Page January 2011
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Today is a travel day for me. I leave Galveston at 10 AM and arrive at San Diego around 6 PM with a stop in Phoenix. I have an eBook on my Galaxy to keep me company. I decided to read the copy of "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" since it can be shared on up to five devices as I understand it. I just logged onto the account we set up for Ellen and updated, and the book showed up on my bookshelf in Kobo! I haven't read any fiction for years, but I thought I'd give it a try. I have time to kill while waiting and flying.
The flights went well and I had my rental car, a white Chevy Aveo with 488 miles on the clock, by 7 or so. I have now read about 2/3rds of the book.
The car drives well. Traffic was flowing at 75 and 80 going north and the car stayed in the traffic easily, with enough extra pep to maneuver well. It has no cruise control and that is no issue on short drives. On long drives, my hip gets sore from pushing and holding the accelerator.
By 8:25, I was at Jon's in Laguna Beach. The kids were in bed.
The weather is mild and clear. I spoke with Ellen on the way up and she reports very cold weather at home, but clear.
Today I have a chance to catch up on some deskwork and pay some bills. We'll go out later and I intend to go for a good long walk.
Today I drove to San Ysidro, parked, and crossed over to Tijuana around 10. I met the 'shuttle' at McDonalds and was whisked off to the dentists' office. The 'shuttle' was an older, jacked-up 4X4 Land Rover-type body job with a loud muffler, driven by a muscular young man. He drove as if the streets were a video game and we arrived in jig time.
I spent two hours on my back in the chair while the dentist worked away, then caught a cab back to the border. I retrieved my car and drove back to Jon's. I have some things to do down San Diego way, but the 805 and the 405 are jammed at rush hour and still can have stop and go sections at any time of day, so I drove straight down and straight back. I have to go back to Tijuana two more times, so I plan to take a hotel in San Diego tomorrow and spend some time there before my next appointment Friday.
I reserved my flight home for the 24th. I notice it costs me $100 more to fly from San Diego than LAX, but that was my choice. I could spend more than $100 trying to save that $100.
Off to San Diego today.
I left around noon, after updating my Garmin WT 265 GPS. It is several years old and I recently paid the ridiculous price of $89 to get map updates for the life of the device. I see the device for sale at Costco for $109, but I wonder how old the maps are in those units.
I arrived at Ruby's on time and Chuck and I chatted for two hours or so, then I had some time on my hands. I decided to check out the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Safari site and set the GPS. I did not realize that it would take out past Escondido, and I arrived at the gates after closing. I had expected that and not intended to enter, but I was surprised at how far inland it is. Now I know where it is. Sorta.
I joined six lanes of rush-hour traffic on I15 and drove down to Sandy Yego. It was dark when I arrived, but I drove by Downwind Marine, just to know where it is, then drove to my motel in San Ysidro to ready for tomorrow.
I had some time on my hands and hammered out some details of an upcoming experiment with Randy, then sorted my GPS files and reloaded the GPS with just my California waypoints.
It's another beautiful warm, sunny day here in SoCal. At home, in Alberta, from the forecast it looks cold and dark. I'm off for another day at the dentist in Tijuana.
* * * * * * * * *
I spent three hours in the chair and two hours lined up at the border waiting to re-enter the US. Both experiences were quite trying, but also entertaining and educational. The dentist worked very diligently and intently on my back molars. He decided that I needed four, rather than three crowns, since I had been without a cap on one for quite a while and the opposing molar, with a crown, had moved out of place due to lack of a partner. He explained through an interpreter, since he was unsure of his English and did not want to be misunderstood, but we got to chatting later and his English was quite good.
I enjoyed the day in Tijuana. I arrived at my appointment an hour early and walked around the area. I had taken a cab and had to instruct the driver who spoke almost no English, but we arrived pretty much directly.
We hear all sorts of horrible things about the drug wars and corruption in Tijuana, and my friend from Carlsbad who is planning to move to Chile or Uruguay and other Americans I have met would never consider going to Mexico, but in downtown Tijuana, a mile or more from the border, the neighbourhoods are quiet and clean and the people are confident and friendly. (He also says he would not go to LA for similar reasons).
I walked through a Sam's Club, and except for the prices being in pesos (twelve to the dollar), I could have been anywhere. The surrounding strip mall was pleasant. I saw furnished apartments in modern-looking buildings advertised for rent and remembered that some Americans in SoCal commute from TJ since the rent is so cheap.
