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Report 1899: San Diego or Bust

By j3dnight from Maryland, Winter 2011

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Page 5 of 8: Day Two - Italian Market, Whale Festival, La Jolla, the Beach

photo by Jeannette

Frog Balls

Next morning, Trish and I meet and get in the car on our way to the Italian market. This is held on Saturday mornings and for me really does have a European flair to it, kind of reminded me of Campo dei Fiori in Rome without samples. Trish has scoped out parking at a nearby elementary school. Walking up to the market we hear street musicians and there is a kind of hippie woman on the corner hula hooping to the music, I like the 60′s and hippie culture a bit so I am enjoying this introduction to the market on this one particular corner.

The market goes almost all the way down the street to the harbor. This is a tasting market for sure. Almost every vendor has samples to test and you can sample as many varieties as you like. If they sell 20 sauces you can taste test all 20. Another thing I liked about the assorted vendors here is that they take the time to talk to you, explain things, give advice and make recommendations. You never feel hurried. I feel like a kid in a candy store walking along excited for the next tent and the next and what surprises do they have. I'm making mental notes to go back and get this and that because I didn't want to carry them all through the market. Trish makes connections for products she is interested in and was adding her information to mailing lists and getting ways to order for shipping to Utah.

I like to think my big discovery was frog balls. Now I won't lie, I was certainly taken by the name initially. Laughing I had to visit their table. The couple running the frog ball stand are humorous as well. Tasted a frog ball? No ... OK here have a bite? Oh yummy ... now what exactly do I do with these frog balls? Do you like Bloody Mary's? Indeed I do! Well put a frog ball in one, it is fantastic. There are many other things you can do with frog balls but that one appealed the most to me. Are you going to be selling these frog balls on the Internet? Yes, our site will be up and running in about a month but let me give you some information now. Thank you because I know some folks at home who will want to order just for the jar alone. Yes we thought it was a catchy little title too! I love it I told them. Purchase my frog balls and they wrap them nicely for me so they won't break in the plane home. I take a photo of them and when I taste them I am hooked.

Some of the items I saw at the Italian market were lots of flower marts, nuts, pasta, sauces, Panini stands, cheese, coconuts, salads, produce, sea urchins (so curious about them) dipping oils, edible flowers, many, many fruit stands, oh and English peas. Are they grown in England?

I buy some dipping oil too. John Spengers of Napa Valley, Bistro Blends, Chardonnay & Roasted Garlic Bread dip/Vinaigretta Marinade, oh yummy! My frog balls and this made it home safe. I consumed all the fruit I bought at the hostel.

After spending a great morning here we head to the harbor for the whale festival. We park near the Star of India and have a walk down to the pier. It's a beautiful day and families are out in force. Not too crowded though. We explore this small festival and I get some coupons that I can use for the tour of Midway and the whale cruise. I crawl in the belly of a whale, well kinda.

Now it's time to meet Laura at her house, we are going to switch cars and head to La Jolla. Laura's smiling face is out front waiting for us plus secured us a parking spot. After big hugs we are on our way. La Jolla is busy today and traffic is a bit more than we had anticipated. No worry though Laura secured a good spot.

Good God this place is beautiful. Incredibly beautiful really like a postcard and you'll see I tell no lies by the photos. We have a small wait for our reservation at Brockton Villa. This is a beautiful restaurant with a jaw dropping view.

This place has its own bit of history and you can read about it by clicking the link in the Resources section at the end of the report.

We have a great table with a view and since it's mini-vacation time and brunch I'm looking at the drink menu. I see a beer called, Stone cold arrogant bastard. Well I had to laugh that one. I wanted to order it just so I could say it but while talking to the waitress about the bastard I find out it's a dark-beer. I'm not a dark beer fan so I settle on a Corona. Later I see a beautiful glass of red passing by and get I get one of those too!

