Saturday, August 21, 2010

So Far So Good

I'm sitting on the patio of the Brickyard Cafe in San Diego - my favorite coffee spot here, although it's been a few years. A breakfast burrito and a latte (both excellent) on top of sleeping in a bed, have rejuvenated me.

The train was two hours late leaving Seattle yesterday morning. That plus getting there an hour early equated to a long wait. On the positive side, I went for a walk and stumbled over the waterfall park. It's right next to Pioneer Square and I'd walked past it several times without noticing it - it's completely fenced/walled in. It's small but very nice - definitely worth stopping by if you're in the area. UPS (the company) started on this spot and built the park.

The train ride wouldn't have been bad except that right behind me was a woman with five kids ranging from two to seven years old. Usually the train is pretty quiet but, as you can imagine, this time the peaceful moments were few and far between! As rowdy as the kids were, the mother was almost as annoying with her constant (and totally ineffective) exhortations - "enough, be quiet, stop, that's it, shhhsh, I've had it, that's enough, you're in big trouble, sit down, behave, leave your sister/brother alone". I have a certain amount of sympathy for her and the kids - 36 hours in a chair is rough for anyone. I just wish I'd been seated somewhere else! (the train was full so I couldn't move). My earphones got a lot of use.

I was hoping to find a latte and wifi at one of the stops along the way but I wasn't too successful. I knew I could get coffee and wifi in Portland but with the train behind schedule the stops were too brief. I finally found wifi in San Luis Obispo and as a result almost missed the train! I looked up from emailing and noticed everyone was gone. They slammed the doors as I was running back to the train. Thankfully someone saw me and reopened the door to let me on. It would have been really embarrassing to get left behind!

I was a little concerned about being late since I only had an hour to change trains in Los Angeles. But we actually arrived about 20 minutes early. Of course, I immediately went in search of a latte. Despite being a huge station, there was nothing. There was one kiosk that looked like it might serve espresso but everything was closed at 9 pm. I ended up going to the only place that was open - a somewhat "fancy" restaurant. (white table cloths, at least) After a glass of Oregon Firesteed Pinot Noir and a salad, I realized I might be able to get a latte here. Sure enough, success at last. (I'm not addicted, honest! At least, not as bad as the smokers who have to dash off the train at each stop.)

I thought the LA train station might be pretty seedy but it was actually quite respectable. It probably helped that they were actively kicking out anyone without a ticket.

When I came out of the restaurant the train was just starting to board, good timing. Just a few more hours. Unfortunately, there was a group of young people coming home from a concert already inebriated and continuing to drink, loudly. Despite the noise, and the coffee, I still managed to sleep most of the three hours. Nothing like being really tired!

I stayed at the Bristol Hotel (first time). I wasn't too sure about walking from the train station at 1 am but it was a main street and there were still quite a few (respectable looking) people around. The hotel is right across the street from the Greyhound station and on the edge of the "good" part of town - ritzy Horton Plaza mall one side, bail bonds on the other side (discount for military!?). But it turned out to be quite nice for the price.

A few years ago I took some nice photos of sparrows at Brickyard. There are still sparrows hopping around there, cleaning up the crumbs. They're a scruffy bunch, a bit like a gang of street kids, but likable all the same.

My Greyhound bus to Tijuana leaves at 5 pm and then I catch a Mexican bus to Loreto at 9 pm. I haven't taken the bus in Mexico before, but it's always worked well in South America. It'll be nice to meet up with Shelley and stay in one place for a while. And I'm looking forward to the diving. Now I just have to decide where to go for lunch - decisions, decisions :-)


  1. Just don't get stabbed, or kidnapped! All that traveling sounds exhausting. Hope you're taking lots of pictures! Have fun diving!

  2. sounds like a very entertaining trip :-) nothing like a bunch of kids, and then a bunch of drunks hey. hopefully it will be more relaxing from here on out!!!