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"Stay Classy San Diego "

Written on: Thursday November 22nd, 2007

A journal entry from: Camping Mexico

Alayna:

Colin and I have spent the last week discovering ?America?s finest city?, also known as San Diego. This city really does have so so much to offer, however, I still think Victoria is numero uno :)

Our last blog entry detailed our experiences in LA, and from there we drove along the coast highway, stopping at various smaller towns and cities en route to San Diego. Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor, and Laguna Beach were all seen in one day. All boasting equally stunning beachfronts, shops, and homes, these three cities really epitomize SoCal. I think Colin and I were most impressed with Laguna Beach, naturally ;) I even had to call my sister from there, as she was the one who introduced me to the reality show. She was quite impressed.

As we have spent a full week in San Diego, we have had time to really explore the city. As to be expected, we visited the world famous San Diego Zoo. The diversity of species at the zoo is very impressive, and we enjoyed peering in on the big and small critters for several hours. I have been to this zoo a few times as a kid, and I always remember the feeling of sadness that accompanied my zoo excursions. As an adult, I found that feeling only increased. While the cages are sizeable, and many of these animals wouldn?t have a chance in hell in what remains of their natural environments, I still find caging them up for our viewing pleasure unsettling. Most people aren?t there to learn about the animals and what they can do to save them; they just want a picture of the fuzzy wuzzy panda bear, right? I am defiantly not trying to discourage people visiting this zoo, not at all. The San Diego Zoo makes significant contributions to the conservation of these animals and is responsible for giving hope to many of their endangered species. I guess am just very sensitive when it comes to other animals?

On a less depressing note?my new surf board!

Yes, yes, you read it correctly, I bought a surf board. It was pretty simple actually, while I went shopping for a new bathing suit I sent Colin hunting for my new surf board (I obviously had no clue what to look for, KOOK!) The only tough part was throwing down $420 on something I have never even attempted before. To be honest, as I was signing the VISA receipt all I could think about was? ?Just think of all the new horse tack I could be buying with this money?. Ha! Not really. Well, kind of.

These feelings were quickly and literally wiped out of my mind when I actually got to try out the board today. I rented a damp wetsuit (yuck) and headed for the beach, board under arm, personal instructor by my side (Colin). I was ready to kill it out there!

Yeah right. After getting slammed the face by a cold wave approximately 2.5 minutes after getting in the water, I was a bit shocked, to say the least (Colin later admitted he felt bad about that one). I eventually got fed up with walls of water slamming into me and starting ducking under them. I later sustained a blow by my board to the leg which has turned a lovely shade of blue and is nice and swollen. I have matching bruises on both my hips. I have acquired a new appreciation for the sport, as one does when trying something for the first time. I never did manage to stand up on my board today, just rode the waves on my knees, but it was still a blast! Colin is an incredible and insanely patient teacher. I am so lucky :)

I?m exhausted, and so will leave it at that. I apologize for my less-than-stellar writing this time, but this whole surfing thing is tiring, and I need to head to bed.

I have apologized to Colin today for all of the times he?s headed out to surf at 5:30 am only to return home at 3:00pm with me trying to keep him from sleeping. I now completely understand why he sleeps after a long surf. It is physically exhausting and the cold water is draining.

Good night.

Colin:

I am sitting in the kitchen at the International Hostel at Point Loma in San Diego while I write this entry (http://www.sandiegohostels.org/ptloma.shtml ). The accommodations here have been the best since we left Canada. The location has been ideal for Alayna and I. The rooms are clean and cozy, the hostel is located within a 10 minute drive of Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach (all of which I have surfed the last few days). A private room here has cost us $45 a night (without a membership, we have just stayed enough nights to pay for our membership) or $22.50 each, a very reasonable price for what you get. I highly recommend this hostel for anyone traveling to San Diego.

Shaun Lynch, a friend of ours from university, lives in Pacific Beach which is just a ten minute drive away. The proximity of the hostel to where Shaun lives is complete luck. ?Neighbor? (for those that know him) has just moved to San Diego and is currently staying with Shaun. It has been great having friends down here to show us around and catch up on our lives with. Shaun has not changed a bit and still manages to outlive us all; surfing twice daily, a few hours of class (masters in architecture), and serving at a nice restraint in La Jolla cap off his daily routine.

