This morning I decided that I was going to explore La Jolla (pronounced like Hoya), which is an upscale part of San Diego known for its beautiful beaches. On the way, I decided to visit a mom and pop bakery to try their homemade donuts. I also had to try a breakfast sandwich from a nearby shop. It was enormous! (I will definitely be going back there tomorrow morning!)
To get to La Jolla I had to navigate the local bus system. I took two different buses to get there. At the major hub, Old Town, I asked a friendly-looking, surfer dude type for directions. He introduced himself as Casey and it turned out that he was actually from Rhode Island, but he had been born in SoCal (Southern California) and was rediscovering his roots! He brought me to exactly where I needed to be, gave me a huge hug and wished me luck on my travels!
My experience with Casey was consistent with my interactions with pretty much everyone else that I met! Except for the homeless men who talk to themselves. There are more of them in San Diego than anywhere else that I’ve ever been. (Not just homeless men, but ones that talk to themselves.) I made it to La Jolla easily and when I arrived I met a lovely couple from Seattle. They made a number of great suggestions about things that I should do when I get to New Zealand. Then they headed off to buy diamonds. Yes, diamonds. (Because apparently that’s what people do in La Jolla, they buy diamonds and Maseratis.) I wandered past the shops until I came upon an art gallery that had a Dr. Seuss display. It was fantastic. Some of the prints had never been displayed in public before! If I wasn’t carrying all of my belongings on my back for the next 8 months (and if I had any money) then I would definitely have bought some. I loved them!
After that I headed down to the ocean. I hate to say it, but the first thing that I noticed was the terrible smell. It wasn’t anything like ocean smell in Maine. It was a mix of rotting garbage and fish. Fortunately as I walked down the coast the smell abated. I meandered toward the Children’s Pool, which is an inlet so the waves aren’t as strong. This is where I put my feet in the Pacific for the first time!
While I was distractedly trying to balance my bag, shoes and take pictures at the same time I didn’t notice that I had company. A seal came up next to me in the water. He was only six feet away! I was so surprised when I finally noticed him! I named him Leo in my head. When other people came over, he swam back out to sea. I’m sure that the others on the beach thought I was just another person talking to myself, but I was actually talking to Leo. It probably didn’t help that I haven’t done laundry yet this trip and have already worn this outfit (at least once.)
Next, I headed farther down the coast to see the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Contemporary Art and to get some alternative views of the ocean. I was also able to see Seal Rock, which is exactly what it sounds like. A rock where seals hang out and sun themselves.
By this time, I was getting pretty hungry and a bit sunburnt. I decided to trek back up toward a park that I had seen when I first arrived. There were some really interesting gnarled trees that people were sitting under.
I claimed one for myself, had a snack and then laid down in the grass. I must have dozed off a little because next thing I knew I was surrounded by a family speaking Spanish! Seriously, surrounded–like in my personal space! They were smiling and laughing at me! I decided that it wasn’t worth crashing their family gathering just for the free food so I made my way further up the beach. I came across the Coast Walk which is a path that leads up a cliff and overlooks the ocean. This is when I decided to attempt my first legitimate solo selfie. I made sure there was no one else on the path in either direction and I took it. Then I ran away. I think someone saw me as they came around the corner, but I didn’t make eye contact and booked it.
I tried another one later, but it didn’t get any easier. I might have to practice more tomorrow. Someday, I may even be worthy of a selfie stick. The Coast Walk was beautiful. On one side there was the dark turquoise ocean with bright colored kayaks, birds and seals. On the other side there were flowers and plants that I had never seen before! It isn’t hard to understand how Dr. Seuss got his inspiration from San Diego and La Jolla, specifically.
By this time my phone was about to die and I was a bit anxious about how I was going to get back to Lauren’s apartment without my GPS. (How did people navigate before they had smartphones?) Not to mention I was pretty lost, I had run out of water a couple hours before and I was exhausted. I happened upon a place called Come On In Cafe. I decided it was a sign and I came on in! (Also, the outlets near the tables made for an easy decision.) The proprietress was wonderful. She never let my iced tea glass get low and she didn’t complain about me hanging out until my phone was charged. Once I was connected again, I found my bus stop (and another homeless self-talker.) I made it back to Lauren’s apartment easily.
We decided that tonight we were going to get some Mexican food from a local taco shop and some wine and bring it to the Sunset Cliffs to (what else?) watch the sunset. It was absolutely stunning. The combination of the colors and the waves crashing on the cliffs was amazing. It was the perfect end to the day!
Thank you to the Fernberg women for opening their family (and their homes) to me during this wonderful week!
Oh, ps. I just want you all to know the hardship that I went through to post this today. I lurked outside the apartment of Lauren’s sister and cousin to steal their wifi. While I was creeping, my entire post was deleted when I tried to publish it so I had to rewrite it. I had to walk back and forth to their place several times and I was almost run over by a pizza delivery man. (Not his car, the actual guy.)