April 21, 2012

San Diego Dreaming: Part 2

Besides the conference, the other two big components of my trip to southern California involved day excursions to La Jolla and Coronado. The above photos were taken in La Jolla. On my birthday, we rented a car and drove north to visit the beaches and check out the seals who bask and effectively squat the "Children's Pool."

You can see many of them (along with more photos and travel overview) below the cut:

Before we headed north for the day, we stopped by a taco truck called Mariscos Alex. We had the most amazing fish tacos I've ever eaten! And we ate them on the trunk of our rental car.

In Torrey Pines, we walked the beach and admired the dangerous cliffs.

While in La Jolla, I was pretty overwhelmed by the beauty and perhaps more so, the wealth that emanated from the area via ubiquitous luxury cars, large and beautiful homes, upscale boutiques, and carb-minimal restaurant menus.

We had a delicious impromptu dinner in the bar at Whisk and Ladle (another fabulous suggestion from reader, Megan!). Everything we ate was so flavorful! Although I did notice that nothing we ordered included a typical restaurant portion of simple carbs. This was not by choice so much as by circumstance. There were pastas on the menu but I must assume that their very attractive and fit clientèle avoids carbs otherwise. I had the stuffed chicken and I think Chris had steak. We also ordered a bunch of the cheap small plates only available in the bar.

While in La Jolla, I felt pangs of class-consciousness the way I often do whenever I enter socio-economic enclaves that strike me as overtly privileged. I am sure plenty of people who live there are not rich and there must be plenty of college kids who attend the University of California San Diego in the area. But I was definitely feeling like a plebe. Not to spark class war, as I am already very much aware of my own (albeit somewhat relative) privileges, but (and to quote Wayne's World) "it costs a lot to live this free."

Strolling along the oceanside park and walking the beaches in Torrey Pines was a wonderful experience. I wondered what it must be like to live in such an idyllic, sunny, and naturally stunning place. I said to Chris that if we were ever fortunate enough to live there, I'd be both more blond and more tan than my Pittsburgh self.

On the evening after I shopped the Fashion Valley Mall with the lovely Carol of In Pursuit of Pretty Things (sadly, no photos captured our time together), Chris and I took a ferry boat to Coronado.

We walked from the ferry station to the Hotel Del Coronado where Some Like it Hot was filmed. It was stunning with expansive grounds, beautiful event spaces, and elaborate woodwork. I felt like a gatecrasher roaming the property so I didn't take any photos of the interior but I did enjoy the beach, where we watched the sunset.

We also enjoyed the surrounding businesses. We went to Swaddee Thai Restaurant to have another great meal. Then we had gelato next door. I had such a nice time on this trip and will remember it fondly.

I did underpack and found myself vacation shopping. I bought some Sperry Topsiders, the above pictured Bailey 44 striped top (similar to the column dresses from Anthro), the above pictured maxi skirt, and a pair of sandals, all from Nordstrom Rack. I wish we had a Nordstrom Rack in Pittsburgh!

Thank you for reading. I admit I mostly write these for my own archival purposes so I appreciate the forum for such indulgence.


rachel (promiseslikepiecrust) said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I visited San Diego for the first time three years ago and loved it. My best friend and I decided we wanted to live in one of the adorable little houses near Coronado. I didn't go into the hotel, but I enjoyed the beach and got sunburned there (because I idiotically thought that I couldn't possibly burn in October). I also felt like a complete fraud in La Jolla/Laguna Beach, I was sure that someone was going to find me and ask me to leave. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of my time there, and that I need to go back sometime soon!

Terri said...

The photos of the barefeet on the beach are pretty wonderful. One of the values of traveling is sniffing out how the other half lives. I know in the Caribbean I was always acutely aware of the glimpses of poverty I saw...

carol_prettythings said...

I also am SO sad that we didn't get a photo together - what were we thinking??? I guess this means we're just going to have to find a way to get together in the same place again, and take that picture.

It looks like you had a wonderful time while visiting here. I often wonder, myself, how I ended up living in a place like this. You're right when you guess that not all of San Diego is affluent - it's a constant and common complaint in local concerns and politics regarding how "pretty" the more tourist-friendly areas are, at the expense of the non-touristy portions of the city. La Jolla is, of course, the most expensive place to live in California (in terms of real estate cost) - I think it may actually rank in the top 2 cities in the country - so yes. The wealth there is...very evident.

I'm glad you were able to find yourself some nice things. Yay for Sperry Topsiders! :D

Come visit again! You're always welcome to crash at my house, if you'd like.

thatdamngreendress said...

ah, I always love a vacation recap! It's like a little touch of getting there myself!

Love the bailey 44 top with the maxi skirt- I love those pieces we pick up while traveling, as non-touristy reminders of the experience! I'm in that pre-trip phase where I want to buy things FOR the trip, which is stupid because I should be saving my money for fun things while I'm there! I won't care whether I have THAT shirt or print, in the moment! (maybe...)

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

I KNOW! Chris asked when I got back and he was so surprised that we didn't even get a crude iphone pic. haha!

Anyway, I definitely did see economic disparity within the downtown area as well as in many parts of the city but I was speaking more about the concentration of wealth within La Jolla. I had no idea it was the most expensive place to live in California! That makes a lot of sense because it is extremely beautiful and it did seem quite affluent.

I also remember specifically how hard Southern California was hit by the foreclosure crisis so I do realize that all types of families and people in all sorts of socio economic circumstances live in such a sunny place. I hope I didn't give the impression that my assessment about wealth concentration was regarding San Diego, writ large. Although it is a very polished and beautiful place, warm cities are also especially hospitable places for homeless and transient populations. And I noticed plenty of people that living in visible struggle, too.

Your offer is so generous and I hope to come back someday! You also have a place to stay if you find yourself in Pittsburgh. And you are free to borrow any of the umbrellas in my umbrella collection (which you need if you come here...haha).

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Chris and I also got sunburned which seemed unlikely in March but we weren't used to that volume of sun!

haha I am glad I am not the only person who feels like a fraud and worries they'll be kicked out of extremely affluent enclaves like La Jolla.

thanks for reading!

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

So true. As noteworthy and remarkable as displays of overwhelming affluence are to me when I'm traveling, I am also as struck by poverty. One thing that was interesting was that within the downtown area of San Diego, there was a very visible population of people who were homeless or otherwise transient. That completely disappeared in La Jolla.

Previous trips to the Caribbean and Brazil also offered visual exercises in economic extremes. Such experiences deepen and complicate travel in ways I find to be really important. Because if I am visiting to a place for such privileged purposes as vacationing, then witnessing extremes serves an important reminder to be grateful but also to remain vigilant in the fight for social justice.

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Thank you! I am glad I am not the only person who enjoys reading about travels. I cannot wait to read your posts about Iceland!!


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