Monday, June 25, 2012

In a whale's vagina

That's right, I'm in San Diego, which of course in German means "a whale's vagina".

I'm here for ISTE, an international technology conference for teachers. The conference is Sunday - Wednesday, but my work was nice enough to let me fly down on Friday. My friend Rachel, from way back in the day (we've known each other since third grade!) flew down from Oakland to spend the weekend here sightseeing with me.

I arrived around 1pm on Friday, took a cab to the hotel, checked in, put on sunscreen, and went out for a run (no need to put on my running clothes, I wore them on the plane, obviously). 

Ashley is a San Diego native, and last weekend she told me that people come there for a visit and drop everything to move there. I'll admit I was skeptical up until about 20 minutes after arriving in San Diego myself. I figured I'd just use the run to explore the city, and about .05 miles after leaving the hotel I was staring at a street sign in confusion. In Baltimore, someone walking by would probably take that as an opportunity to completely ignore me, shove me out of the way (possibly into oncoming traffic), or rob me at gunpoint. 

In San Diego, a man walking by noticed my confusion, stopped to ask me if I needed help, then went way out of his way to not only suggest a great running route, but get me a map to show me where the route was. As if that didn't convince me enough, the route was right through Seaport Village and along Harbor Drive, which meant that between staring at the beautiful views of the water and all the fascinating things going on around me, I was lucky I didn't trip and bust my face up.

This stopped me in my tracks, literally

Big ships are fun to look at while I run
After my run, I walked around and checked out the area we were staying in, the Gaslamp District, which is the cool part of San Diego, according to the front desk. 

This was a highlight.

Our hotel had free watermelon sangria from 5-6 each night, so while I waited for Rachel to arrive, I had mine with a side of violence.

I was exhausted from jet lag when Rachel got there, but somehow I managed to pull it together to convince her to join me at Pinkberry.

Chocolate froyo with chocolate shavings

Since Rachel lives 3,000 miles from me, we obviously don't see each other on a regular basis anymore. We were pleased to find out that we are perfect travel companions. Case in point - we saw this, and both of us had the immediate reaction of "WE SHOULD ENTER!" It was at least a full 30 seconds before Rachel realized we didn't have our bikes.

We knew we wanted to do a long - ish run in the morning, so Rachel suggested taking a bus to a nearby beach so we could run along the Ocean, and sight see and take pictures while we ran. I think we had an awkward moment where we were both were worried the other would say something like "absolutely not I need to do negative splits at 87% of my VO2 max". That didn't happen though, we were both 100% on board with running tourism. 

We started out at Imperial Beach.

We had to pee pretty bad, since the trip there took something like an hour, and we were running along a fence forever with tons of bathrooms on the other side, but no way to get to them. When there was finally a spot to enter, it was cause for celebration.

When we got to Coronada Beach, I really wanted to dip my feet in the Pacific, just to say I'd touched it. So we took our running shoes off and went for it.

First time in the Pacific! Cold as hell!
We didn't bring any Gu, but luckily refreshment was available.

Anyone ever seen this in real life before? I hadn't.
We ended up running about 10.5 miles, and it only took us like 3 hours. Way more fun and efficient than regular sightseeing.

Even better than taking the bus back, we took the ferry.

More cool views from the ferry
After getting back and showering, we walked something like another 4 miles checking out the rest of the city, followed by dinner, drinks, and getting to bed early. See, perfect travel companions.

Sunday morning we went running at Seaport Village. The triathlon we couldn't enter was going on, so we alternated running, cheering, and running while cheering. We did four miles in something like an hour. 

After our run, Rachel came up with the brilliant idea to rent bikes for the rest of the day. Running sightseeing was efficient, but biking sightseeing would really be the ultimate efficient choice to make the most of our time. We had another awkward moment where we were each afraid the other would be one of those "I'm too cool to wear a helmet" types, but then we quickly realized that neither of us were total idiots like that.

We rented bikes and rode up to Balboa Park first, a huge park full of museums, gardens, artwork, and even the zoo, a San Diego "must see". Riding without my clip in pedals felt so weird!

Some views from the park:

Can you spot me?

After the park, we went through the city and down to the water again, but on bikes we were able to travel much further out, and the city line view on the way back was unbelievable. 

This really doesn't do it justice.

Even instagram can't truly capture the beauty.

I'm never going to a new city without renting bikes again. 

I've already told Eric to pack our things and meet me here as soon as possible, because I'm not leaving.

Would you be down with running/biking sightseeing? Personally, I think it was the best idea ever.


  1. You seriously know how to travel. I want to take a trip with you!

    We have lemonade stands around here all the time. Then again, I live in rich people suburbia.

  2. Every time I go to San Diego, I never want to come home. That was the saddest part of Jeff getting out of the military because it was likely we'd end up stationed in San Diego. Now I just bug him constantly to apply for a job there (there are a ton)

  3. That looks wonderful! I love being touristy on foot by way of running, best way to really see things!

  4. I always wanted to visit SD! It looks beautiful!

    I love to sightsee while running. So awesome especially in a city that has so many beautiful places to run!

  5. Renting a bike is something I'd never thought of doing before but I could see so much more on a bike than walking. You guys covered a lot of ground! This makes me so excited to go to San Diego next month.

  6. Soooo jealous! I love San Diego, but you know that. It looks like you've done all sorts of awesome stuff. The best part of that Ghiradelli shop is that they give you free samples just for walking in. So we used to walk in, get candy and leave.

    I totally run/sightsee when I'm traveling. I don't bike much...sightseeing or not.

  7. One of my great regrets is not applying to grad school at UCSD. Also, want Pinkberry.

  8. That sounds pretty fabulous. We tried to sightsee in Canada by bike last week, but wound up sightseeing along the boardwalk by wheelchair instead.

  9. You seriously knows where to find good places to travel. Looking forward for your next adventure.

  10. Very nice write-up of your time in San Diego. I am glad you got to go

  11. This trip looks incredible! I would definitely run to tour the sights, but biking...obviously not. Crashing repeatedly in a new city does not sound like fun to me.

  12. A good review of basic science is always in order:

    I know that you as a science and math teacher will enjoy watching that again.

  13. I'm all for running/biking sightseeing! We brought our bikes with us to Santa Monica last weekend to ride on the bike path along the ocean, much faster than walking! Looks like you had a great time.


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