Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 4: On the Way Home

I woke up with a lingering Heineken draft headache after waking up 3 times in the night. Last night was the quietest night in the hotel. No snoring, no loud music, and no heated moaning. So why wake up so much? Anticipation of leaving I guess. So, slowly I got packed and went to the buffet for a big coffee...much needed. I checked out into 33c heat - AUGH. Yuck. Got to the airport early to avoid any problems and checked in. Now, sitting at the UrbanCrave bar and grill waiting for a flight to San Fran. Heineken and football in the States. Perfect.

I made a little pal in my very delayed flight to San Francisco. A young German mother and her toddler son were sitting near me in the gate and he seemed to always smile when I smiled at him. He had blonde spiked hair and was so cute. They were sitting in front of me on the flight. Obviously fussy on the flight, he kept peeking over at me and reaching his hand out. I let him play hand tag with me.
Beside me, a student of The Lord, Jesus Christ, holding his rosary and crossing himself during the take off. I guess once the cabin doors are closed, it's the only real time I feel at ease. Once we were in the air, the German mom had to use the bathroom and asked me to hold him. He was so cute and a bit squirmy but we looked at a magazine and he was fine. She said he never slept on the 11 hour flight from Germany. Hopefully he gets tired. I guess my mom instincts exude from me.

As the flight landed, there were loads of people looking for their connecting flights. Funny thing is my gate was exactly the same. So now I wonder why we need to get off. Yah I guess for security. I didn't have to go through a security check this time, though. About to take off to home....though. About to take off to home....

Day 1: Queen of California

I spent the last two days in a state if worry.  In July, I was presented with an amazing gift from my workplace. After spending my hours creating a new menu with my kitchen family, building a new set of kitchen crew, and slowly preening my 'mini me' to be me, the owner of the restaurant presented me with an excursion, to cut the cord and let the place run alone. A trip to San Diego to see my favourite artist in concert was in an envelope. 
I would never in a million years dream of buying a ticket never mind have the cash for such a trip. You see, I have not been the best with money, generally limiting my world by building my nest at home, while the world passed by. The worry of bills and my bank account always was planted square in my way. The last few days have been tough, realizing this trip is creating more worry than excitement. I tried to release some locked away money a have stashed away in a padlocked, armoured guard protected vault. The bank said, no, with no real options other than 'write a letter'. Now, I know I'm ultimately at fault, spending on my credit cards, but the cold feeling I got from the bank left me angry. They must make money off of me and if I take out my nest egg they will suffer.
I had to ask for some help from work, and that isn't fun. Considering they had already paid for the flights, hotel and concert, I felt awful asking for some money to haven't worked for yet, just for some security when I'm away. I slinked away, ashamed as the leader of a kitchen exposing my empty wallet.
After depositing the cheque I immediately decided I needed a kick in the butt, and I called a debt consolidator. He and I spoke for an hour and he lowered my debt by 40% and concluded that I can be debt free in 3 years. He saw my line of work saw how I wasn't living at all and made me feel better. He also suggested I change banks in a month. 
The worry came back when I noticed the evil devils holding my money, put a  hold on my pay cheque thus leaving me wondering if my overdraft would cover my rent cheque. My kidlets in the kitchen and servers raised an extra $100 to let me have some fun on them. So adorable! Then I noticed the name on my airline tickets didn't have my middle name. More stress lead me to text my boss, while he was in Las Vegas, and he assured me all would be fine. I guess he found out I was low on funds and emailed me another bunch of cash. He insisted it wasn't an advance but a gift! I was shocked! And relieved money wise. My dad also gave some money too. I feel like a bank right now. Yikes!
Worrywart that I am, I calmly made it past security checkpoints and made it on the plane. Now, up in the air, flight running behind by 45mins, I still feel a bit of stress. Hopefully I get my transfer in LA to San Diego. And then there's the trolley to the hotel. 
Meh. I'm ok. Traveling alone isn't so bad. Especially knowing about all the people at home routing for me.
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And LAX is a nightmare. I almost missed my flight to San Diego. I had to run to security, huge line up... Take off my shoes. Go through and then run with my shoes half on to find my flight. Got there with 2 minutes to spare. Still outta breath. Good thing is I have a single seat. No elbows.
BTW there is No Terminal 8!!!!!
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Flying over Southern California is incredible simply by the population. The area is so dense with houses all the way down the coast. It's endless. Compared to Vancouver, where density is vertical, it is mind boggling. Also, from up in the clouds all I see is brown, many hues, but brown. There is not a lot of green here in Cali, where I'm sure foreigners flying over Vancouver would see the green gem of a little city we have. The mass miles of flat land densely packed with homes jammed on lots is crazy. 
I'm starving now after the stress of today. The food I have eaten has been not much. Too much worry makes food not digest much. I did have a Cinnabon for breakfast after seeing the screwed up line at Timmy's. I bought a sandwich which I found in my luggage after the flight to San Diego.  I stuffed it in there and forgot it. Funny that it got through security before my marathon run to the terminal. 
Now I'm at the local pub after a shower in the hotel. The Manhattan Cocktail Club on Broadway and G Street. Thought I'd wander around the neighbourhood and see what's around. Taco, taco, taco, fast food, fast food, taco. This place, I found on the net and it's definitely a local pub. I may not be the youngest but I LOOK the youngest. It's an old boys club. Like some I hang out in but this one is a bit rougher. Anyways, I did show up and there's a drunkin' chick, some ok looking people and everything is questionable. It's pool night and there's back to back country playing. 
I was searching for Buffalo Wild Wings but I never found it. I guess I'll settle for some beer and fast food or tacos. I could hit the Red Lobster or Olive Garden. Meh. I am pretty tired and there isn't more than one tv here. Baseball is on (playoffs). Pretty yawn.Thursday night. No problem.   Oh yeah and the Spanish language and style. Wow. Gotta love it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 3 part deux: Who Says I Can't Get Stoned