I caught another cab to the border and joined the pedestrian line which was longer than I can ever recall. It took two hours to reach the customs counter. In the meantime, I learned a lot about people. The people in line, from babies to ancient ladies with big bags, were all polite and patient as we moved slowly along and watched quite a few line crashers cutting in ahead. Beggars moved up and down the line. The woman in front of me dropped a coin into every proffered cup. I demurred. Hawkers canvassed the line, selling "shuttle" rides for $5, promising a crossing in a half-hour. They walked people up the pavement, past the line to where the shuttles were parked in the bus lane, and in the bus door. I doubt many even got into the vans. No one in line complained as we watched the various forms of cheating. Some, mostly brash kids, simply walked up the line and cut in as if they had been there all the time. Most in the line spoke Spanish and English. Some were friendly; others kept to themselves the whole time. Others talked the whole time on cell phones.
I retrieved my car and drove to Laguna Beach and had supper with Jon and the kids.
I got up, make a loaf of sandwiches and we drove to Bear mountain for a day of skiing and boarding. We hadn't realised that this is Martin Luther King weekend and so we were surprised by the crowds and the higher prices charged on special weekends. We were also surprised to find highway 330 closed due, we assume, to washouts from recent storms and wasted an hour or so detouring. At any rate, we had a good afternoon, then drove home.
We had a relaxing day at home today. Jon went out for a while in the morning and bought an new HTC EDO Android phone from Sprint. His old iPhone on T-Mobile was missing calls. It works much the same as my Tab.
In the afternoon, we walked up to the pool and swam and sunbathed. I then slept for two hours. For some reason, no matter how late I go to bed, I awake at 4 AM. If I go back to sleep again, I wake up at 6, sharp. I have an alarm clock in my head it seems and I can't seem to turn it off.
Last night I stayed up after midnight, finishing "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", and so I was a bit short on sleep. This is the first novel I have read in a while. I don't know what to think of them. To me, even the 'good' ones seem bogus, superficial and contrived. I seem to be alone in that perception. My wife, daughter and mother devour books at a fast pace and read everything on the book hit parade.
At any rate, that was why I was a bit tired.
I got up at 4:25 today. I found I was having ibuprofen dreams and figured there was no point trying to sleep. After a few days of use, ibuprofen causes me to have strange dreams. They are not nightmares, but tend to be somewhat disturbing and persistent and happen around time of awakening.
Today is Martin Luther King Day, so the kids have the day off. Jon is planning to work, so I have the kids for the day. What to do? Chuck-E-Cheeses? Eastwing? Moulton Meadows? The beaches? Legoland? The Zoo? The Wild Animal Park?
* * * * * *
I've been in SoCal for a week, now and I return home a week from today.
* * * * * *
We did not go anywhere spectacular. The kids just wanted to go to the park and chuck-E Cheeses, so we picked up Savanna and Janine and away we went. Afterwards, Katrina, Kalle, Jon and I went swimming, but S & J couldn't go because they had just had their hair straightened and could not get it wet, so we dropped them at Sarah W's place on the way back to Club Laguna.
After supper I went grocery shopping. Is it my imagination or have food prices gone up?
The kids are back at school today, so maybe I'll get caught up on my books and bills.
I started the day by calling AAA to start my car. I had left the dome light on and this basic car does not apparently have the circuitry to shut everything off after a few minutes like most of the current crop of vehicles. The driver arrived, gave me a boost and we discussed the current situation in Mexico while the battery charged. He's from there and goes down often to see family.
Amazing News From Catch the Buzz:
Here are the 2010 proceedings. Check them out.
Jon had to drive in to work today since his company laptop crashed and he has to get a replacement. The kids are off to school, and I am on my own with Daisy, the dog.
Since I'm off to Tijuana again tomorrow to have the four crowns installed, I'm checking out the shuttle buses to Tijuana and back. I don't feel like standing in a long line and am curious what is offered. I have to go a long ways in downtown TJ anyhow and would be catching a cab, so if I can find a bus from San Ysidro to Revolution, that would kill two birds with one stone. It is a still a mile or so from the bus station to the dentist, though.
I wasted over an hour looking online. There is just no good, simple information. Mexicoach's website has been hacked and their phone mailbox is full. Greyhound from San Diego delivers me 6 km from where I want to be. Looking online, I can't find where the other shuttles drop people off. I had hoped to get close, but it seems that I'll have to take a cab or walk no matter what I do. I wonder if the dentist will send a shuttle again. I'd save $5.
* * * * * *
Noon: I cleaned up around the apartment and am going out for a while. Have to be back by 2 or so, since the kids have a short day and Jon is gone. Had to run the air-conditioning yesterday it was so hot, and it is already warm now at 10:30.
The afternoon turned cooler. I drove over to Wal-mart and returned some shorts I had bought and didn't like, and got a few things: a bulletin board and picture frame, then dropped by Stater Bros for a few groceries and hurried back. The kids had just arrived on the bus, a few minutes earlier than expected.
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