Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Southern California 2012

SoCal 2012

Cathy had a wedding at Disneyland, so rather than just go for a day, XiaoQin and I decided to visit my brother in San Diego and Kevin as well.
From SoCal 2012
Kevin was our wedding photographer, and we wanted to meet his child, Calvin. Calvin's almost 2 years old, so it was a bit of a preview of what a toddler was like. We visited Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and walked around Playa Vista.
From SoCal 2012
We even took a ride on the Ferris Wheel! My impression of LA was the same as before: traffic jams getting from place to place, and every street looks like Stevens Creek Boulevard.

We visited Anaheim for Cathy's Wedding, but did not actually get a chance to go to Disneyland. Mickey and Minnie paid a visit to the wedding, though!
From SoCal 2012
In San Diego, my brother got us Kayak tours to the caves. The tides were perfect and we got to steer our tandem Kayak through the cave to the sounds of Sea Lions in their mating frenzy. We did dump the boat when launching though, but fortunately we were wearing wet suits so we got cold for just a little bit. San Diego water's about 70 degrees, not quite enough to need a wet suit, but since it was foggy, the wet suits helped to keep us warm.
From SoCal 2012
The next day, my brother and I biked from where we stayed to Torrey Pines. Since it was a short ride (2 hours long), we hammered to get a tough workout. Then we drove over to Mission Bay and rented a small Catamaran.
From SoCal 2012
I'd never sailed a small catamaran before, so it was an experience. Those have a reputation for flipping easily, but the reality was, the catamaran we hired had such a small sail area that we could not possibly flip it under the current conditions. My brother had spent a lot of time telling me not to expect too much because there was usually not much consistent wind in the afternoon, but with clear skies we also had a consistent strong wind, which made it a lot of fun. XiaoQin decided that small boat sailing could be fun after all.
From SoCal 2012
We then went to Torrey Pines State Preserve and hiked the Guy Fleming trail and the 3/4 Mile Beach Trail before walking back to the car and then going to a Japanese restaurant for dinner.
From SoCal 2012
For our last full day in San Diego, we went to the USS Midway. It's an aircraft carrier that was turned into a museum. Walking through the museum, I was impressed by how large everything in an aircraft carrier was (except for crew quarters, of course), but everything seemed familiar. Then I realized that a lot of the plot points in Battlestar Galactica were modeled after aircraft carrier operations, which was why everything looked so familiar --- down to the old style telephone. (For those who haven't seen the series, the Galactica was also a carrier about to be turned into a museum at the start of the series)
From SoCal 2012
We then went to Cabrillo National Monument to see the tidepools and the old lighthouse as well as to see the history of Spanish exploration in San Diego.
From SoCal 2012
I'd stupidly left the swimming trunks at home for our last day, so we went back to the sailing center and rented the smallest centerboard sailboat they had (a 14.2 Catalina). This boat carried enough sail to potentially capsize, so Xiaoqin got a good feel for the thrill and potential spills of small centerboard boat sailing.

After all that, we had a dinner at a Teochew noodle place, ate some ice cream, and got up early the next day to catch a plane home. My brother told me that we were unusually tough visitors to host because we weren't interested in Seaworld or the Zoo or Legoland, but my suspicion is that the next time we visit we'll have someone who does want to visit all those places.
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