Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Last Morning

Sunday – Am

It’s the last day and I’m up and out a 7:30 to get the writing caught up. I couldn’t escape without the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world knowing. Mommy hearing strikes again.

We have a plan for the last day. Our flight does not leave until 7, so we have a few last opportunities for adventure.

Rain’s falling outside. It’s a bit on the chilly side. I’m writing at my spot, the Doubletree Hotel lobby. Right by the coffee. Mmmmm cofeee.

This time I’ve got better hair. This time there isn’t a choir practicing. Or the staff gathering. Knots of regular teenagers are busy grabbing coffees and looking all GTA surly.

gangstersThere’s a fashion choice down here you don’t see where we live. Sunglasses. Long white shirt (t-shirt, wife beater, whatever), beige shorts, very long, white socks pulled nearly up to the knees. Sandals. Bandana optional.

It’s a barrio look, but this group is NOT latino. The group is… actually, I have no idea. Southeast Asian for sure. Wide faces, broad noses, black hair, dark eyes. Thai or Vietnamese or Chinese? Malaysian, maybe?

gangstaI have no idea, but a good number of kids are milling around and trying to look menacing. Especially the girls. They have different clothes from the boys (duh), but holy heck, do they look mean. They glare at each other, arms crossed, frowns on their foreheads. Most have tattoos. Even the boys seem to avoid the larger groups of girls. Hell, I would, too.

A knot of boys walk by me with a side-to-side swagger, sunglasses hanging from their ears around their chins. At least their pants are pulled up. They’re not threatening or nasty in any way, it’s just their look. I’m sure they take their vitamins and call their grandmothers on the weekend, but let me tell you, all of them had mastered the don’t-f*-with-me posture.

Finally they file out, and I’m alone, and it’s quiet again.

Quiet’s not something I’ve had a lot of on this trip. Maybe not for a long time now. I understand now why the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world hides in the bathroom sometimes. It’s quiet there. I understand why those times when we are alone, in bed together, the boys asleep, the house silent, I understand why they are magical.

However, I don’t want to take away from the very thing I want to write about. It’s a tough balance when traveling. The need to record the experiences vs, well, the experiences.

I want to be there, to be present, and to help make the vacation something special. If I’m just on my laptop the whole time, sure my writing gets caught up, but my relationship would suffer, my connection to the boys and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world would less.

And that connection, that relationship matters to me a lot.

So it’s back upstairs I go.

And hope that we haven’t tried to go a bridge too far with the boys today.

 

 

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Maritime Musem

Maritime Madness

Would today be the best day, yet, or the worst?

Ok, let’s be honest here. It could go either way. Why? Cuz of me.

midway carrierSee, Legoland was for the boys. Meeting the mysterious Schmennis was for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world. Today, well, today we were going to do something for me – We were going to see the aircraft carrier Midway. There would be planes, (some of which I’d built as models in my youth), a chance to see what it was like below the hanger decks and maybe we’d even have the opportunity to listen to some old Vets tell war stories. OMG, nerdgasm!

At least for me.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world was, at best, mildly enthusiastic about seeing a whole big hunk of metal parked on a pier. The boys, (despite me jumping up and down and saying “PLANES!!!!” about three dozen times), looked like they would rather be back at the hotel swimming in the pool.

Oh oh.

IMG_0543 (800x600)So we drove to the old town trolley company in, yes, the old town. It was a hop-on-hop-off type of thing. I would have loved to wander around the old town, but by the time we got  going, it was a bit late so that simply wasn’t wasn’t doable. However, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world did get a chance to look at a few shops while the boys sat on a bench and rolled their eyes. They weren’t even excited about the skulls in the nearby shop, or the real swords or the spooky masks hanging from the walls.

It could be that they were suffering from over-touristing.

But we got on the bus, got a pretty good seat and roared off. There were a lot of sites to see on this tour, not only the Midway, but Seaport Village, the historic Gaslamp Quarter, with its Victorian-themed buildings, the Hotel del Coronado, Balboa Park, and the zoo. Now, we’d seen the zoo and Coronado, (and we thought we’d do one last tour of Balboa Park tomorrow), but that was still a lot to see and do.

Worse, it was the weekend. So it was crazy busy everywhere and that would make quick hit and run visits very hard.

IMG_0544 (800x600) (2)At our first real stop, we got out. The Midway was down the wharf a-ways, but there was a neat collection of ships that we could look at, all part of the outdoor maritime museum. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world loved seeing the HMS Surprise upon which decks Johnny Depp had walked. I, of course, spouted all sorts of cool ship facts (this without actually knowing the facts.)

Me: “Oh, hey, this is an exact replica of a sixth rate frigate, originally made by the French, but captured by the English.”

The oldest: “Is it all made out of wood?”

The youngest: “Can we climb up to the top?’

pirates of carThe Prettiest-girl-in-the-world: “Did Johnny touch that railing?”

Me: “Apparently this replica of the ‘Rose’ is unmatched in its authenticity and attention to detail.”

The oldest: “Is this your favourite ship?”

The youngest: “Why can’t I climb to the top?”

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world: “If Johnny had to choose between me and that skank Kira Knightly, who do you think he’d chose?”

It was then that I realized that we would all be seeing and experiencing things differently.

IMG_0545 (800x600) (2)We looked at the old soviet era sub, at a clipper named the Star of India and at a stealth navy ship far off in the distance (which I’m still not sure I should have taken a picture of.)

Everyone, oddly enough, seemed to be having a good time, even if it wasn’t all about the interesting facts and stuff. And that was kinda cool.

But would that apply to the mighty Midway?

*****

And hey, thanks to everyone who’s reading this.

If you have a story about traveling with kids you’d like to share, please send it my way, or if you get a chance, like me on FB, or if or if you just want to bug someone, send an invite for them to like me.

I am likable most of the time.