Alright, let’s try to sort this out a bit. (Imagine the lag between posts when I actually have a job.)
I have a tendency to forget who I tell when I decide to go somewhere, so the essence of this is that I got wind of a conference in San Diego two days before it started, and knowing that a lot of friends from back home would be there and that I had finished the last of my most recent round of job interviews, I hit the road.
Believe it or not, I do live in Canada. At least until my lease ends in December, at which point these posts will probably sound the same, but with a less tourist-y vibe. And if the next time you see me I’ve only got one leg, it’s because I had an ingrown toenail but had to work 6 months to afford health care. I guess infections spread faster than socialism.
The border patrol was in fine form on my way through, as per usual. Sgt. Woodstock distracted me with annoying questions about why I was going to a conference while Officer Snoopy rifled through everything in the car like he couldn’t find his favourite Wimbledon racket. All while knowing full well that I couldn’t keep an eye on him or else I’d screw up the ongoing lie detector test and get taken inside to have someone tell me my prostate is fine, and to stop crying. Glad that’s over.
Luckily Mother Nature was nicer and turned the broiler on for the drive down, bumping it up a degree every hour until I hit L.A. at around 33 degrees (or as I call it, the future of my schooling).
I made it there about six hours before the rest of the gang, so I registered using my newly-acquired student card to get the free “I’m just a student and want to find out how I could best contribute the developing talents of my young malleable mind to the scientific world” version of the registration. It saved me $500. And in all honesty is was pretty interesting stuff despite having to go home at night and eat relevant textbook pages hoping for a little overnight absorption.
Everything non-scientific about the event was also catered to my tastes. The rooftop bar at our hotel was a pleasant discovery, and we were just down the road from the Embassy Suites so happy hour(s) was a fun stroll away. And a really fun stroll home.
We also discovered that part of the group was living the dream at a third hotel with a two big hot tubs, a pool, and a handful of fire pits. So we lived there at night. But the hotel had apparently hired some stern parents as security, so they came around once to tell you it was closing time, and a second time to say: “I believe we’ve told you already that the closing time was an hour ago, so we need you to get out, as in right now, not in five more minutes.” Yesss daaaadddd. It was like this guy was born as a forty-year-old and spent the next thirty years developing the ability to elicit shame. Have a heart, man. Or have a beer! Rekindle your youth with us! Just walk in with your clothes on and don’t ask where ours are.
For the rest of the week at the convention centre I felt like a flat-backed camel, walking hours a day, dehydrated, without getting a hump. Talk about a dry spell. I think if I were Moses, the Exodus would have failed. I’d have just handed out Sting CDs so we could listen to Desert Rose and get to know each other. Our own long, drawn out spiritual/sexual oasis, if you will. Let my people come.
One day I was dragged to the zoo just in case I hadn’t had my fill of animalpooscent only a month ago. Obviously it was still a good time though. And this time I got to see the staff feed the lions, which I highly recommend. Last time they were both sleeping belly-up in the sun, going for that aged golfer neck look on their lion parts. To each his own, I say.
After the zoo (an hour or a few days, I can’t remember) we went to Old Town for some great Mexican food, and to share stories about our grandchildren. Then it was off to the Gaslamp Quarter for a week’s worth of nightcaps. Every. Night. We essentially brought the zoo downtown.
Man, was it great seeing almost 20 Western people back together. It’ll never be the same in B.C., but it reminds you that that place is always there when you need it. And who wouldn’t miss the connections you have to jobs in your hometown. Especially since I’ve essentially concluded that the hospitality industry wants my business and not my service. I’m still looking, but with a little less expectation than Finn Bell. I suppose I could work at one of the gay bars, but who wants to spend their nights serving up mixed dinks?
Speaking of terrible things to experience, we went to a Padres’ game one night. They ended up losing 2-1, which is much better than the odds of me going to another game. However, we were in the section with a frat and a sorority from San Diego State, so it was pretty entertaining. Mainly because the security and cops there looked like they were all planning ways to bust the entire group for underage drinking. Or maybe they were just scowling at the Padres.
On the way home I dropped a couple Westerners off in LA so they could tour around a bit. We took the coast highway from San Diego, which was a nice break from the I5 (which drones on until Vancouver). After that, I headed straight for San Francisco in hopes of getting a good shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, which as you can see below, I finally managed to do – on my fourth attempt.
The bridge leaves you heading North on Highway 101 (and as I found out, it doesn’t meet back up with I5 until mid-Oregon. That added some brutal travel time. The 101’s a pretty slow drive, before you add in the single-lane factor, multiple speed changes, and nightfall. However it did lead me right into Redwood National Forest with all of the California Redwoods and Giant Sequoias. That was pretty cool. But I felt like a midget lost in a basketball locker room. The players were tall as well.
Well I guess that’s almost the least concise way I could have explained my week, given that you’ve already read about my nearly identical trip last month.
I suppose I’m just less of a summarist and more of a winter hater.