As you may have suspected, I really like San Diego, so much it gets it's own section, and every time I say the name of the city I do it in a bad Spanish accent pretending to be Antonio Banderes in Zorro. (or Puss in Boots for you younger readers).
Actually be warned or maybe entertain yourself, say every Spanish sounding word in that voice like I do. Test word Catherine ZE TAH Jones!
So where did I leave you guys? Oh yes getting off the coach from LA and being greeted by druggy McBoombox playing Queen Bey.
The transport links in SD are basic but quite effective, you've got buses or trolleys (trams), they don't cover a lot of the city but enough for all the main attractions and popular areas. Again another transport system where TFL could get lessons, you can get around the city for $5 a day for unlimited bus/trolley journeys and you get an oyster type card.
Tip - I know there's a cheap way to get to Tijuana from SD just using the public transport, but been heavily advised not to go alone as its corrupt and high on crime so best to check with your hostel or tour operator for group outings, who would have thought a place known for US criminals running from American law could be so dangerous!!
Anyway I head up to my first hostel ITH (http://ithhostels.com/ith-zoo-hostel-facilities/) and I instantly knew I was home, it was homely, the staff were friendly and I did whatever I could to be a volunteer here. This is probably the best hostel in San Diego, free morning & evening meals, loads of games, free excursions, great atmosphere and it's so informative.
I did go out for one night with this crazy chick called Meg and we both realised something as soon as we went out on the streets of Hillcrest… We were in the gay area.
Uh after my rant in San Fran I still stick to my thoughts but it was so much fun with a crazy chick who took the piss out of everything like I did. Meg if you are reading, 2 things "answer my email bitch" & "bloody gays, show us the lezzas" we did find a lot of good bars around there, even a place that did fishbowl cocktails, however this is USA, so that could be the standard size. Don't ask me for any tips on going out here. Judging from the hangover, random photos on my phone and no clue what happened I assume it's a good area to party! Just head there for a gay ol' time!
ITH arrange daily outings at either a cost or completely free, nice way to get everyone involved like a drunken adult version of Butlins. Sadly I only joined in on the beach and walking tour as they were free, however they had a sail boat trip, trip to Tijuana, surfing day etc. Loads of things! Another great thing about this hostel is that they have 2 other sites and one of them is in the mountains, which is only $69 for two days including transfer, accommodation, activities and meals. You guessed right folks it sold out fast! (http://ithhostels.com/big-bear-mountain-adventure-lodge/)
Also the place was decorated in an array of different art styles and even had a painted map of the city and had notes on how to get to each place.
There's even a library with a very high tech touch screen computer in there, which was quite cool although the hostel boasted an "environmentally responsible" status, hello contradiction!
Wow this is really upbeat, are you sure you're reading the correct blog?! What could go wrong?! The hostel is sold out for the next couple of days :(
Ok next hostel, hostel Habibi (http://www.hostelhabibi.com), know that UK programme where they showed hotels in popular holiday destinations, where the place was dirty or not there or under construction, this was the latter. I should have really walked away but then the guy in charge said one thing that changed my mind "you're the only guest here so far, so abuse the free wifi as much as you want" now throw your hands up in the air and say "Wifi Rape" (actually don't you might get arrested or sectioned).
This hostel was tiny but was another place going for a high quality yet homely feel, however at the time there were loads of tools everywhere and it was half complete. The guy in charge is a tall, chunky black dude who I highly suspect is a homo and has travelled around the globe. You want to know how I knew this, he had photos of him in EVERY bed and available wall there. I'm down for a personal touch and character with hostels, but the last thing I want to see is the owner, gleefully smiling at me from Paris. SCREAM!
The following night I managed to get invited round by the staff of the first hostel, for beer pong and beer, basically. Three things I learnt from that night is
1. I suck at beer pong, so battered after game 2
2. The more intoxicated I get the better I am at Pool
3. I know more about football and most other sports than I realise. At one point I thought I was Ian Wright and giving my overly honest management skills on the England team (get rid of Rooney). If anyone has seen the episode of the "I.T Crowd" where Roy and Maurice start to use the website to get through a football conversation. That was me for an evening, ask me about a player or team and with all the dumb luck in the world I got away with it, even getting a few cheers!
"Who do you support?!" "ummmm The Gunners" (long pause) "HOORAY, good answer lad"
I didn't really do much at Hostel Habibi other than play Gauntlet with all the wires and screwdrivers poking out everywhere and pillage the wifi.
After a couple of days there, I went back to ITH for a couple of days and good god I loved it just as much as the first time. Went for a trip to Mission Bay and Beach with the group (only get here by bus or car) and it's great! It's got a mini funfair, loads of places to eat and drink and the housing here reminds me of Florida/ Cuba. All the houses were colourful and with character, kinda like Camden town but with a beach attached and no tramps and better looking people. Ah the beach…. the only place where I lie down, do nothing and don't feel guilty for it.
