Wednesday, 25 January 2012

San Diego Day 0

So I set off for San Diego! Getting up at 5am to meet a 8am flight, a grueling journey ahead awaited me: 6 hours 50 minutes from Singapore to Tokyo, a three-hour wait to transit, 8 hours 15 minutes from Tokyo to San Francisco, a seven-hour wait, and finally 1 hour 10 minutes from San Francisco to San Diego.

As usual, I'm having my drink of choice - crappy 2010 cabernet sauvignon - on the plane, in hopes of being able to get some sleep. Didn't work this time.

The first meal I got myself - a 6" buffalo chicken Subway sandwich. Nothing fantastic about it, but the Subway menu is sick with 3x more choices than the one we have in Singapore. That's a coffee from Peet's. I will have to endure tasteless, thin coffee for the next week or so.

The San Francisco airport doubles up as an exhibition centre; pretty cool! Those are classic biplanes hanging off the ceiling.

More exhibits, presumably depicting San Francisco's pop culture over the years.

The view from my travelator.

I'm finally in San Diego! One thing that traveling teaches me is the art of time-wasting. I think I'm quite capable of making hours go by like minutes while flying or taking long coach rides now.

Flying with airlines that provide video entertainment also allows me to catch up on movies. I watched Real Steel and Crazy Stupid Love - titles that I thought wouldn't be too mentally and emotionally heavy. They turned out to be pretty engaging shows! Irving and Phylicia kept waxing lyrical about Real Steel when they caught it last time, and I must say that I became a kid again because I can be a sucker for silly movies featuring fighting robots, idealistic kids and father-son related themes. I thought Crazy Stupid Love would be a really retarded romantic flick (and yeah I guess it was), and nothing else, but it turned out to be quite a funnily spun tale where it seemed like the director(s) just wanted to troll all the characters involved. Had a good laugh, and after The Ides of March I had a pretty good impression of Ryan Gosling's acting. Plus it's always fun to watch a satire about pick-up artistry.

After checking out of the airport, I waited for bus 992 that would take me to Old Town, a more central part of San Diego. I'd read in the travel guides that Little Italy featured a cluster of inexpensive places to bunk in, so I was headed there. While waiting for the bus, I got to know Karolina from Poland. It wasn't hard to see that she was headed to the SPSP conference too - she carried a huge tube that read -MPRESSION FORMA-. The 20 minute bus journey passed in a flash as we chatted. Along the way, two asian girls hopped on, and from the accent of one of them I immediately knew she was Singaporean. Might be another SPSP attendee!

I reached Old Town at about 8.30pm. It was like a ghost town, with all the shops closed and hardly a soul about. I approached a man with a baby and asked him for directions to Little Italy, and he said it's near but told me to walk indirectly around a couple of blocks. As if sensing my curiosity about the recommended route, he added, "it's safer to go by that way. I would if I were you." Hmmmm.

Anyway, there are these things called "trolleys", pseudo-trains that intermingle with traffic. It's a really nice touch to the city!

So, I set off on a hunt for a place to stay. After some shopping around for an hour and a half, I finally settle...

At US$50 a night for a private room, Harborview Inn & Suites totally trashes the rest of the competition for low price (the average price, after checking out 6 other low-cost hostels and inns, is US$70-80). This definitely doesn't beat the price of a shared dorm, but for the duration of my conference I wanted to have a private place to stay. This will work very well, thanks!

Room is ace!

There's even a microwave. Nice.

For some stupid reason, my universal plug can never get stuck into the powerpoint socket (same happened in Taiwan). So I did some improvisation.

Stocking up on grub. The chocolate milk is sinfully good.

All set for my San Diego adventure!

But this ain't SeaWorld, this is as real as it gets!!! (haha those who know it will get it)

American TV is generally very amusing and entertaining, but after a while, there is an air of over-the-top-ness about it. Watching the box feels sometimes like I'm always being sold something - an idea, a product, a value. Their advertising efforts are crazy.

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