Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trip to San Diego, California

I just returned from an Oncology Nursing Conference held in San Diego, California. This was my third. Previously, they were in Philadelphia and San Antonio. My 17 year old daughter accompanied me. I had heard SD was a beautiful city and that once you went there, you didn't want to leave. I believe it.

We stayed in the historic Gaslamp Quarter at Hotel Indigo. It was a good hotel; not cheap, but worth the money. Room service was good and it was very clean. It was also eco-friendly and boldly decorated, which impressed my daughter. The people in SD are much friendlier than Torontonians.

While there, we toured the USS Midway, a WW2 era aircraft carrier, spent an afternoon at Pacific Beach (called PB by the locals), shopped at Horton Plaza, and walked around in Balboa Park. We also ate out, and tried some local cuisine; fish tacos, which were actually quite good, and surf and turf at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine.

Near the USS Midway is a large statue of the famous D-Day kiss of a sailor and a nurse. Couples usually duplicate the pose in front of it, but I didn't have my husband with me. :( We did a lot of walking, but occasionally we hopped on a bike taxi, which costs about $1.00/minute, but we usually paid more because they worked so hard and we felt guilty.

There was also a tribute to Bob Hope, who was a big supporter of the troops, a monument to the Greatest Generation, who fought in WW2, a walkway/bike path called the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, which has a plaque with one of his quotes every few feet, as well as five statues of hands spelling D-R-E-A-M in sign language.

Nearby is Seaport Village, where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs. I bought a USS Midway mug with a picture of the sailor and nurse, some t-shirts, a San Diego hoodie, beach towels and mug for my husband which says, "Living with a Finn builds character."

SD is a big NAVY town, with a naval base, a naval hospital, a submarine base, the Coast Guard, and Coronado Island, where the Navy SEALs train. The only thing I noticed was a disproportionate number of fit, shirtless men with good haircuts running on the beach, compared to Canada. Just saying.

The conference was great. I came away educated, encouraged and affirmed. Eight thousand oncology nurses in one place. No one tilting their heads, saying, "That must be sad." They all get it. See Oncology Nurse on Purpose under heading Much Ado About Nothing. I got some SWAG (stuff we all get), from the conference, including a tote bag that says, Oncology Nurses: there when you need us. It's appropriate. There's not much else to say about us without sounding trite or unfeeling.

My daughter loves photography. She's very good and has been teaching me some things. She has the eye for it. Balboa Park was great for that. We also towed the Museum of Photographic Arts.

While I was at the conference, she slept in, showered, ate, surfed the internet, and took pictures. She did a timed picture of her jumping on the bed, and a few shots of her running toward the camera. Silly girl. When we shopped, she found a grad dress, so she was happy about that.

At PB, a man in the water started calling for help. People got up, wondering if it was for real. Then two guys ran in and saved him. Then the lifeguards came running with their surfboards, like on Bay Watch, and rescued them all. One of the guys who ran in said he was exhausted afterwards because the riptide was so strong you couldn't fight it. The guy figured he'd call for help while someone could still hear him. Then the lifeguards forbade swimming in that area, which was fine with me, because the water was freezing cold.

We went to a famous Pancake House called Walkers, which was very good. The portions everywhere you go in the States are huge. We often ordered only appetizers.

We wanted to stay for church on Sunday. David Jeremiah preaches nearby in El Cajon, but we had to get back because my daughter had school the next day. As it was, because of our stopover in Minnesota and a delay, we got back home at eleven Sunday night. My husband was waiting there, still in his church clothes, and black leather coat, leaning on a pillar and looking very GQ. I was happy to see him. When I got home, there were a dozen red roses for me. Isn't he sweet?

I enjoyed my time with my daughter. She's very funny, always has been. She describes herself as cheesecake: you can only take her in small doses. I had five days of cheesecake and lived to tell about it. I ended up talking like her, though.

I loved San Diego. There's so much we didn't get to see, like a Padres baseball game, the San Diego zoo, Legoland, a dinner cruise in the harbour, Coronado Island, more of Balboa Park, and a Pacific Sunset (it was overcast). But we dipped our feet in the cold Pacific for the first time and got a sense of the city.

As the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzeneggar says, "You'll be back."

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