Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Seaport Village

The Best Place To Eat?

seaportThat was the question. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world txted Schemennis and he recommended Seaport Village, a totally redone (by the Disney people) collection of shops, parks, and restaurants.

So we waited for the next tour bus to arrive, barely squeezed on and headed off to Seaport Village. The sun was still out, the weather glorious but it seemed like all of San Diego had decided to drive out to Seaport Village. The roads were stuffed like an overstuffed pastry. At least that’s what I thought at the moment. Yes, we were all starving.

We drove by the Cheesecake Factory, (but not THE Cheesecake Factory where Big Bang Penny works), and declared THAT was where we would eat. However, when the bus dropped us off to load about a billion people back on to it, we realized the CCF was a bit of a walk. So, with a few more recommendations, we marched into the village.

Only to have a ‘squirrel’ moment.

IMG_3736 (800x600) (2)Like the dog from the movie, ‘Up’, the moment we saw a big crowd watching a girl play with fire, well, we had to stop. We just HAD to stop. And not only was she playing with fire, but was juggling flaming torches while balancing on supports balancing on a chairs!

While the youngest found a seat on the grass and watched with wide eyes and an open mouth, the rest of us maneuvered so that we could see and not block anyone from seeing. Yes, we are Canadian and we think of those things.

The performer was pretty entertaining, but I watched the crowd as much as her. Little kids, despite being able to play super-duper-Mario-Spaz-brothers-deluxe in HD-3D still found live entertainment compelling. They laughed nervously, worry on their little faces,  when she got a little girl in the audiance to throw knives at her. They cheered IMG_3739 (600x800) (2)when she caught them. They gasped when she dropped one and looked to their parents to see how they should react.

It reminded me how important it is to get the boys out and into the world. Watching Sponge Bob or Adventure Time may be amusing, but there are other things out there, other experiences that don’t have to involve rollercoasters or 942’ long aircraft carriers.

After it was over, the youngest told us he could do that.

The oldest, by now on the verge of starving to death, was keen to make sure she was paid for her troubles. He and his brother made their way through the crowds to deposit money in her hat. It was a point of pride for him and it led to a very cool discussion about business while we walked to find food.

IMG_3909 (600x800) (2)The youngest wanted to start a business where people paid him not the be loud or jump on the furniture or hit them. I thought it was a pretty viable option.

But the oldest’s ideas stunned me. He knew about marketing, about target audiences, about product quality and price points. He talked specifically about the pedi-cab drivers. You have to look presentable, he said, and look like you’re having fun, like you’re enjoying it. Maybe offer not to charge a family for children. Maybe have some water. And know where people would be and where they’d be tired and if it was a hot day, he could probably charge more, and have some sort of shade and …

Good lord, it was amazing. He said he’d get enough money to buy a second cab, then a third, then a hotel (ok, that was a bit of a leap, but still, you have to admire the ambition) and then he would get two hotels and retire to some place warm when mom wouldn’t have to work and where he and his brother could play video games all day long.

There’s some deep thinking going on in that boy’s head and it was so cool to see it leak out a bit.

But we eventually found food, a burger place recommended by Schmennis. All the seats in the little square were full so we had to ask if we could share. IMG_3746 (600x800) (2)Awkward to do for shy Canadians, but I found a couple just leaving and we plopped our bottoms down. Ohhh, so nice.

We ate amazing burgers and fries, the youngest trying to drink two drinks at once, the oldest keeping an eye out for fry-stealing birds and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world glad to be sitting down so her feet could rest.

But the day was far from over.


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.

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