After the beach, I did something which I'm not sure if anyone would think to do or just think is nuts but I just rode the trolley to every single stop. Every time i see the word trolley here i just think of a reckless teen using them in Tesco's car park as Dodgems or a tramp using it to get around the town, its not the best thing to call an advanced form of transport.
Anyway,The whole thing is outdoors and I thought it was the easiest way to see the entire city without walking. I would recommend this weird adventure as you do actually see the whole city and it's like a guided bus tour. It's quicker and you get more weirdos to entertain you as you go round. Seriously one guy (hunky mexican dude) was off his face and laughing at everything, another was throwing chips at the conductor and a family were arguing like the Simpsons.
Actually US Hollywood producers, why do you show Mexicans and Hawaiians as the dirtiest laziest low lives of the country when they are probably the hottest import you have!?? Jeez, two words.........Michael Piña!
So after the monorail adventure it's time to pick another hostel as the place is booked up for the next fortnight!! So hostel number 3 here we come (http://www.hostelon3rd.com/).
New place was very different to ITH, it was huge, the staff were "interesting" and they lacked the activity enthusiasm as well. My first 30 mins there pretty much summed up my time there. I was bored, eager to move on, confused yet oddly entertained. It was the longest check in I have ever witnessed as 5 people checked in before me and every time they did, the guy would make them sit down and wait for the keys.
Now the guy I got on reception was like an old Jackie Chan, if he'd given up on movies and you'd sucked out all like-ability. After 25 mins of checking people in and asking them random questions. He even asked me where I was from and admitted he thought I was from Ireland (yes confused). He gathered us all together and made us go upstairs to the actual hostel, that's the other confusing but good place, downstairs is the common room/computer/games room the separate upper floor is the hostel which made it peaceful upstairs but really annoying if you were in the middle of a Skype conversation downstairs and basically forced to go to bed.
The tour was just as dull as this guy which in turn made the whole thing funnier as everyone pretty much rolled their eyes and were gagging for their key to get away from him. As ever I was the last one to get their key but in a strange twist of fate, I was put in the staff living quarters, the funniest thing was the gormless host didn't realise this either until he opened the door, uhhh dude you checked me in, didn't you know?!
After an internal struggle with the host and manager, I slipped away and decided I needed some sightseeing and education to get the brain active again, that guy's voice drained my soul.
So walked along the gas lamp quarter which is a massive party area, kinda had a New Orleans feel to it, then to the Marina where there was coincidentally a boat show on. (Oh would you look at that!?! A boat show at a Marina!!!)
Then onto a contemporary art gallery (http://www.mcasd.org/) which was just behind Santa Fe train station, which I think sounds like if Santa Claus married Tina Fey and being the feminist that she is, made him take her name but he miraculously messed up her surname at the registration.
Back at hostel on 3rd, I try my best to avoid Dull Chan but when I think I'm on the home stretch BAM! There he is and throughout my stay he calls me "Mr Lowe" which is strange as it's normally followed by "you're making a scene". Now in my room I meet "American Marvin" the only difference between us was that he had hair, straight, could sing and had better glasses, if anything he was "Marvin v2.0" (I secretly hate him!)
The following day, I decided to head to a baseball game, the San Diego Padres @ Petco park (http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=sd), I have to confess I've watched a few games before and it's really the equivalent of cricket, it needs a fast 20-20 like upgrade.
Well I get to the stadium and it's got a chilled atmosphere I was surprised, as I got there just in time to "sing" the national anthem and it's was quite calm for a large crowd of Americans. So 25 minutes into the start I have a light bulb moment, they are having a memorial service! It's for a player call "Tony Gywnn" who was named Mr Padre. Now being the ever dedicated aka stubborn person I am, I decide to stick around to see if a game actually came......30 minutes later we are still honouring this man. Yep its a memorial I was going to be disrespectful and just shout "BALL PLAY" but I refrained ....somehow.
So the NEXT night I see a ball game and you know what?! The memorial was more interesting, I did the whole anthem but the game is so boring, somebody throw a pie!!
As you know, this ATO refund has been going on for months and has been painful, to the point I want to swim back to Australia and roundhouse kick the manager. So at breaking point, I get the email to end all emails.
"Dear Mr Lowe
You made a scene last night while purchasing enough food to feed a small family, you are no longer allowed in McDonalds Gas lamp site.
Ronald McDonald Night Shift Manager"
No it was the email from ATO, so hallelujah, I have my tax refund coming now,I can afford ACTIVITIES, drinks, real food ingredients and more chicken wings @ Hooters!
However if you have read the past blog posts you'll know nothing really goes my way, what is worse than being paid a large sum of money and finding out you can't get to it as your card has been cloned?! ....... Having a large sum of money not been able to get to it in a country where you can barely contact someone or have a valid permanent address to have your new card sent to you, so you send it to the UK!
