SeaWorld: We spent a couple of days in San Diego, celebrating my room mate's birthday. He'd never been to a dolphin show, and the last time I went was about 35 years ago. We never travel anywhere, and we just plain needed a break. It was warm, even by Phoenix standards. Our first day, it was 76 degrees, which was pretty lucky for us since Shamu soaked us to the skin shortly after this picture.
Our second day we went to the San Diego Zoo. I think I went there when I was a kid but I'm not exactly sure I'm remembering that correctly. It could have been something I remember vicariously via the magic of public television. I say this because I seemed to remember some of the zoo, like the bear enclosures, but I don't remember ever going to San Diego when I was a kid.
- We stayed at the Hyatt - Mission Bay. A beautiful hotel room, with a free upgrade so we got a nice fifth-floor view of the bay. Internet access was a tad pricey, $27 for 48 hours (they charge per day per device, which I thought was excessive). It was too cold to swim, and we're not into the spa thing. The only detail I have to complain about is that there aren't many close-by options for food. They do have a restaurant, the Red Marlin, but it was way too expensive for our taste (it would have been about $100 a meal and the reviews were so-so). They also have room service, and the rate was ok, about average, but the food was terrible. My medium-rare hamburger tasted like charcoal, and my room mate's chicken breast sandwich was just as inedible.
- The beds were very soft. We haven't had much luck with beds our last several trips. The Luxor in Las Vegas had beds that felt like x-ray tables, and our bed the last beach trip was actually two mattress spring boxes stacked on top of one another.
- Our first night, we ordered pizza delivery from Pizza Hut and watched the last Harry Potter movie on my room mate's new iPad. We could also have used the UrbanSpoon app on our iPhones, which showed many more delivery options. I was pretty impressed by the app even though we decided not to use it our second night, and ordered the previosly mentioned and ill-conceived room service.
- Our best meal was lunch the second day, when we ate at Albert's Restaurant in the San Diego Zoo. We ate out on the deck, surrounded by lush green plants and trees (we don't get much of that in Phoenix). What exotic foods did we sample? Meat loaf, garlic mashed potatoes, salad and apple pie a la mode for desert. But it was excellent.
- We decided not to lug our laptops, and instead used the iPad and my new Kindle Fire. They worked beautifully and I was able to do everything I usually do on my Fire that I usually need a laptop for: banking, surfing, Evernote, email, Netflix etc. The only thing we couldn't do was print our boarding passes but we couldn't have done that with our laptops either.
- Without the laptops, we were remarkably and enjoyably light-weight with our flight carry-on's. I only carried my usual man-purse (large enough to carry both of my Kindles and all of my man-stuff), and my room mate only had his iPad. What a luxury!
- For air travel, I would highly recommend the FlightView app for the iPhone. I usually use text messaging but the app is better.
- The next time, we'll rent a car. We spent way too much for taxi service to/from airports and to/from the zoo. We walked to SeaWorld (a pleasant 30-minute walk around the marina) but were too tired (and wet) to walk back and just the 2-mile trip cost us $10.00. Plus having a car would have made the whole meal thing much easier.
- Getting hosed by Shamu was not as traumatic as I had thought it would be, given how nelly I can be at times. Those Orca tail fins can displace an awful lot of water. A group of Asian girls sat up front, wearing jackets with fur trim, and they looked like they fell into the pool. Luckily, our phones didn't get wet.
We had great fun, but of course, after just a couple of days, we were anxious to get back home.