It's a very nice lunch catching up with Laura and Trish sitting in beautiful San Diego at La Jolla. Laura is one lucky woman living here I'll say that. There is no doubt I'm meant to live in a warm-climate year round, it's me, it's me, it's me. I can't stress that enough.

I didn't know of a thing called tidepooling, which Trish did prior to me getting to San Diego. This is where the tide goes out and it leaves all sorts of tiny plants and animals. Here's a better explanation for those who are not familiar, from (link in Resources):

Rocky coastlines create the conditions for tidepooling, with depressions in the rock-forming pools which hold seawater after the ocean recedes, allowing animals to survive until the rising tide floods the area again. Each of these pools can form a microcosm of life, hosting incredibly diverse creatures and seaweed. Tidepooling can be fun for people of all ages, as a number of interesting creatures including limpets, mussels, young crustaceans like crabs, sea anemones, starfish, barnacles, urchins, sea cucumbers, and chitons can be found in tide pools.

Trish was showing us some of her photos of what she discovered tide pooling and maybe she will share her link here for you to see but she has some gorgeous photos. I didn't go tidepooling but I will one day after seeing these photos. Always something new to learn.

After a most enjoyable lunch with the girls, we head for the beach. Laura is walking us down the coast and sharing La Jolla highlights with us. Heavens it's beautiful. I was telling the girls, if I lived here I would have my morning coffee every day here now that's a start to a day I think. The views are stupendous. I need to be rich to live here but if I can't be in Italy, I'll take this ... if someone forces me, ha ha!

I've been so waiting to see the seals and they are here and vocal. Matter of fact, Laura said they are usually further down and it's not usual where we are watching them and man they are having a party, hooting and hollering. Gosh so incredible. Laura said they are showing off for me!

This coastal area has it all, the beautiful flowers, cliffs, seals and plenty of places for people. Oh and one little squirrel who ran up the cliff and through the flowers and just stood there looking at us so I snap his little photo. We are going to walk down to the cove where lots of seals should be if the tide is okay and I'm practically running there afraid they might go or I'll miss them. On the approach while looking at the beach, I initially thought there was loads of brown-rocks but those rocks are the seals! It's so many of them, some sleeping, some crawling around and talking to each other. I head down the steps to the sand that has a rope sectioning off where you are not allowed to go and if you look through some of my photos and the size of those teeth, that rope is there for good reason. Plus this is their place and they should have their privacy. I could sit and watch them all day. La Jolla is beautiful.

We are head to a new spot in the car, Torrey Pines Glider Port. Here you hand glide right over the cliff. Yours truly won't be gliding there any time soon but it would be interesting to watch the others. Problem is, no wind. There are a few who give it a gallant effort but it just isn't going to happen today. Laura explains that if it is a good windy day, gliders would fill the sky with them floating and gliding off the cliffs. I'm still glad we get to visit there.

After visiting, we head back to Laura's house. It really has been a pleasant enjoyable day. We got to meet Laura's hubby who I liked immediately; he likes the race horses and so do I, remember I'm a Preakness race girl all my life and love the famous racehorses with character and history. Gives me goose bumps. We spend time talking about our trips and future travels and Spain is on my list so I'm learning lots from Laura regarding Barcelona, which sounds even better to me now. Kelly and I were torn between Ireland and Spain and picked Ireland for next year but Spain is going to be soon after I'm sure.

We say our goodbyes and are going back into the city. Trish found an amusing note on her rental car which cracked me up. Apparently someone (probably a college-kid) thought we didn't park properly on the guest space and told us off with a note with an ending that says "and you have a nice day," sorry but it cracked me up.

Thank you Laura for a such a nice day. Trish too.

Now we are talking about dinner and decide on the gas lamp area where we are staying. If one can't find food you like here then you're not human and eating people food because this place is loaded with restaurants of every variety. We decide to meet about 7 and walk to we see something that inspires us. Any shocker Italian inspires us? I'll have to look for the card but I believe it was called "Bella Luna." I will need to double-check that. Okay and he website is in the Resources section.

