OK, I had not gotten my California travelogue entries in yet, but the pictures are here.
Saturday, March 27: JFK to SAN; arrive 10 AM, get a rental car from Hertz with Neverlost GPS (recommended), drove to the Carlsbad Flower Fields in bloom, visited El Camino Mortuary Park to do an early Ching Ming for my grand aunt and uncle; was running late to Newport Beach, so detour to Pasedena to catch my friend’s niece’s 11th bowling birthday party. Visited the Bona Vista revolving bar at the Westin Bonaventure. Went to Hollywood, saw Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and the Kodak Theater. Ordered massive amounts of Tommy’s chilli-topped dive through menu items. Slept in Newport Beach.
Sunday, March 28: Went to Balboa Island for church. Someone fainted in the middle of the service; the woman standing to my right turned out to be a doctor. Passed out myself for a few hours as my friend’s husband helped all of us run for the border in his car. Crossed into Tiajuana, bought Mexican car insurance from a clean, if a bit shady tourist info station. Did a straight run to Ensenada on Mexico’s route 1-D, an excellent 2 lane toll road with spectacular vistas. Randomly drove up and down Ave. Reunion trying to find the church my boss said his son was at to drop off his birthday present. Found one of the other missionaries that worked for him, who accepted the package. We then drove to Puerto Nuevo, capital of fried Pacific lobster. $14 for 3 halves of 1 1/2 lb. lobsters. Delicious! Had drinks while watching the sunset at Villa Ortega’s, 2 doors down. In pitch darkness, bought ceramics. Drove back to Newport Beach; customs didn’t even bother checking documents — just asked “Everyone American?”.
Monday, March 29: Had a wonderful brunch across the street. After taking it easy, we drove towards San Diego. Parked at the Embarcadero across the ship Star of India. Ate super-fresh sushi at The Fish Market. Rode the carousel at the Seaport Village (originally made in Coney Island!). GPS guided us to P–‘s friend Steve’s house. Examined his new mobile home.
Tuesday, March 30: Checked out downtown, bought our mandatory See’s Chocolates. Visited the Chinatown Museum. Spent the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo. Hua Mei the panda was sprawled backwards on the ground, while her son was high up in the trees avoiding view. Finished up at the Hotel del Coronado, where I had a wonderful half-hour massage in the spa to take care of a nagging right elbow sprain. Went back to Steve’s house to pack and eat, made it to the airport with time to spare. Took the redeye back to JFK and work.
Total travel: over 6,000 miles by air, 900 miles by car. Won our American Airlines Gold Challenge, and Fly NYC Challenges, coming out with an extra 5634 FF miles, a free ticket anywhere AA flies, and AA Gold status. Travel proven and with nary a disagreement, my relationship with P– is ever closer and stronger. It was well worth it.