Monday, October 19, 2009

The Sweet End to a Ridiculous Day

This is going to be a long, detailed post. I feel it necessary to include all the events of this day, for a better understanding of how nice it was to end up in this beautiful, shady spot with my family, and an ice cream cone.

A couple weeks ago I was so excited about hearing of the Pacific Islander Festival. The island girl in me could hear the ukuleles playing and smell the pineapple and pork roasting days before. Even though the Bears game was going to be televised, Kennedy was selfless enough to allow me his Sunday afternoon for this event. It was to be over by 4:30, so that meant we had to hurry home after church to change (and Pastor chose this Sunday to keep us past 1 PM. ) It was 2:15 by the time we made it down to Mission Bay. I researched our parking options ahead of time. There were 3 parking lots with free bus shuttles and paid parking on the island where Ski Beach is located (where the festival was being held). The website advised to forego trying to park in the paid lot, due to limited spaces. We spotted the first free shuttle lot, but were in the wrong lane and already saw 2 buses there picking up passengers. We drove further to find the 2nd lot. It was VERY empty (3 cars) so we weren't even sure that the bus was still picking people up there. We pulled in and as soon as I got out of the car my skirt was in a losing battle with the wind. Thankfully I brought pants along for just such an occurrence. Unfortunately, despite that there were only 3 cars in the lot, one of them belonged to a couple of old men who were sitting at a nearby bench watching me try to change into pants. I worked swiftly, only to jump out of the car and see the bus pulling away. Apparently, the bus was right behind us and wasn't about to wait the 20 seconds it took me to put my pants on. Assuming the buses were on a route and would be back around to the first lot soon, we headed back there. And that's where we waited. And waited - for 20 minutes, with the scent of unattainable pineapple and roasted pork teasing my tastebuds. By this time it was 2:45. Here is Kennedy checking the scores on the game I was making him miss...

After we tired of waiting, we decided to just drive to Ski Beach and see about the paid parking. By this time we were considering it worth the $10 to not have to find out how much longer we'd be waiting, and we assumed (need to stop doing that) since the festival was to be over soon, some spots would be available. Well, come to find out, Ski Beach is a headache to find. Driving around that area made my head spin. We backtracked a couple times and ended up on a freeway somehow. When we finally found that parking lot, we were met with orange cones and a sign stating that the lot was full. There was a sea of people walking across the bridge, seeming to be coming from a parking area. Despite that the two day festival was to be over in an hour and half, there were still hundreds of people pouring in. I considered finding some parking and making that long trek across that bridge with the masses for about a half a second. I'd just hold out for next year.

Once we decided not to go to the Pacific Islander Festival, we set out to find a place to eat. It was 3:00 PM and Taylor was the only one who had eaten a meal that day. So we drove with our eyes peeled. I was in the mood for something tropical, like fish tacos, since I was missing out on my island faire. We thought it would be easy to stumble upon a little place serving fish tacos down around the Bay. It wasn't. We inadvertently ended up in Pacific Beach, where I was reminded of how old I am and how most young people these days make me want to slap some sense into them. We become our grandparents eventually. I never thought it would happen by the time I was 32. Oh the good old days... when gas was under a dollar and kids knew the right way to wear a baseball cap.

I caught this happening in the sky as we were driving. Another reminder that there was football going on. It says, "Go Chargers."

So we drove our way out of Pacific Beach and considered checking out the restaurant options in Old Town. We found out after circling the parking lots that while half of San Diego was eating pork at the Pacific Islander festival, the other half was eating Mexican food in Old Town. A ways down the road, just outside of Old Town, we saw a neat looking Mexican restaurant. After doing two u-turns and missing the entrance to their small parking lot twice, we opted out of a 3rd try - it just wasn't meant to be.

Somehow we ended up on Intestate 8, heading east, farther and farther from fish tacos. Kennedy kept saying, "Keep a look out for a restaurant that looks appetizing," but I couldn't see much from the freeway. By this time we were so hungry, we gave up on the fish tacos. The farther we drove, the closer we got to El Cajon, and the only time we ever go to El Cajon is to see a lady once a year who does our taxes. I wasn't very interested in visiting more than once this year, so, after stopping there for gas, I had expected Kennedy to get back on Interstate 8 heading west. He didn't. Why head west when you can go so much farther east? And to make a long story short (hahaha), after a bit of a drive later we ended up on an Indian reservation.

It was 4:00 PM.

Indian reservations in this area have: tribes, rattle snakes, and heat (close to 100 degrees on this particular day). Oh, and casinos. That's where everyone goes to eat and shop. So, we went to the shopping outlets on the property of Viejas Casino. The first restaurant I saw was Rubios. Fish tacos! But, having spent hours waiting to eat, we weren't about to settle on a fast food chain with an establishment within a mile of our house.

There was a pasta/pizza place that I was willing to give in to. In fact, as hungry as a was, I just wanted to shovel in some pasta and bread and be done with it. Kennedy wanted to check out the outlet map. We did. And he found a sushi place. I wasn't super excited. As I expected, it was over-priced and was being made by an 18 year old caucasian kid who told someone he'd been making sushi for 4 months. I thought of our favorite sushi place in Rancho Penasquitos where we could have gotten twice as much food for the price, and much better quality. But, I was grateful to have food in my stomach.

It was a hot day, so we found a nice bench to sit on in the shade. An elderly couple walked by with ice cream cones. That looked refreshing. We found a Cold Stone on the map, but that only led us to a closed-up shop. So we headed up to a place with a sign that said they had ice cream. They didn't. Well, they did, but it was packaged ice cream. So I remembered that we had passed a sign on our walk to the sushi place advertising ice cream cones at KFC for 59 cents. You can't pay me to eat their chicken, but the huge cones of soft serve they were dishing for 59 cents couldn't be passed up.

Sometimes the best memories are the ones that take a whole day to arrive at.

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