Date: Mar 13, 2009 9:32 AM
The approach to San Diego was well planned out. Referring to our national Wal-Mart location map we zeroed in on El Cajon, CA, as our urban campsite for the weekend. We wanted to approach San Diego on a Sunday morning. The Wal-Mart wasn't a supercenter but our two day stay went unnoticed by any authorities. We took in a movie: Slum Dog Millionaire - great.
We headed out bright and early Sunday morning only to find out we weren't more than 15 minutes from Holly Wilson's home, our destination. We had imagined we were much further out, we could have practically walked there.
After six years we saw Holly again, an old friend of Joe's from Albuquerque. They used to do poetry together in that town long before I came on the scene, probably thirty years ago. I know Holly as a poet, dancer, UNM doctoral student, and master gardener, but today she is Dr. Holly Wilson, a professor who specializes in teaching other educators how to teach English as a second language and a few other titles I can't remember.
She's been gone from Albuquerque for ten years and she and Joe had a good time reminiscing. We ran an electric cord out of her garage into the van and set up our urban campsite. This is beyond our wildest expectations. We imagined ourselves slinking into San Diego Pier, putting a toe in the Pacific, and running back east. But thanks to Holly we had a full week to enjoy the beauty of San Diego. What a town.
Great bus service, an abundance of palm trees, a fabulous grocery store named Pancho Villa's. I bought red bell peppers for sixty cents, mangoes three for a dollar, and oh so delicious. Why is the food so much cheaper here, and better? Is it because it's a port city? So close to the border? Las Cruces and El Paso are close to the border but they haven't got anything like this.
And there is nothing wrong with palm trees. I love them, crave them, I don't care if I never see Tennessee again. I want palm trees in my life. This area is so beautiful, so lush with plants and vegetation, and the ocean breezes from the bay are enchanting somehow. The land rushes down to the sea cascading and falling all over itself in its abundance.
I do call it menopausal weather because it blows so hot and cold. The sun is hot, radioactive feeling, and the breeze is cold, you don't want it blowing up your back cold. You have to dress for all seasons every day as Holly explained.
We rode the bus to Presidio Park one day, hiked all over the Gas Lamp District the next day, averaging about five miles a day on foot. From Holly's we could walk a few blocks over to University Ave., hang a right and walk to the North Park District. I liked all the little hand-lettered signs on all the small beauty salons, neighborhood markets, and tire stores. The bus ride down University passed along one little neighborhood after another, each one independent of the other and a small city unto itself.
The bustling sidewalks were jammed with cafes, gyms, thrift stores, bakeries, barber shops, hardware stores, carpet stores, neighborhood libraries and all the facilities that keep life humming along and all so conveniently located. I revamped my van while I was there getting new flooring, lights, all the little particulars I have been needing to give the van a little more spruced up look.