Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

San Diego, California, USA: It Never Rains in Southern California

My mom is going to San Diego for a work conference and initially my dad was going to join her but now he has to work. I guess I'll be a good son and go enjoy southern California on his behalf. The sacrifices I make for my family!
Things are about to get more Funner!
Things are about to get more Funner!

Sunward Bound

The only way to fly out of Anchorage seems to be late in the evening, so between six hours of flying, and a four-hour layover/connection in Seattle, I get very little sleep. 

Arriving in San Diego just before 9h, my sleep-deprived self is rejuvenated by how much better the weather is here. We have a rental car, so I’ll be seeing as much of the city as I can. My mom's hotel/conference is located is at Paradise Point in Mission Bay. It has island themed bungalow style rooms with lagoons all around. 

Head out to run some errands and eat at The Habit Burger, where the tempura green beans are amazing. Afterwards, we have the joy of experiencing San Diego traffic (the highways have an interesting system where the merging lanes are regulated by stoplights) so we can meet up with some friends (the Fowler’s) from our time in Germany, who now live here. We have dinner at a Greek restaurant in Chula Vista and catch up while we eat and recall some of our good times together. We're so tired, that once we arrive at the hotel, we go straight to bed at 20h30.

So nice to sit outside where it's warm and sunny
So nice to sit outside where it's warm and sunny
Those tempura green beans tho!
Those tempura green beans tho!
Reunited and it feels so Greek
Reunited and it feels so Greek

Dronin' La Jolla

Wake up early and go check out the fitness center for a quick Train with TMax workout. My mom leaves early to go get ready for her conference, but I go up the observation tower at the hotel to get view of Mission Bay. After showering and grabbing breakfast, I drive up to La Jolla (why it’s not “la joya”, I have no idea). There is 2 hour free parking all along the beach, but I park two streets over, without even confirming to see if there are more spots, out of habit from living in Europe

In La Jolla, I see the tide pools, Cuvier park, the Children's Pool (where seals lay on the beach, actual children are not allowed to swim there), and the cove (the biggest attraction because of free roaming seals and sea lions). There is wildlife everywhere: crabs, pelicans, seagulls, and squirrels. And peoplelife everywhere too: scuba divers, kayakers, and stand up paddle boarders. Despite signs, people feeding and approaching birds, squirrels, seals and sea lions so the animals are not afraid and will let you get close. Today I don’t have much planned, so I take my time and use my drone quite a bit all around this area.

View from the room, and the first image I get everyday
View from the room, and the first image I get everyday
The tidepools are behind me, and beside me, and under me
The tidepools are behind me, and beside me, and under me
All these little sea creatures are hiding in there
All these little sea creatures are hiding in there
Ah, good ol Murica
Ah, good ol Murica
The views here are just breath taking
The views here are just breathtaking
I'm so close! They almost bit the dude that was standing here before me
I'm so close! They almost bit the dude that was standing here before me
Are these birds-of-paradise following me?
Are these birds-of-paradise following me?


San Diego Bay Day

Head to Coronado (an isthmus - yeah I know, I had to look it up too) to meet up with Ericka (the eldest Fowler) and her family. I walk around Coronado Tidelands Park, overlooking the San Diego Bay, until they arrive. This park is beautiful and there are paddle boarders, bikers, runners, walkers, dog walkers, children, people doing yoga, and others. It is the cleanest park ever, and even has automatic hand sanitizers around the park. 

Once the family shows up, we head to Ferry's Landing, an outdoor shopping area and port to take the ferry across the bay. Then, we head to Hotel del Coronado, a luxury hotel and beach that doubles as a tourist attraction. Paul (Ericka’s husband) takes the girls (Sadie and Darby) home, while Ericka and I go downtown. 

Entering the city you see so many homeless walking the streets. It's gotta be better to be homeless here than in Alaska. Although, there was recently a Hepatitis A breakout in the homeless community here, and the city is reacting by putting hand washing stations and sanitizers everywhere (explains Tidelands Park from earlier). We park right in front of Pet Co. field to go eat at Lolita's, where we stuff ourselves with the California Burrito. 

From there, we go to the USS Midway and walk along the pier and embarcadero. We have a photo shoot with yours truly, and Ericka photo bombs a few of my selfies, but I don’t mind. We even get to FaceTime with the youngest Fowler, Rebekah (also the only one not living here in San Diego). 

