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What in the world did Ian do in San Diego?

Ian went to San Diego a weeks ago, and wanted to share some of his experiences: waterfront, palm trees, Comic con discounts, poetry reading, a 70’s singer-songwriter, Occupy SD, Azerbaijani & Ethiopian food, a baby giraffe, and my romantic panda cam assignation.

This is the first button I noticed when I stepped into the hotel elevator.  We don’t have this an earthquake elevator button in NY.  I had fantasies of the button causing hooks to grab the walls to keep it from plunging in an earthquake.  I asked the front desk, and the answer . . . .

elevator button

was much more mundane.  It calls for help.

The first day I went to the San Diego waterfront.  On the way I saw palm trees.  something else we don’t have in NY, but much more benign than the earthquake button.  These palm trees reminded me of the end of the all-star 1963 screwball comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World 


palm trees (5)

There were tall ships docked at the waterfront which reminded me of seeing OpSail as a kid during the Bicentennial.

boat (4)

Of course I found the sustainable energy connection at the waterfront.  The cruise ships can turn off their diesel engines and run on clean energy.


I had arrived in San Diego at 9pm on a Sunday night.  Comic Con ended at 5pm that night, four hours earlier.  I was told that tickets sell out way in advance so there was no chance of my getting in, but I also missed a town full of costumed revelers.   I saw this sign on the way back from the waterfront.  It was the most obvious remnant of the event that I encountered.

comic con

I went for Eritrean/Ethiopian food for dinner at Muzita Bistro.  I missed that food since leaving DC.  It was good to have Injira, and the Mess honey wine was delicious.  The waitress was very helpful.  When the food was taking too long, she brought a spicy lentil dip with fried Injira as chips. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of walking 3.5 miles each way to dinner.  I paid for that during the rest of the trip with sore legs and feet.

When I went out to Rebecca’s for a poetry reading the next night — which was 2.5 miles away — I was smart enough to take the bus. I lucked out since the poetry reading only takes place on the third Thursday of the month, the week I was visiting.  When I went to sign up on the board, the emcee, Ebert, introduced himself and explained that you write your name on a slip of paper and put it in a green box.  That way the order of the readers is random.


The food at Rebecca’s was scrumptious. I especially enjoyed the homemade strawberry lemonade that was made with real chunks of lemons and strawberries.

strawberry lemonade at Rebecca's

The next day I ate lunch in the Gaslight district of San Diego. I was intrigued by Cafe 21, an Azerbaijani restaurant, so I went there.  Like Muzita they took a bistro approach to food.  The lunch I had was wrapped in a crepe.  Did I mention that I love crepes?

cafe 21, san diego, california


The next night I planned on going to the Occupy San Diego General Assembly(GA)  at the children’s park by the waterfront.   Since the GA didn’t start until 7pm, I decided to have dinner in the Gaslight district of San Diego.  While searching around on the internet, I found Croce’s, which is owned by Jim Croce‘s widow, Ingrid.

Croce's restaurant menu cover

Croce’s restaurant menu cover

The restaurant decor is mostly a tribute to Jim Croce (handwritten lyrics, photos, album covers, and records). Interspersed throughout is Ingrid’s visual art. Ingrid was an art student. She was also originally Jim’s musical partner.  Ingrid signed the copy of  her autobiographical cookbook  Thyme in a Bottle: Recipes from Ingrid Croce’s San Diego Cafes.  Ingrid and her new husband just published a biography of Jim Croce:  I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story.

Jim Croce's handwritten lyrics to "I Have to Say I Love You in a Song"

Jim Croce’s handwritten lyrics to “I Have to Say I Love You in a Song”

On the way to the Occupy San Diego GA, the waterfront park has a series of Rev. Martin Luther King quotes engraved in the sidewalk. This one seemed particularly apt for Occupy.
MLK quote, San Diego, CA

Below is a picture of the Occupy San Diego Wednesday General Assembly meeting.  My full report on the Occupy San Diego General Assembly is posted on our Peace Couple site.

occupy san diego general assembly

When Ki & I realized that I would be going to San Diego by myself, I promised her I would visit the Pandas at the San Diego Zoo.  Neither of us had been to California before, but Ki has been watching the pandas on the zoo’s panda-cam for years.  Trying to disturb the other zoo patrons as a little as possible, I called Ki on my cell phone from the panda exhibit.  Back on the east coast, Ki was watching the panda-cam.  She guided me to where the panda-cam was focused until she could see the top of my head and glasses.


San Diego Zoo Panda

When I was buying Ki some panda mementos, the young lady at the cash register suggested, I go see the month-old giraffe.

1 month old giraffe standing next to young giraffe @ San Diego Zoo

1 month old giraffe standing next to young giraffe @ San Diego Zoo

The rest of my San Diego Zoo photos can be seen at my Flickr set.  And the rest of my general San Diego trip photos can also be found in its own Flickr set.

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