Before I start on my San Diego trip, I have to mention the past two games of my team - DUKE. On Sunday we played Wake Forest. There was an awesome moment in the game I must mention. The game started out neck and neck and then we started pulling away. In the beginning of the second half, Wake started making a slow crawl forward. At a crucial moment when Wake Forest could have cut it to three, they got the ball, made a killer fast break with Strickland leading the pack by probably 25 feet or so. Instead of taking the easy lay up or dunk he tried a showboat spin to jam it behind his head. Well he smashed the ball against the backboard, it flew back to half-court, and was picked up by Duke. That took the crowd out of the game (it was at Wake Forest), we scored, and they never got that close again. I almost felt sorry for the guy. I bet Sportscenter has been showing that play all week. Also it was a big game as our two Seniors had never won a game in that building and our Freshmen were dead set on giving it to them. More on this later as we watched it in San Diego.
Tonight was the Duke/Maryland game - another big deal. Or so I thought. We blew them away! Shelden Williams had the third triple double in Duke's history and we forced Maryland to 29 turnovers. I really enjoyed this game. Oh! And we got to see JJ Redick's one and only dunk. After the game he said he was not going to do THAT again.
San Diego The trip started out easy. Kate took me to the airport, the bar was straight across from my gate, and both were near the security entrance. I sat in the bar and drank many beers, walked over to the gate, got right on the plane with my cane and cast boot. I had a nice seatmate and we had the only empty seat on the plane between us.
The San Diego airport sucked. I passed the first bar after I arrived thinking there would be another and there was not. My foot was killing me. It seemed to take forever and a day to get my suitcase and get to the cab stand. I finally reached the hotel and My Sweetie was already there and had beer in the fridge for me. I was SO thirsty! I probably drank 3 beers in less than an hour. We hit the downstairs bar, Dakota's, had some drinks and an appetizer and hit 5th Avenue. We spent some time in Maloney's, a well appointed Irish bar and hit a few other places then headed back to the room and watched TV and ordered some food. Sunday started out foggy and chilly. We went in search of a small purse that I could wear cross shoulder and finally found a really cute one at Horton Plaza, an outdoor multi-level mall type place. We caught a cab and went to The_San_Diego_Mueum_of_Art. They had free loaner wheelchairs. My feet were exhausted and I was able to take my time and enjoy all of the artwork. The painting above is "The Young Shepherdess" by William Bouguereau,1885. It was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed a Canaletto work of Venice from the 1700's and a Cotan from 1603. It was a nice museum, but I think I've been spoiled from going to the Kimbell so often and also having been to the Corcoran recently.
We were sort of spent when we got back to the room, so when Joy (see next paragraph) called, we were glad to make a change in plans. We decided to meet for an early happy hour on Monday. Later we did head back out to 5th for dinner at a "Mexican" restaurant (La Fiesta) then sat for some blues tunes at Patrick's. I've had Mexican food in many states, and trust me on this, some states should NOT have Mexican restaurants. Now most border states do have good Mexican food. I liked what I had in New Mexico (NewMex) and the food here is good (TexMex) and I'm sure most of California has good CalMex, but I was VERY disappointed in this place on 5th. I really judge a place by their salsa and this salsa was all bite and no bark. I like some salsa burn as well as the next person, but I also like some FLAVOR in my salsa. Also, My Sweetie ran over to some shop and bought season 3 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - our room had a DVD and VCR player. So we ended the night with some Buffy.
Now about Joy and Monday. Joy is my friend Kim's sister-in-law. I've mentioned Kim before. Well at the very wedding reception I mentioned in that earlier blog, I met Joy. I knew she lived in San Diego and we'd had such a good time at Kim's party we decided to get together. She's a very high-energy person, and that's what I had liked about her. I didn't realize at the time that she was being very restrained because she was at this wedding event with her parents and big brothers. So on Monday night, she was a VERY HIGH-ENERGY PERSON. But I'll start with early Monday. After wearing out my silly feet on Sunday, I wanted to take it easy on Monday, especially knowing we would be meeting Joy later and walking around. So after our lunch out Monday (killer lobster bisque with great big lobster chunks AND a shrimp cocktail) we took one short walk down 5th. We stopped at one bar and found the perfect souvenir shop. We headed back to our hotel. I haven't mentioned yet that our hotel had an open rooftop. We had only used it for smoking. Well I got a great idea. My Sweetie packed our ice bucket with 3 beers and ice and we made a little bag of things like camera, binoculars and stuff and sat at a table on the roof for an hour and played San Diego gin rummy. The reason we called it that was because neither of us could remember how to score gin rummy, so we made up rules that we both agreed on. I haven't looked up the real rules yet, but I'm SURE we had it all wrong. That was fun. Then we waited in our room for about half an hour for Joy.
Joy showed up and we sat in the room and talked for a bit and headed out to 5th. We went to Croce's (the R&B section - and both that and the jazz restaurant next door are owned by Jim Croce's wife and son). Well after just one glass of wine Joy was, well....., uhm..... Okay, I'll start here. My Sweetie went to the restroom and she grabbed me and said, "He reminds me of my husband, I LOVE men like that, (and on and on)" so I said, "Kim said your husband is very attractive." She totally dismissed that and wanted to keep gushing about MY husband. He was sitting between us and she was all touchy feely touching him everywhere as she talked. And she talked non-stop. When after two or three times I couldn't even enter her conversation (monologue?) I was starting to get a little irritated. Finally some time later - and she'd had two large glasses of wine - I said (after My Sweetie had gone to the restroom again), "I don't want you to drink anymore to drive home and you have company at home (yes she actually had people visiting) and it's our last night so we want to have a romantic dinner together." She took it well, but I could see she didn't want to leave. I felt kinda bad, but I was so relieved when we walked her to her parking lot. She exhausted us both. We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant (I wish I had caught the name) and went back to our room to watch some more Buffy.
Tuesday was our last day so we checked out and checked our luggage and hit 5th. We had a nice lunch (and I didn't mention we ate most of our meals outdoors on the sidewalks). After lunch, we still had two hours to kill. I found a nice bar (Henry's Pub) and My Sweetie went off to browse at a bookstore. Well my bartender lives in San Diego because there is an Olympic training facility there. He is trying to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in the long jump. His name is Bashir Ramzy, so if he wins a medal, remember, you heard it here first.
About our hotel I wasn't particularly looking forward to staying in a 3 star hotel, but then I was confused about how the ratings work. My guess is that it has a lower rating because it doesn't have any "extras" such as a pool, gym, or spa or real room service (although there were several delivery options). The location was excellent, the room was excellent. The view was excellent, and the people were very friendly and helpful. I did book it through Expedia so I'm going to send a glowing review. If you want to experience the Gaslamp District of San Diego, I highly recommend the Gaslamp Plaza Suites.