Thursday, March 18, 2010

san diego and ensenada trip

I did a massive Flickr upload a few days ago of photos from our trip. I probably went overboard (there are a hundred photos), but I think they might tell the story better than I can, so if you have the time, please have a look!

San Diego was nice. We went as a group with other students and the supervisor from Jon's lab, for an aquaculture conference. It was nice to spend time (in another new place) with Jon, and for us to spend time with the others when they weren't at the conference. For the times they were, there was plenty for me to go out and see on my own.

We spent an afternoon in Old Town, the site of the first Spanish settlement in California. There were some nice shops and places to eat. After some time looking around, we found a place to sit down for happy hour drinks and tacos. This place had a large selection of chilli sauces, and after trying a couple on our tacos, Jon and a friend decided they'd do a 'hot sauce tasting'. There were a couple of habanero based sauces that really burned, but for the most part, they were pretty mild.

On our way back from Old Town, we ran into some friends organising a trip
to the other side of the city for tacos. We decided to join them. It took three different trams, and a while to get to (even longer on the way back), but the food was definitely worth the trip. And the smile/look of surprise on the lady's face as we
(a group of around 12-15) arrived was pretty funny! I was not very adventurous
with my choices from their menu, but Jon tried the lengua (tongue) and buche (esophagus), and thought they were great.

(My pastor (pork) and carnitas (slow-cooked, shredded meat) tacos)

On a day Jon was at the conference, I took the trams (they call them trolleys) into downtown San Diego. I walked around Horton Plaza and the Gaslamp Quarter, found a little Thai restaurant for a big lunch, and walked down to Seaport Village. Nice.

We had heard the San Diego zoo was a good one, so we were keen to visit. We made it there on Friday, our last day in town, and saw lots of animals. Lions and tigers and ... gorillas (no bears). And some nice-looking free range peacocks.

We were picked up and driven down to Ensenada Friday night. It was actually a pretty hairy van ride. I'm not sure if the driver thought we were in a race? He was going VERY fast, and not slowing down for the bends in the windy road. But don't worry parents – we are all OK!

Once we arrived, our hosts prepared us dinner. Tacos and quesadilla with BBQed beef, salsa and guacamole. After dinner, we walked to a nearby bar. They had a live band, and the grossest toilets ever. Dirty, kicked in doors and no running water! That's right folks – no flushing and no hand-washing. Eewww. Anyway, Jon and I called it a night after a couple of drinks, but a few others kept going.

In the morning we were brought sweet Mexican breads (like brioche rolls with
a sweet, crumbly topping) for breakfast. We were picked up and driven to the university/research centre for presentations, a tour and lunch. In the afternoon
we went into town for coffee and a short look at some of the local shops.

(View from the research centre)

We went out to a taco place for dinner. We could pick from beef, chicken, fish or pork, and could add chopped onion, coriander, cabbage, sauces, salsas and fresh lime. Delicious. Afterwards, we met up with some more people for drinks at one of the oldest cantinas in the area, Hussong's. It was a pretty cool place. The old timber floor was littered with peanut shells, and walls were packed with framed pictures. Groups of musicians would move around playing songs for people who were dancing and singing along. A few of us moved on to different bars. Jon and I ended up (with a few others) at a place with people lining up to sing karaoke – badly!
It was a pretty fun night though.

The next morning we had a 6am start for the van ride back to the San Diego airport. We had a different driver this time, luckily. It took us all day to get back to BR.
So when we finally got back to our apartment at 9pm, we were exhausted, got take away for dinner and hit the hay.

The end!
Of this mini adventure.
Of fun in San Diego and a taste of Mexico.
Next adventure in nine sleeps when Jon's parents and sister arrive!

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