Men are funny here. Came home with a buzz and smile. Apparently confidence trumps make up by far in my eyes. I brought makeup but why? I should throw it out here because I haven't had a problem meeting people, especially guys.
Tonight I met a guy named Sisco, which I found out at the end of the night. Mind you he didn't find out my name until the same time. I had some beer, not cheap after happy hours, and he was watching college football. I saw him eying me looking for a tv with hockey. After another beer he asked me which college football team I was cheering for and I said none. The canadian gate opened, hence the conversation.
So we discussed canada vs usa, my stay, travel and my lack of travel, our jobs, our ages (he was shocked at my age and I was surprised at his - 40 - he looked 32). Then he started saying friends were on him about not settling into a family life. I told him to not settle and not expect a perfect mate. He then started telling of the area, "Chula Juana". He wantes to take me to mexico and I followed with " donley show?" He laughed so much and then denied it but said its true. Lol. Then he wanted to take me to vegas. Then he saw my Eiffel tower on my purse and said " let's go to paris".
I had 3 beers $22 later without tax and tip. We left and he offered a ride, obviously no - regardless of 'stranger danger' he was drinking and driving - but I gave him my business card and we hugged. He was sweet.
Surrounded by 21 year olds, I was only being me. No surprise to all to my friends but hey, no safety net? Yup I win. WINNING.

Day 3: Worry, Get Outta Here

San Diego on the Trolley. 

Well here I am on the Blue Line to American Plaza Station on my way to downtown San Diego. This is like the Skytrain running along the highway to town. There are the mass mix of nationalities and mental states on this train, a 'schizie' character talking to himself and others sitting on the steps to the exit doors. My tummy has some food and coffee. It's hot today and very clear. I did get sun burnt in the parts of my back I couldn't reach. I'm slathered in sunscreen and my knee is a bit sore but off I go :).

Back from San Diego. Toured the marina and the Big Bay first. Loads of tall ships, yacht cruises, tourists, homeless hogging shady spots. Man its hot. Walked to Seaport Village, which was a little tourist-y but nice, like Granville Island.

I kept walking to the Hilton and past Petco Field. By then I was sure I was sun burnt. My knees and feet were throbbing. So I came back on the trolley. Lovely coming back, every aroma masking the smell of sweat. 

When I came back I wanted to go to Taco El Gordo but every time I walk by its packed and my feet were hurting. I remembered a store up the street and I wanted to check out the running shoes. They had a pair of sweet Nikes, like Vans, but not in my size. Booooo.

Was still hungry so I went to Pollo Loco and had a big chicken bowl with flour tortillas. Avocados taste amazing here.
now I need to rest my feet, pack and think about what I want to do tonight and tomorrow after check out. I have about 3 hours before I go to the airport but I will have my bag in tow.

Here are some pics :)