So I spent 2 hours fighting with my Australian bank about why they are twats for not informing me the card was cloned and if the number wasn't working to email me which is on the ACCOUNT, and why I shouldn't pay for anything! However the day was saved by MasterCard! Jack Davenport was right in those ads, by god this company is priceless, I had emergency money in 5 hours and was able to eat again woo hoo! (After eating an hour ago, but ignore that!)
Eventually I move from the other hostel and head to lucky Ds (http://www.luckydshostel.com/) it's probably somewhere in between the two hostels I've been to but more of a party theme. The day I moved in it took me so long to get up the stairs from taking photos all the way of all the "radical" art, the reception hunk had to help me up the stairs.
Now and again I enter a hostel and I have a hard time deciding if I should inform a strapping, handsome mysterious stranger that he should be modelling, acting or doing porn but is behind a desk instead, well again that scenario strikes. Bloody hell, this was the worst one, tall, bearded, green eyes, muscular, lovely natured, for god sake, aim high and speak to Hugo boss, twat! So after a painstakingly honest conversation with this guy about my finances (not me coming on to him). I had to pay for the first night, then wait for the money to come through for the 3 nights I was there, actually it turned into 4 nights so I could gawp at him, I mean, wait for my train to Seattle.
That's right I got a train from San Diego to Seattle, it's about $150-800, depending on when you book and how you travel, you can do normal seating or a sleeper. Im gonna say this now, if you want a scenic 2 DAY journey, get the freaking sleeper, my back is still shaped like a Tetris piece and surprisingly not the L or I shape either!
Anyway I want to sign out for now but there's still more to look out for on this section as there's loads on San Diego, as I did so much and I want to go through all my photos to refresh my memory as alcohol and great times have ruined it!
You know what!? I wish I wrote a life blog, I'd remember more stuff but I'd probably skip my secondary school days, best time of your life, will I remember that and look back in fondness....... will I bugger!
Watch out for the next parts to talk about:
You guys might need to bare/bear with me for a while as I'm trying to remember how awesome San Diego was.
La Jolla and Mission Bay were amazing places to go to, you can get to these places via bus or car as the trolley doesn't reach this fatr out but, if you're like me a long stroll is worh it. takes about 15 mins to walk to Mission Bay from Mission Beach and then a hour to La Jolla. However my skinny little legs needed a break so on the bus we go, you need to go on route 30 (2.50 one way) to get there. Both areas are god to take photros, take in the atmosphere and sun.
After I did the north west, I took the MTS to Fashion Valley, just go here if you want any tyoe of clothing, its good for everything really (http://www.simon.com/mall/fashion-valley/stores). I mainly went for cheesecake factory and H&M, such a adventure, considerin they are in every bloody american city!! Anyway enjoy your 1908s dressing up montage, cue Julia Roberts laugh!!
So as a treat as I've not stepped into a cinema in months I decided to see X-Men Days of Future Past and Maleficent.
OMG X-Men just rules, its the best X-men film since the 2nd one, the less we talk about the third the better!!
Now Maleficent, if yu've seen Sleeping Beauty, you'll know she' the best thing in it, this story kinda messes with the story but in a good way, its not the strongest of plots but mainly see it for Angelina Jolie's performance and the stunning visuals!
So it's my last 24 hours in San Diego and where do we need to go San Diego Zoo, ne of the largest zoos in the world (http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/). its costs around $40-50, you pay for genral admissions but if you want to see a 4D show or live up close animal its an extra $10. Caution: only see the 4D shows if you want your eardrums burst from the mental kids cheering duing the cartoons, you have Rio and Ice age to pick from at the time.
The Zoo is just amazing, nicely spaced out, LOADS of animals, just be warned head straight to the Tiger, Lion and Polar Bear stations first and/or last thing in the day, you'll get all the people with oversized cameras hogging the space or using their cameras as weapons or penis extensions!
There's even a Sky safari, which is a cable car to get you near the arctic section of the zoo, just do this as soon as you get in as the lines get excessively long after lunchtime!!
There's just loads to see and do here, so will take me a while to go through it, so I'm going to end on this, I SAW A BABY PANDA AND TWO OLD TORTOISES MAKING LOVE! Plus you may have noticed during my time in Australia I didnt get to see a Koala and Kangaroo, well I did it here, so that's ticked off the list! No one said I needed to see the animals in the country they represent... ssshhhh!!
Well lets head over to Seattle now, again more updates to follow:
Tune in same Bat(ty) adventure
Same Bat Time
Same Bat Channel
So, drag your sexy arses to "Amtrak-king to Seattle" blog. Don't forget to come back here for more updates, actually I can say that about most of this blog entries, I keep updating random stuff on here, especially speeling punctuation and grammerr, innit! :) x
(thanks for following btw)
P.S IM IN SAN DIEGO, EATING BURRITOS WITH CATHERINE ZE TAH JONES!