, all the hubbub was left behind and the immediate neighbourhood became one of peace and calm.

We spent the rest of the evening watching DVDs and in between, catching snippets of the huge media build-up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, which of course was due to take place the next day. 

Saturday 10 Sep

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