Friday, November 1, 2013

Boo! A San Diego Halloween

I don’t know how else to say it: I love San Diego.

Hawaii is heaven on earth, but it is so far away.  San Diego has similar perfect weather and perfect beaches, but has the advantage of being only three time zones away from the east coast.  It also is a place of very fond memories.  If not for California taxes and politics, I would consider moving there permanently.  Still, I will take any excuse to visit San Diego, and as luck would have it, there was a conference in the city at the end of October.

The day time meetings were meetings, ie. quite zzz-inducing.  I took every excuse to sneak out during the days to the nearby beaches and towns, including Mission Beach, Delmar, Coronado and the like.  I have been to these places many times, but I never tire of them.  Each has its own inviting personality.  And the best part of sneaking out in the middle of a weekday is that you have that entire slice of sunny (and occasionally cloudy) heaven mostly to yourself.  I consider myself to be an east coast kind of guy, but even I admit the west coast has its charms.

I always feel strangely content when I am on a California beach, but the happiest part of me are my feet.  It must be the warm sand, even in late October.  And happy feet mean happy me.

As nice as Delmar, Coronado and the surrounding San Diego communities are, my clear cut favorite town in the area remains La Jolla.  The restaurants are awesome; I still remember the first time I dined on the patio at Georges on the Cove.  La Jolla is a bit of an upscale community, with a nice beach and an ocean walk that is one of the prettiest in the area, even on a cloudy day.

Even the seals are friendly in the La Jolla.  On this particular day, however, one specific spot of La Jolla beach had a very noxious odor.  When I inquired about it to the locals, I heard various explanations blaming seagulls to the seals themselves.  I never got to the bottom of it.  It was better just to avoid that stretch of the walk and enjoy the rest of the town.

One of the most picturesque advantages of being on the west coast, of course, is the sunset.  Sometimes, the sun looks like it is exploding as it falls across the horizon.  I imagine that the views from anywhere along the coast are spectacular.

For me though, there is only one spot to really catch an amazing sunset. Whenever I am in the area, I try to catch it from my favorite corner of La Jolla. I am never disappointed.

If the days are best spent on the nearby beaches, the nights are best spent within San Diego itself.  For example, the Gaslamp District has been revitalized over the past decade to rival the happening spots of any other major city.  As luck would have it, this conference spanned Halloween, as one of my favorite La Jolla restaurant reminded me by decorating its signature automobile.

When I looked out my hotel window that evening, it was clear that the entire city was in a festive mood.  Apparently, my hotel was in the middle of a gigantic multi block Halloween party.

I decided to tumble and stumble outside to see the costumes, and was treated to lots of people dressed up, each having fun in their own individual way.  I managed to get a simple face mask in order not stand out so much as an outsider, and had lots of fun looking at people making a general happy spectacle of themselves.

The evening was much more enjoyable than I had anticipated.  I hadn’t personally celebrated Halloween in years, at least not in a public venue, and I doubt that I will again any time soon.  It was still an unexpected surprise to run into these festivities.  Sometimes life gives you those and you need to take them gratefully when you can.

All too soon, it was time for me to leave San Diego.  As I said, I am an east coast guy, but even now I find myself often thinking about those California beaches.  My feet think about them, too.

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