In the final couple months before heading off to Germany, I decided to join a training that coincidentally happens to be about Germany - more on that later. This training took place in Anaheim, so I had to get to California. LA was looking a bit pricey, but then I had the thought to visit another city on the way. My friend Loi, who lives in San Diego, is always happy to have visitors and, as it turned out, the flight there was quite a bit cheaper. My other friend Chas, who lives in Vietnam but, unlike Loi, is not Vietnamese but actually comes from San Diego; he was also going to San Diego for the same reason as me - to go to the training in Anaheim. So, amazingly, I ended up with a cheap flight, a few days catching up with my former colleague Loi, and a ride up to Anaheim with my friend Chas who I met in Vietnam. I guess it was just meant to be!
On Wednesday, the 28th of June, I flew to San Diego where I had a couple hours layover. At 9:30 I was supposed to fly from there to San Diego, but I was flying United so... you might have guessed it - they overbooked. They then offered me a voucher for giving up my seat (a voucher that I think they know most people will never get the around to using). In the end, my ETA to Loi's place ended up moving from around 11:30 to about one o'clock in the morning. Thankfully, he didn't have a problem with that.
The following morning, since Loi was still not due back from work till later that evening, I did a little exploring. I started by walking around the neighborhood, then took a bus downtown. After loading a public transport card, I took a walk over to Seaport Village. It was a really nice day (of course, I guess that's standard for San Diego) so the waterfront was a good first stop. The little kitschy souvenir shops were nice to look at as well. I had soon seen enough of that though, so I made my way over to the historic Gaslamp Quarter followed by Little Italy.
The Gaslamp Quarter was cool (a lot of Victorian Era buildings) but Little Italy was far more my style. Not only does Little Italy have more to see but, in my opinion, it's more practical. I found more little hole-in-the-wall shops with items that suited my interests a bit better, such as unique foods and cultural appropriations. I made sure to stock up on some snacks before getting on the train from there to my next destination - the Mexican border. I only had time for one more activity, so I decided to visit the San Ysidro outlets there.
The outlet mall definitely had plenty of shops. I had a good kebab at a food court and even found churros and horchata. I also enjoyed using my Spanish to make friends with people along the way. On the other hand, I wasn't particularly impressed with the deals as most of the shops only had pricey designer goods. In any case, not a bad experience.
The next day I went with Loi and his roommate to get breakfast at Ikea for just $2 each - a crazy good deal for such a nice breakfast. We then went to the county fair, went on a ride, got some junk food, and watched the truck rally.
For the last day that we had planned, we used up the last of my groupons (I had bought them before coming to visit) to go stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).
A few hours later, we went for pizza at Venice pizza house before stopping over at Coronado for a bonfire that I had found out about on Meetup. The next morning it was time to head up to Anaheim. Chas and I weren't sure about our plan so I went to the bus station to find out if I could take a bus. Fortunately, I wasn't able to get the bus I wanted, so back to plan A. Loi and I grabbed some fish tacos, stopped at a butcher shop for some local jerky, and went over to Balboa Park to see what was going on there.
Balboa is pretty nice, and we even could have gone to the zoo with a special locals pass that Loi had but, after a short walk around, we decided to head back and get some Ramen instead.