There is a drink special on wine so I order the house red and there is still a restaurant week menu I didn't order it but it did look nice. I decide on a pizza and Caesar salad, Trish has a salad too that she really likes and lasagna. My food is excellent and Trish really enjoys hers as well. I have enough pizza left to take back to the hostel for another meal. I would definitely go back to this place again. We walk back near our hotels, Trish is leaving the next day and I feel bad for her going back to the snowy lands. After a great couple of days exploring San Diego with Trish, we hug and say goodbye.

My plan is for the next day to explore the San Diego zoo. I've heard wonderful things about this zoo. I feel like a Corona and the street is getting livelier by the minute, right next door to the hostel is Wet Willies. Wet Willies has some outdoor pub tables and a huge wall of daiquiris inside, all the flavors of a rainbow I say, I took a photo of the wall with the assorted slushes.

I get a table outside because I know I have to take advantage of this weather because at home on the East Coast this is not possible. I have my coat on, scarf and am very comfortable. Lots of military are here in San Diego and at a table near me are four or five guys who I start chit-chatting too and lo and behold one is from Maryland, Cumberland to be exact. I find he is there for some training and has arrived from Guam. He's been in Guam for three-years and is tired of it, tired from tropical I'm saying? He loves the cold and winter and Maryland and I'm saying to him, you are crazy! He'll be going back to Guam in a couple of weeks but is out of the service in November.

I forgot to mention there are four French guys staying at the hostel. We've met in the hostel kitchen and halls and they come along to Wet Willies too. One thing I'm surprised to hear from most travelers at the hostel is that those who just visited Los Angeles didn't care for it at all. They all love San Diego, love San Francisco but not so much this place. So I'm talking to the French boys about this and they did crack me up at one point saying this hostel has a lot of old people in it. What? You are saying I'm old? I'll kick your French butt. “No, no, no not you,” they say, “We have a 75-year old man in our room and there are some older Australians too,” and I'm laughing my butt off really, well look guys you have every youthful pub and place around you.

These French are in and out of the club and at one point I'm speaking to one of them and suddenly hear, “Screech, screech,” and a dragging sound, what the heck? Look to the street right smack in front of us and see a bus that is side-swiping a car, a Mercedes to be exact. Oh my gosh, now the bus keeps going thru the intersection and I'm telling the French boy, oh wow we have a crime. I whip out that camera fast as I can and take a photo of the bus that can be blown up in the FBI room for bus crimes and get its tag and bus number, which I shout to the French boy, remember this number, we are witnesses to a crime! We may have to testify! Well our witness role was short-lived because the bus did pull over. We check out the Mercedes and boy did that bus hit it, some of it pulled off and here is the gem of it all, the car belongs to the owner of Wet Willies!

Now I was getting ready to go to bed but with the new excitement I'm staying to see this through. The owner is not there and has to be called. He's on his way, me and the doorman discuss this. Now I did tell the doorman, if you ask me that car is parked too far from the curb; it is sticking out a bit much compared to the other cars. He shrugs; well I think it's legal. The owner shows up who is kind of young too and I think, darn how did he get to own this at such a young age? He must have been reading my thoughts too because I did see him put his shoe by the curb and measure walking to his tire. Hmm, as I suspected, too far from the curb. It's a good thing my photos weren't needed because they turned out too blurry because I was practically standing on a pub chair trying to take the photo and moved the camera too much.

The doorman is a nice fellow and he's doing that job in addition to his real job to pay some things off for about a year but complains he has no life. I tell him you are accomplishing a good goal and you'll surely appreciate it later when all your debt is gone. Now when the accident was happening he said of all nights, my Mom and family are here and I step away for one-second and all this…eventually his Mom and family come out and are giving him big hugs and I take some photos for them. I am getting tired because I kind of stayed on Baltimore time this whole trip so I say my goodbyes and go to the hostel besides tomorrow is going to be lots and lots of walking at the zoo.

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