Alayna and I are both very impressed with San Diego and feel that it is a very livable city. Traffic on the streets is sparse and even though we headed out to get our Mexican car insurance during rush hour this morning things moved along well. Pacific Beach is full of young people that successfully illustrate the classic Californian surfing scene. I have been able to surf the last 7 days in a row and am beginning to get my shoulders back from a long hiatus; I will need the strength when I get into heavier conditions. There are more tattoo parlors per capita in San Diego than any other city in the US; it seems they are on every corner. Also, it seems you can get hair extensions, fake nails, fake tans, a facial, or a surfboard on any given block.

We went to see the damage caused by the fires which occurred a few weeks ago. An area called Rancho Bernardo was the worst hit. There are neighborhoods with every third house burn to the ground. It is amazing that some homes seemed to have been picked from random as the ones next door and surrounding are completely untouched. While searching for Rancho Bernardo we stumbled upon a nice area called Rancho Santa Fe. This area of San Diego has been the most impressive by far, looking into a real estate sales window revealed a property going for $28M. There was a brand new Lamborghini parked down the street and while Alayna and I were admiring it two Ferrari?s and a Porsche drove by.

I have been spending a lot of money the past few days and am looking forward to cheaper living south of the boarder. A new surfboard was in order (6?6? x 18.75? x 2.5? pintail) so I could harvest some barrels over the next few months, my old surfboard will now be my backup. My new kiteboarding equipment is supposed to arrive by overnight courier on Friday (tomorrow).

Everything seems to be in order for our trip south however there are always a few things that are still needed. The truck has been well prepared (if I do say so myself). For your interest here are some items which are on board:

  • Fix-a-flat tire repair (x2)
  • Tire plug kit
  • Full set of spare belts
  • Fuel and oil filters
  • Very strong rope for towing
  • Chord
  • Spare surf fins (broke on the other day)
  • Warm water surf wax (smells good)
  • Toilet paper
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
  • CB radio
  • Spray on contact cement
  • Tent, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, towels
  • Lockable tie down straps (2 sets)
  • 3 surfboards
  • Laptop computer (invaluable)
  • Walkie talkies (x2)
  • Books books books (ones both of us will want to read = as many)
  • IPod and ITrip
  • Gerry can
  • Locking gas cap
  • Bear mace (will get pepper spray and a club of some sort)
  • ?The Club?
  • A good tool kit
  • Canadian paraphernalia
  • Pots, pans, cookware, bbq, stove, water purifier, water bag
  • Camping chairs (x2)
  • Hawaiian sling for spear fishing
  • Binoculars (poppies)
  • GPS
  • Shovel
  • Snorkel and fins, Frisbee, beach stuff
  • Cribbage board
  • 3 kiteboards (2 surf 1 freestyle), two kits (10m 3m)
  • External hard drive
  • Solar battery charger (still needed)
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Sunglasses (2 pairs each)

I have a total of 10 keys for our house:

  1. Truck key (ignition)
  2. Canopy lock
  3. Additional canopy locking system
  4. Roof box lock
  5. Lockable tie down straps (set 1)
  6. Lockable tie down straps (set 2) ? one different for each
  7. ?The Club?
  8. Locking fuel cap
  9. Surfboard fin key

I am glad that I had an alarm installed in my truck back in Victoria (this was not for the trip but because I was continuously targeted at home). The alarm disables the ignition system when it is activated however I think I will remove a critical fuse whenever parking the truck for extended periods. My insurance coverage for Mexico covers theft of the vehicle up to $20k.

Things which may be bought for the purpose of bribery:

  • Marlboro cigarettes (cartons)
  • Rolling papers
  • Batteries (cheap ones)
  • Playboy magazines
  • Knock off designer clothing
  • Stickers for the kids

We have been speaking with a lot of people about traveling in Mexico and have a friend in Todos Santos who went down just a few weeks prior. I am beginning to feel at ease about the Baja peninsula as there are a lot of gringos this time of year. The only part of concern is right after the boarder crossing. We DO NOT want to get caught up in the streets of Tijuana . I anticipate that we will travel the length of Baja in less than week. Our first destination will most likely be La Vantana. Once we have oriented ourselves in the south we may make trips to the north in order to explore the peninsula.

 

From Colin DL on Dec 4th, 2007

First off I am absolutely shocked to hear you (Alayna) that Colin was actually patient. I have known that guy since I was in dippers and I have never heard anyone ever say that. Actually, I recall him taking a good friend Adam Hurst (from Barrie) surfing in Sombrio for his first time. He shoved the board in Adams arms and said "paddle" Adam came home glad to be alive and after only trying to surf for about 15 mintures while the MXG was getting rad. I also wanted to comment on the length of your list (MXG). Its hilarious. Where do you store your 10 keys when you surf. Mike Bain. I like. Very nice. hipster doffas