Jan 2, 2004

WHEW or WHAT I DID ON MY CHRISTMAS VACATION
We're back in Stuart, FL today after a 6 day romp on the left coast.
Quick Recap
Days in San Diego: 3.5
Days in LA: 3
Stars Spotted: 2
Tar Pits stuck in: 32
Near wrecks in the rented Galant: 3
Bicycles rented: 0 (to our sincere detriment)
Fish Tacos eaten: 8
Big ships from Master and Commander boarded: 1
Articles of "previously owned by stars" clothing purchased: 5
Books read: 3

Landed in San Diego on 25 December to find a two hour line to get the gallant Galant.
Day 1
We went to the San Diego Zoo, where they have a 4 month old baby Panda, and someone is constantly advising over the LOUD speaker to remain quiet for the health of the baby.
Day 2
We took the San Diego Trolley to Tijuana. Upon arrival at the trolley stop, one must get in a taxi to be taken to the tourist mecca, Avenida Revolucion. A taxi driver approached us and asked (in English) if we'd like to get in his car for $5. Having been told not to pay more than $6 for this particular ride from our trusty tour book, and always looking for a bargain, my mom looked up at the man and said, "Fo Dolla?" in her best Spanish ACCENT. My brother, quickly recognizing this embarrassment, jumped in and told the man we'd love to ride with him for $5, turned to my mom and said, "Mom, speak ENGLISH."
The US Customs is a bit more picky about who enters the US than the Mexican Government is about who goes to Tijuana, so we had to stand in a line approximately a mile long to get to the metal detector and return to the hassle-free San Diego shopping. Now, if you have a bicycle, you're considered something different from a pedestrian or a car in this process, and you get your own special line, which was not at all long. So some sly Mexicans gathered up a bunch of TINY bikes to rent to those wishing not to wait in the mile-long line. As the scores of bike renters went wishing by yelling things like, "I have no brakes!" and "The seat fell off!" I was waiting in the line for pedestrians, wishing I had seen this Mexican genius renting the broken bikes.
Hotel del Coronado for a drink - if you're ever in San Diego - go here!
Day 3
We took a tour of the STAR OF INDIA and the SURPRISE. These are two really big sailboats, and Surprise! the SURPRISE was the boat used to film Master and Commander.
Drove up to La Jolla, explored a cave and whetted our appetites at a cute seaside shanty overlooking the cliffs and Pacific Ocean before the Galant took us to Los Angeles. I will note that as I read aloud from our trusty tour book, my mom requested that I read in my Indian accent, b/c it needs practice. For what, I don't know.
Straight to the Sunset Strip for us.
Day 4
LaBrea Tar Pits (actually oozing asphalt, not tar) in the morning, and then to Grauman's Chinese Theater and Hollywood Blvd. We then decided to drive to Malibu and down to Santa Monica and Venice beach. Along Santa Monica Blvd Rick informed us of his need for immediate access to a bathroom, so we let him out and mom and I circled Rodeo drive several times waiting for him to find the comforts of Saks Fifth Avenue to pee.
Found Abbot Kinney Blvd, a funky street of funky shops, near Venice beach. It was dark now, but we walked around Venice Beach among the closed kiosk stands, drug dealers, and homeless folk, quickly deciding we'd fit in better with the carnies up at Santa Monica Pier. I rode the mini roller coaster and the Sea Dragon, but I am scared S*&^less of Ferris Wheels, so stayed away from that particular monster.
Day 5
Warner Brothers studio tour. They put us on a long golf cart and showed us the set of Friends. This is where our first star sighting occurred: LUKE WILSON was there filming Starsky & Hutch, and he waved to me and said hello as I dorkily sat with 11 other people on 1 golf cart with a camera in hand. Be still my heart. Oh, and we also had close contact both in the Galant and on the lot with a man named The Bishop, who I guess is on MTV. He was something.
We found IT'S A WRAP, where they sell the clothes the stars wear on set. Mom bought a leather jacket worn on General Hospital, I bought a pair of shoes from The Agency, and Rick purchased a pair of Jack Black's pants worn in School of Rock, along with several of Andy Richter's plaid shirts.
THE COMEDY STORE. Long a fan of the stand-up, I wanted to check out this famous spot where Pauly Shore's mom has been booking the next big funny thing for years. And, yes, I LOVE Pauly - I don't care what you say - I love Son in Law, I love Biodome, and I love the Weasel. So imagine my delight when, after 4 comedians had already come and gone and the two drink minumum was catching up with my bladder, I ran into PAULY as I went to the bathroom! I said, "Oh! Hi!" and he said, "hello." If I had that moment to do over again I would have asked, "Can I PLEASE whiddle wood with you?" Then, Pauly gave us some surprise stand-up, practicing for his headlining gig there on New Year's Eve. So lucky.
Day 6
Sony Studio Tour
Drive back to San Diego

Books I read while on this vacation:
1. The Divinci Code, by Dan Brown
2. Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, by Tom Robbins
3. Songbook, by Nick Hornby



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