Saturday, December 26, 2009

Well, that happened...

I don't know where I heard or read it, but somebody once said that when things go bad, the best thing to do is say 'Well, that happened' and then move on.

An unplanned adventure happened today. I'm going to tell you about it, and then move on. It wasn't terrible, really. Just annoying. And on the positive side, I saw parts of San Diego that I'd never have seen otherwise, I got lots of exercise and I saved money.

Bear with me here, I'll try to explain.

Tomorrow is the photography tour. The tour company was supposed to pick me up, but they told me after the fact that they won't come to Coronado. So then I was going to walk over to catch the ferry into San Diego, but I learned that the ferry doesn't run early enough in the mornings. The lady at the front desk of the hotel suggested that I take the bus, which should give me almost door to door services. Great. I decided today, since I was going to catch the trolley near where the tour starts, that I'd try out the bus. It's a good thing I did.

It turns out that she gave me the wrong name of the bus route. She gave me the right number, just the wrong direction. Buses don't go in circles here, the way they do at home. They start one place, and end somewhere else; and if you're on the bus at the last stop, you have to get off. In a comedy of errors, I got on the wrong right bus this morning. Again, right bus number, but going in the wrong right (different from what the front desk lady told me) direction. I was about 20 minutes into the ride when I heard the driver talking to somebody and realized that I wasn't going where the hotel lady had sent me. I asked him, and he stopped the bus for me to get off.

Except, this was not a good part of town. The sidewalks had homeless people sleeping in cardboard boxes, and I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that nobody within sight had been employed in a good long while. Maybe they're all perfectly nice people, but I felt uncomfortable. I asked the bus driver if it wouldn't just be better for me to carry on, and turn around someplace else, but he seemed quite determined that I get off there. So, I did. Stupidly.

Luckily, there was a trolley station nearby. Even better - this was the trolley line that I wanted. The one going in the direction I had planned to take was about to take off, so I hopped on. Whew.

Got to the outlet mall. Walked around for a couple of hours, but didn't buy anything. I'd planned to do some serious power shopping, but the mood had left me. I didn't really find anything I liked; and when I did, I couldn't find my size, or the prices weren't any better than I could find at home. I did find one purse that I liked (and was a great deal) but a purse is the one thing that I really don't need. Plus, the lineup at the checkout was pretty crazy. I didn't get it.

So, that was that. I decided to leave, and maybe see if I'd have time to check out the Gaslamp district. I caught the trolley back, except I wasn't sure where to get off. All I knew was that I didn't want to get off at the station I'd been this morning. I asked a lady who was sitting across from me, and she had me get off at the wrong %$#% station.

Then I was completely lost. I knew I was in downtown San Diego, but that was about it. I found what I thought was a building that I recognized in the horizon, and started walking towards it. Twenty minutes later, I eventually went into a little shoe store to look around, and I asked the guy there for directions. He couldn't have found his way out of a paper bag.

He told me that I should take a taxi, because I'd have to walk 10 blocks 'that' way, and then walk about 3 miles in another direction. Crap.

So, I left his store and decided that if I have to splurge on a taxi, getting back to Coronado before dark wasn't as important, so I might as well look around first. There seemed to be some interesting stores in the area, so I figured I'd check them out. That's when I looked up and saw Ghirondelli's. TADA! I knew where I was!!! I was in the Gaslamp District.

The Z Gallery store is in Gaslamp District. I LOVE the Z Gallery. (Wish we had it in Canada.) So, I poked around in there for a while. Finding the Z Gallery just about made up for my frustrating day.

But wait. All was not right in my world yet.

Although I knew where I was, I didn't know how to get where I wanted to be; which was the bus or ferry back to Coronado. A lovely lady at Z Gallery gave me directions, and I realized I had 9 minutes to go 12 blocks. Run, Janice, Run! (But don't forget to zip into Ghirondelli for your free chocolate.)

I ran. I got weird looks from a hot jogger guy with whom I kept pace for about three blocks, then I enjoyed watching him run ahead of me... right until we came to the intersection across from the ferry landing and the light turned red. And I watched the ferry push off and leave without me. If I hadn't stopped for the free Ghirondelli chocolate -which was yummy - I'd have made it.


The ferry only comes/goes once an hour, and I'd have another hour before it returned. And since cute jogger guy had carried on without me, I'd have nothing to do for an hour.

Then I decided to catch the bus that I was supposed to have taken this morning back to Coronado. I knew approximately where that stop was, but not for sure - just that it was about 4 or 5 blocks away. Off I went. After about 4 blocks, I saw the bus! It was driving in my direction. Yippee!

But no, it wasn't meant to be. The bus turned and I began the chase. It'd stop at a light, and I'd almost catch up, and then it'd take off again. I ran after that bus for 3 blocks before it finally stopped. I guess I should have clued in when it stayed stopped while I ran the remaining block to reach it, but the bus was now out of service. Thankfully, the driver took pity on my stricken look and told me where, exactly, I should board the damn bus. I found the stop, waited ten minutes and the bus arrived.

But that wasn't it! Oh, no it wasn't. This is the never ending story, my friends.

Right about the place where the fist driver booted me off this morning, an old creepy looking man got on. Just my luck, he sat beside me. Then he started to talk. And talk. And talk. Normally, I'm not against answering a question or two; but this guy was talking to hear his own voice. Constant natter, it was. At first, he was satisfied with a nod and a smile, but then his questions started getting more pointed and direct. I did something I haven't done in years.

"Je m'excuse, Monsieur, mais je ne parle pas l'anglais." Loud and clear, I pulled out my best Quebecois accent.

That got me weird looks all around, but he shut up for a bit. Then he started nattering at the lady across from him. We'd reached Coronado by then, and he was really annoying me; so I hopped off the next stop and walked the remaining 30 minutes to the hotel.

It's not all bad, though. I decided as I walked that I'd earned pizza for dinner, and I stopped at the place I wrote about last night. It was crazy busy again - clearly this place is popular - but I got my pizza. (For the record, it's as good as I remembered.)

Then, I came back to my room, put on my pj's and settled in. The lady just arrived, turned down my covers for me (which makes me feel like a useless toot, but sure is nice) and left me some cookies and milk to wash down the pizza. I'll not be leaving here again until tomorrow morning.

Whether I take another chance on the transit system, or suck it up and grab a cab to catch up with my tour tomorrow is up for debate. Right now, I'm leaning towards the cab.


  1. What a wonderful adventure and if I knew a foreign language I would have used it on the guy on the bus too.

  2. Pizza, pj's, cookies and milk, bed turn down. All very, very good things :)

  3. Wow, quite the adventure! Glad it all turned out okay complete with chocolate, pizza and cookies & milk.

    The bus system in San Diego can be challenging to say the least, but you should have had a much easier time getting to where you wanted to go.

    I have made a run for the ferry myself and have upon occasion missed it. Really too bad you didn't get to enjoy that ride, it really is a fun way to traverse the bay.

    I hope the rest of your visit isn't quite so taxing and that public transportation is friendlier!

  4. Thanks! I appreciate those comments, but don't hold my troubles against San Diego or Coronado. I've tried public transportation in quite a few cities, and have concluded that they're usually a bit confusing until you've tried them out a few times and worked out the kinks. And, I did get a chance to try out the ferry. It is truly wonderful.