Then, we continue up to Balboa Park (one of the largest urban parks - even bigger than Central Park in NYC). We only see a small portion of it so I’ll have to go back one day. One of the staff tells me that I can’t fly my drone in the park, but we see someone else with a drone, who apparently wasn’t warned (or didn’t heeded any possible warnings). I take Ericka home and have another joyous opportunity to navigate San Diego traffic, before heading to the hotel and taking my mom out to Red Lobster for an endless shrimp evening. 
Tidelands park with a view of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in the background
Tidelands park with a view of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in the background
Ferry's Landing with the San Diego skyline
Ferry's Landing with the San Diego skyline
Tim and Ericka eating burritos at Lolita's
Lolita and her California Burritos
Tim and Ericka standing in front of the Gas Lamp District
I bet the lamps used to run on gas in this area. Just a guess ;-)
Tim and Ericka at the Bob Hope Memorial
Bob Hope is still crackin' us up today
A panorama with Tim doing a handstand in front of the USS Midway
Three iconic things in San Diego in one shot: the USS Midway, the TMax doing a handstand, and "Embracing Peace" 
Tim and Ericka in front of the Star of India
There can only be one star... of India... nnapolis
Tim in front of the USS Midway
This is a really really big boat
Tim at the USS San Diego Memorial
The USS San Diego being rememberized by the USS TMax
Ericka next to a handwashing station with notices about Hepatitis A
Handwashing stations to stave off the Hep A outbreak
Tim handstand by Globe theater in Balboa park
Balboa Park is so pretty at this angle, especially with the Dr. Seuss Christmas tree

From Old Town to Sunset Cliffs

Wake up and it's raining, but it's still warm! Eat leftover Red Lobster for breakfast. Can you believe the hotel doesn't have microwaves in the room nor the lobby? But a nice, unnamed hotel staff member, took my food in back and heated it up for me - and got a tip out of it. 

Once I finish eating, the rain has subsided, so I head out toward Old Town, but miss my exit and see a sign for "historic site Presidio", so I turn there. There's a scenic drive (which is just driving through a wealthy neighborhood at the top of the hill), and then I stop at Presidio Park. Walk around and see Old Fort Stockton and the Mormon Battalion Memorial. Then, I go down the hill a bit to the Juniper Serra Museum (closed) with an outdoor exhibit where I learn that the first European in San Diego Bay was the Spaniard, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, and that the original locals of the area are called Kumeyaay. 

Down to Old Town, an old west themed part of town, complete with wagons and everything. It mostly consists of free museums and gift shops. Walk around and into a few of the free museums. I feel like I’m on Oregon Trail (classic game). Do some drone flying and get some nice shots. I meet two tour guides who see my drone and ask me some questions and then we get to talking and they leave me with some cool recommendations for things to see in San Diego. 

Go back to hotel to eat and meet up with my mom, whose conference just ended. We go to Ocean Beach Pier and get some more drone shots and see the beautiful coastline, with hundreds of surfers in Pacific trying to hang ten (did I say that right?). Then, right at sunset, we go to Sunset Cliffs. Amazing views abound. Once night falls, we drive around the neighborhood and see some impressive multi-million dollar homes. 

We make our way over to the Fowler's house for a steak dinner, deliciously prepared by Matt (the middle Fowler), while we hang out and catch up. We even FaceTime my dad so he can be in on the action. It is nice to hang out with old friends. 

To all of my old friends, I can’t wait to see you again!




Tim handstanding at the Mormon Battalion Memorial
So, are the Mormons going to give me some sort of award for being the first person this awesome here?
Tim in front of a sign with directional arrows pointing to many different locations
Welcome to Old Town. You're only a 15-day horse ride to the nearest anything else
Tim sitting on a bench in front of an empty stage
This "Tres Reyes" show has us captivated
Tim inside Seeley Stable museum in Old Town
Inside Seeley Stable with some interesting info about old west transportation and travel
La Casa de Estudillo
Clever "La Casa de Estudillo" caption here
Tim and his mom standing on a pier with tidepools behind them
The tidepools behind us on the Ocean Beach Pier
Tim and his mom at the end of the pier
At the end of Ocean Beach Pier, taking in the sights
Tim and his mom standing on pier with beaches behind them
Same shot as above, but from the other direction, checking out the beaches
Tim doing handstand at Sunset Cliffs with sunset behind him
Enjoying the sunset at Sunset Cliffs the only way I know how
view from water toward land of Tim doing a handstand at Sunset Cliffs
And the sun got to enjoy the view of me on the cliffs. Fair deal
Panoramic of Sunset Cliffs taken from drone
The DJI Spark takes a pretty sweet panoramic picture. Can you find us?

Last Day and Reflections about San Diegan Drivers

After another great hotel workout by Train with TMax, we eat lunch in a park on the beach, watching the sailboats, kayakers, and other aquatic activities, before heading to airport. We are so close to Mexico, so you hear lots of Spanish, but also several other languages, including French and Chinese.
Tim and his mom posing in the mirror at the gym
It's nice to start the day with a good workout
The San Diego Driver’s Commandments:
(According to the TMax)


  • Thou shalt not be patient.
  • Thou shalt personally decide whether to follow the posted speed suggestions.
  • Thou shalt perform the California stop - (slowing to at least 5 mph (8 kph) at a stop sign before continuing through the intersection).
  • Thou shalt never show thy weakness in the form of a turn signal (aka “blinkers”).
  • Thou shalt cross solid white lines at will.
  • Thou shalt perform dangerous maneuvers when thou art in a rush.
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Location: San Diego, CA, USA

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