La Jolla, ("The Jewel" in Spanish) is an affluent San Diego suburb that lives up to it's name. We took the hour drive south of us to visit "the Cove". This is a very beautiful area with the ocean, interesting rocky shore mixed with sandy beaches in between. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to go along with pricey condos that line the road overlooking the water. This answers the question of "Why wouldn't you live here in this fantastic area if you were an American?" the answer ... $ MONEY $. Even a small condo by the water starts at $800K and goes up rapidly from there. Torrey Pines golf course is here, one of the jewels of the PGA tour. It is owned by the city of San Diego and if you want to play on a weekend as a non-resident, it will cost you $229 in green fees, that's if you can get a tee time.
We came here for the scenery and to get up close and personal with the stars of the area, no not movie stars, but the sea lions who hang out here on the shore. These guys spend most of their time sleeping on the beaches and rocks ignoring people like us trying to get close to them. They are very tolerant unless they have a pup or you are dumb enough to think you can pet them for any length of time.
We are finding ourselves liking San Diego more and more as we spend time here. There are plenty of things to keep you busy and for a big city it still has plenty of charm. It is a much more enjoyable place to visit than L.A. in our books. Don't get me wrong, we like seeing and doing the many things in L.A., but it is not as inviting or easy a place to do them.
San Diego also has its fair share of Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives restaurants. In our trips into the city we have dined at two of them so far. Studio Diner was built beside a studio so the film crews would always have a place to eat, day or night. I'm a sucker for these old style chrome and neon diners, I want to eat at all of them.
Takes you back to the 1940's
Detra had a Monte Cristo that has all the usual stuff, built huge and then battered and deep fried. It was so big she could only eat half of it which turned out very well for me, it was the best Monte Cristo we have ever had. I indulged in the "Samson's Steak Sandwich", a philly cheesesteak, which was also very good.
San Diego Zoo is a place I've always wanted to see since growing up watching Johnny Carson, and guest Joan Embery, with the animals from this zoo on The Tonight Show. This is one of the leading research and breeding zoos in the world.
They have a very successful Panda breeding program here.
Mom with a month old baby.
Pops keeping an eye on things.
He looked like he'd be fun to play with...
...and then he did this.
This is a very nice zoo, laid out very well, helpful volunteers to guide you, thousands of different animals to see. I would recommend visiting it to anyone. However, it did make Detra and I realize just how nice the Toronto Zoo is.
Walking all day made us hungry which led us to look up the next DDD spot. Hob Nob Hill a comfort food restaurant that has a warm atmosphere that is just dated enough to be comfy and familiar. The prices and service are excellent. We ordered after a long time trying to decide what to eat off the extensive menu. Then you have to decide if you want bread, rolls or blueberry muffins?... next soup or salad?... type veggie or rice?...choice of potatoes. The choices here are endless and every one delicious. It shows that if you have great food, service and prices people will show up, like they have since 1944, on a little neighbourhood corner in San Diego.
In my teens I spent endless hours in my friend Greg's basement, with a few others, listening to music and generally goofing off and causing minor trouble. Later on, Greg and I were the road crew for a rock band called The Hunt touring around bars and doing concerts in Ontario and the northeastern U.S. When that band split up Greg went on to do the lighting for some more successful bands and I went to work for GM. He is a truck driver now and was in, of all places, Ontario, California. We drove up to see him and catch-up after all these years. He is a very good photographer and takes stunning photos of all kinds of subjects. He recently took an expedition to Antarctica to photograph and experience the wildlife.
These Roadie's once had long hair and could unload a big truck and set up a stage in a matter of hours.
Detra was browsing online one day and came up with tickets to see a taping of the "Mike & Molly" show. It is a funny sitcom starring Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell, but a day or two later the taping was cancelled for some reason. She went back online and we signed up for free tickets to the show "Mom" with Anna Faris and Allison Janney. We drove through the L.A. traffic into "beautiful downtown Burbank!" as they say, to Warner Bros. Studio for the Friday night taping. You do have to be prepared to wait in line and you don't know exactly how long you will be there but it is an interesting evening. There is a very funny guy to get the audience of about 250 laughing and excited. He is also there to explain how things are done and answer questions between takes or scene changes. Because it could be a long night of taping they hand out drinks, pizza & candy. It gives you an idea of the effort by the almost two hundred people it takes to get the show to air. We were impressed with the writers, who come up with different lines on the fly to make the script funnier and how easy they make it seem. The episode we saw is 5 weeks in advance to give the producers time to edit and make changes if they have to. I was surprised that the laughter you hear is the real audience recorded that night, but they do edit and change it to make it work with the show. We were glad we did this and surprised on how easy it is to get tickets. Detra met Anna Faris, got her autograph and thought she was very nice to everyone crowding around her.
Sometimes we get the feeling people reading this blog have an unrealistic idea of our life because it makes it look like we are always doing fun and exciting things. The truth is there are plenty of down days of doing nothing or days of laundry and cleaning, like everybody else, that doesn't get written about. We get bored sometimes too. It just so happens, we get bored in the sunshine and warmth of California, which is much better for us than the cold back in Canada. Sometimes just trying to find things in a different grocery store is as exciting as it gets. We aren't on vacation and we can't do it all, but we sure are going to try.
Blue skies and warm cloudless days,
I just hope we leave before the big one shakes us out of bed.