For our first full day in the city center of San Diego we chose to go to the Midway Museum – the museum made out of the world's largest aircraft carrier parked on the waterfront where it was decommissioned in 1992. "Live the adventure. Honor the legend." is the museum slogan – we did our best. I put on my watermelon dress for the occasion and Jodi wore her pearls.
At the end of the day, as much as the volunteer veterans who work on the ship museum are very sweet, the museum is a giant homage to our military industrial complex. It is also huge. 2.5 hours in, even after enjoying the flight simulator ride, I was losing my mind and the smell of diesel/human germs on metal was almost too much. But here are some of the highlights.
I tried to take artistic shots of the flight deck but it is just so huge and filled with tourists (like me) that it is impossible to get an interesting angle. Here are some attempts as I was standing in the middle of the deck, like a big red watermelon beacon for my friends to find me so we could regroup and decide what to do next.
As the boys waited for a guided tour of the tower, Jodi and I volunteered to go ahead and get us a table for lunch at the Fish Market. The volunteer had said it was a 10 minute wait for the tour, and we had already been standing in line 15 minutes – I had enough history so lunch seemed like a better mission.
Turns out the Fish Market has an upstairs establishment called Top of the Market. I saw the stairs, and felt the call of an adult dining experience with a phenomenal view and suggested we go up there instead of into the throngs of fried fish & chips, strollers and highchairs in the downstairs casual atmosphere. Upstairs was quiet with white tablecloths – exactly what I was looking for – Jodi asked for a table for 5 indoors, by the window with a view. And we got exactly what we asked for – very adult dining with a phenomenal view. Then we ordered caviar. Well, actually, Jodi ordered caviar and I said "Yay!! I help eat that!"
It took Jeremy and Dan over an hour to join us, when they arrived they came with a story of a 30 minute line and volunteer tour leader who did not know how to use a microphone. We ate our caviar and seafood tower with abandon – the caviar was like butter and joy in a jar – and the little mother of pearl spoons we got to eat it with were quite amazing. We asked if we take them home as a souvenir, but were promptly told "no." We blew our cover – they could tell we were tourists now.
After lunch it was time to explore the joys of San Diego's public transportation system.
We saw very high people, and drug deals where drugs were concealed in shampoo bottles, normal people going to work and back, we found ourselves on a train where we were the only ones speaking English, and on another where people were in full winter jackets when it was 75 degrees outside. We also made a quick stop in Old Town to visit one museum – the McCoy House where we quickly learned all about how the Catholics messed with the Mexicans and the Native Americans of the region.
More to come on this story after we go to the San Diego Museum in Balboa Park tomorrow and I read all of the exhibits I took pictures of during our brief historical interlude at McCoy House between seafood. After history and public transportation experimentation it was time for our traditional vacation oyster happy hour seafood extravaganza. This vacation we went to an establishment called Ironside Fish & Oysters – it was very Navy themed and had a phiranha skull wall.
For Oyster happy hour we ordered a lot of things besides oysters. There were oysters, and rock fish ceviche and french fries and french fries covered in chowder (which was a lot like a seashore style of poutine, but since we are so far from Canada I don't think you can technically have poutine here). And as we were sitting there ingesting copious amounts of $1 oysters from my favorite oyster state of Washington, the other Jeremy said "Hey! I think I just saw a guy carry a trash bin of uni to the back of teh restaurant." So we asked our very helpful waitress about the sea urchin we saw go by. She so kindly replied "Oh yes, that was our diver. He just brought in a very large bucket of uni from his dive today." To which I said " Can we have two?" And she said yes – which is how we got the freshest uni of our lives on our table five minutes later.
It was a good day in San Diego tasting all the forms of joyful sea butter possible. If you ever get the chance to eat fresh out of the sea uni take it. Nothing beats it, and never will I be able to order uni again unless I see the diver walk through the restaurant with a bucket of it, because nothing can be that fresh.