Yes, we’ve been quite busy here in San Diego, and five weeks have passed rather quickly. And what else did we do the rest of our time on the coast of San Diego? Well, for starters, Hector’s brother Gus joined us for a fun-filled long weekend. Hector had been hoping that Gus could join us here in Southern California, so we were really excited about his visit.
The original plan was to spend a four-day weekend together, but Gus and his friend, Jessica, who took a connecting flight out of Miami, encountered delays and problems both in Miami and after their connection in Dallas. Including an emergency landing in El Paso, Texas in an aircraft not meant to land in such a small airport. But they arrived safe and somewhat sound.
And the much later arrival shortened our weekend together to three days instead of four.
These two brothers are quite a pair when they get together and this time was no exception. Like two overgrown kids.
And, speaking of kids, Gus really wanted to visit Disneyland as he is a big fan of Disneyworld in Florida. So Hector and I hired a pet sitter to walk and feed Angel and off to Los Angeles the four of us went on Friday for a fun and very long day.
Hector and I have a history with Disney – when we got married, we had very little money, so we had a Floridian honeymoon – driving around Florida and playing tourist at various spots: Disneyworld, Sea World, Circus World (since gone) and others.
So visiting Disneyland had a bit of a nostalgic feeling – this is the original park and vision of Walt Disney, built in 1955 and about to have its 60th anniversary. Many of the original rides are still operating, albeit with some tweaking and refurbishing, and we enjoyed riding a bunch of those original rides, including some of the kiddie ones 🙂 .
The DIsneyland sign over the years
Being a kid in a fantasy world for a day is not bad, but the lines can be crazy. Turns out that the Disney diehards have developed strategies to minimize that. Including multiple apps to provide you with information about the lines. So I went high tech and purchased an app to check out the waiting times in advance and we used the FASTPASS system, a must to avoid some of the long waiting times. Which allowed us to pack in more rides.
We visited the silly but fun Enchanted Tiki Room for some sing along fun.
We went into the Haunted Mansion, got (slightly) wet in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and had some delicious beignets (almost like the ones in New Orleans).
Gus and Hector had some fun with the other kids in the Astro Orbitor.
But my all time favorite part of the experience was watching the nightime parades and fireworks. We watched three: Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, full of floats and Disney characters; the Fireworks Show; and Fantasmic, which is a combination character and light show with pyrotechnics, lasers and special effects over water, a beautiful show.
We really stretched out the day, but it meant a very late departure back to San Diego. And Hector did a great job of driving back in the middle of the night while I chatted endlessly to make sure he stayed awake.
The next day we opted for a more mellow beachy day. We went to a really pretty beach, Windansea in La Jolla, where we walked along the rocks and watched some surfers.
Then we drove over to the Children’s Pool, also in La Jolla to watch the seals, an activity that Hector and I really enjoy.
The seals are having pups, and we saw a pup that had been born 45 minutes earlier. There is a ritual that apparently takes place each time a pup is born – seagulls go after the placenta – a protein source – and the mom tries to protect the placenta – she identifies it with her pup.
It’s tough to look at the stressed out mom circling and trying to protect the placenta while also taking care of the pup. Ultimately, the seagulls win and mom goes back to focusing on her pup only.
The pups are just adorable, and we spotted others that still had part of their umbilical cords. And there are some wonderful volunteers watching their backs. I spoke with one of the volunteers who was just a fountain of knowledge. It’s so comforting to know that there are so many people looking out for these adorable animals. And our fine afternoon ended with a fabulous sunset.
On Gus and Jessica’s last day here, we went biking and skateboarding (Gus) on the Pacific Beach boardwalk. This is a quintessential Southern California experience and since it was a weekend, there were tons of people walking, cycling, skateboarding or just hanging out along the boardwalk. Definitely some great people watching.
We topped it off with a walk in Ocean Beach, a neighborhood with a hippie flair. There are lots of funky shops, quite the other side of the spectrum from the Disney experience.
While there we had lunch at Hodad’s, a burger joint that’s an Ocean Park institution. Hodad’s had great burgers, fries, fried onions and a fabulous strawberry shake. We did not skimp on the calories and, oh yes, it really was worth the wait in line.
So the brothers got to play together once more during a jam-packed visit on a fun-filled weekend.