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San Diego

San Diego feels like another country compared to Chicago, we left heavy rain and grey skies behind and arrived to glorious sunshine! We made our way to the hotel, very basic set up but no bunk beds so it’s already a step up on New York! Seen as we’re in San Diego for 6 days we stocked up the fridge with stuff for packed lunches, even after only a week in America I’m already fed up with eating out all the time, I dont think we’ve seen a vegetable since we got here! We spent the next couple of days checking out the local surroundings. San Diego is a big navy port so there’s loads of ships at the harbour and a maritime museum if that sort of stuff floats your boat, it didn’t take us long before we were fed up of the fishy smell so we spent most our time chilling out in Balboa park. It’s a huge park in the centre of San Diego with a collection of museums right in the centre, we mainly just worked on our tans in the park though. Seen as we’d saved some money by having our homemade butties we thought we’d treat ourselves to a nice tea, the gaslamp quarter of San Diego is filled with nice bars and restaurants so we headed there, found a posh little spot and got a table for 2, and then the bouncer came (who has bouncers for restaurants really), well anyway I’d forgotten my ID and even though I promised to only drink water we were bounced out the restaurant, how embarrassing. Don’t think I’ve been rejected from somewhere since I was 16! We ended up at the very family friendly and slightly lower key Spaghetti Factory. A place that insists on giving you three courses for the price of one, like we need more food really!
The next morning Rod used the hotel gym whilst I went for a run down to the harbour, it was a lovely run with plenty of people out and about but one thing you do notice is the amount of homeless people in San Diego, along a lot of the sidewalks were people in sleeping bags, there’s tents littered about the city and loads of trollies full of people’s belongings. I never once felt intimidated or scared it’s just such a shame to see so many people in that situation without much being done for them.

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We had our first taste of American sports this week, we went to watch San Diego Gulls play ice hockey. It was such a good atmosphere, they really get stuck in too, constant action and we even saw 2 fights! It’s not like in English sports were they try and prevent the fights, they actively encourage it here! Both players threw their gloves on the floor and then circled each other before laying into one another! The refs just stand by and only break it up when someone gets taken down, the crowds loved it! And the gulls won 6-1 so we were sold, now officially ice hockey fans!
The next day was long run day! We’d heard there was a seal beach just north of the centre which happened to be about 13 miles from us, perfect! We jogged up there early morning, rather slowly though because of Rob and his blisters and his knee and his shin…the list goes on. But we made it eventually and all the beaches around La Jolla were just covered in seals and sea lions! Worth running 13 miles of boring roads for!

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With San Diego being so close to the Mexican border we thought it’d be rude not to have a little day trip to Mexico. It’s only 45 minutes on the train to the border and we had walked through the customs gate and into Mexico within 10 minutes, there weren’t that many people heading the same way! We walked down to Tijuana and down the main streets, honestly there wasn’t a lot to see, lots of market stalls selling bits and bobs and every other shop front seemed to be offering some sort of drugs sale, viagra was the most popular buy one get one free offer! The main street had plenty of restaurants and shops along it, every one of them with someone stood on the street encouraging people in, we were won over by a Mexican bloke Mario who sold us some pina coladas and a few beers for 10 dollars. It was so much cheaper than American beer and we got a free shot of tequila with each drink, turns out we’d been suckered by Mario though as most places on the road were only about a dollar a beer, damn you Mario! We tried some Street tacos further down the road and then had burritos for lunch, we were just a sombrero short of a full Mexican clichĂ©. We decided to head back after that because we’d heard queues back over the border were normally about 90 minutes long, if only! 4 hours we queued to get back through border control! Seems like a few more people wanted to go to America, it was ridiculous, the queue was about 3/4’s outside in the baking sun and it moved so slowly! When we finally did get inside we expected a full body search and interrogation but he just asked why we’d been to Mexico (by this point we weren’t sure – the burrito wasn’t even that good) and then he passed us through, just like that.

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On the last day in San Diego we walked to one of the suburbs Hillcrest and had the most amazing breakfast at a place called Snooze, it was rated number 3 out of 4,000 places to eat in San Diego so we accepted the 2 hour wait and went to mooch round the area. It was worth the wait, Rob had a breakfast pie (he’s still trying to be a Wiganer even in America) and I had a giant hash brown stuffed with all sorts of breakfast treats topped with scrambled egg on top, belting! They’ve got this breakfast thing sorted in America.
Think we’ve pretty much exhausted San Diego by now, it was nice to be able to chill out a bit but we’re ready to hit the road tomorrow in our very own car! First stop Phoenix.

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