The really good times were to be had on my trip! Which was awesome! And filled with all things girl-y and sister-y. Considering that I had to be at the airport so early - we left the house at 6:30 a.m.! Blech! - the flight was really quite pleasant. Since cheapo US Airways charges for bags, everyone on the plane was trying to cram their weekend into a carry-on. The up side of being in the fourth/last boarding group? They gate checked my bag all the way to San Diego, so I didn't have to lug it around my layover! Oh, and my Kindle? To DIE for on the plane. Man, I love that thing. Best. present. ever.
I arrived in sunny California starving (again, cheap airline = no peanuts), so Sister K and I decided to go find some
Our next adventure was to go see Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair. Sister K is an Oprah addict, so she was interested from what she saw there. I worked for a long time in an all African-American elementary school, so I knew more about black hair than Sister K, but the movie was still eye-opening. I guess it must have been a good movie because we kept talking about it for my whole visit. We were disappointed that there wasn't a stop-action-animation of someone getting a weave so we could see what all went into that.
After the movie, we finally went back to Sister K's house. She had just completed a remodel that was supposed to be finished in time for my visit last year. The anticipation was killing me! Oh, my. It is GORGEOUS! It looks like something out of a magazine. Just wow. The really amazing part is just how different it is from its previous incarnation. Every surface had changed: walls, floors, counters, cabinets. The transformations was nothing short of amazing. Maybe someday I will have a house that is all grown up, too!
That night Mr. B cooked dinner for us out on the (new) built-in barbecue. Sister K and I enjoyed sitting by the fire pit and getting waited on!
No trip to San Diego would be complete without a trip to the zoo. This year, we went to the Wild Animal Park. I just can't get enough of that place! Our big adventure this year was the zip-line tour. Called the Flightline, it is supposed to mimic the flight of a California Condor. So. very. cool. I wish we had gotten some pictures of us in the harnesses - they were quite the contraptions. We got up to speeds of 60 mph as we flew across the savanna; picture cheeks flapping like you see in cartoons. We were both really glad we were wearing sun glasses! We also had a great time with the lorikeets. We purchased nectar and they ate right out of our hands! It was kind of like the pigeons in St. Peter's square, but not so overwhelming or flying-rat-y. Check the little-old-Asian-lady visor. I am one good looking woman.
Saturday was a relaxed girlie day. We went to brunch. We did a little shopping. We saw a movie. (Two in one weekend! Will the wonders never cease?) We went to see Julie and Julia. We thought we were going to be the only ones in the theater, but it got a respectable crowd. I enjoyed it, but was disappointed to find out that Julie divorced her husband in real life. Humph. That night we went to dinner at my fave Italian restaurant, Cafe Luna. As ever, it was delicious!
On Sunday we went to brunch (along with the entire population of San Diego) at the Hash House a Go Go. With a name like that, how could it help but be good? The restaurant is right in the middle of the arts district, so the people watching was primo. And the food? Holy moly, I might need a moment alone before I can even describe it. First off, it comes on plates big enough to sleep on. Sister K and I split two items and left as much food as we ate: banana cream dipped french toast; farm scramble with bacon and avocado; a biscuit the size of your head with homemade jam; bananas foster frozen latte. Heavenly.
Adventure-wise, Sunday afternoon was the highlight of the trip. We went on a guided Segway tour of the Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego. When we got there, we had to watch a safety video and sign the I-won't-sue-you-if-I'm-a-dumbass-and-fall-off waiver. The video was a RIOT. It was narrated by the Seguay inventor dude in a super thick Boston accident. He said things like, "If your Segway does blah, blah, step off and calm the hell down." and "If you do blah, blah you could get hurt wicked bad." We laughed the whole way through it.
Next we had a quick lesson on how to use a real Segway. They are amazing machines, but not quite as step-on-and-away-we-go as you might think. You do most of the controlling with your feet. About ten minutes in, I had what felt like shin splints on the soles of my feet. I was thinking, "Two hours of this? Oh, noes!" But after I stepped off and calmed the hell down (read: relaxed), all was well. We rode around downtown and got a bit of history/local color from our superlative guide, Ike. He was totally cool and super interesting in his own right (he'd lived a bunch of places and done a bunch of cool jobs), as well as being a fun guide. We buzzed down to the harbor then up the hill to Balboa Park. Too fun!
The piece de resistance of the visit was the trip to the spa. Each year we try a different spa. This year it was The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn. Love! We started out with facials. Lots of calming rose products. Ironically, my favorite part of this facial was the hand massage. Mmmm. Then, we had lunch movie star-style in a cabana by the pool. Ahi tuna sandwich with sweet potato fries? OMG. Best sandwich ever.
Next, we had 80-minute(!) massages. Sister K had the hot stone massage and I had an outdoor relaxation massage. I was in a private outdoor room, surrounded by trees and the sound of running water. It was, bar none, the best massage I have ever had. I was so relaxed that I think I dissolved into the table. I may or may not have passed out for the last 20 minutes of it. I love it when all the knots in my shoulders are gone!
We finished off our day sitting in the outdoor waterfall whirlpool. The water is saline instead of chlorinated, so it isn't bad for your hair and didn't leave you smelling like Clorox. Such a great day. All of that relaxing must have been hard work, because we could barely keep our eyes open through Dancing with the Stars. We were in bed, sound asleep by 9:00! Which was a good thing, as I had a 7:30 plane to catch the next morning.
And just like that (snap) my visit to California was over. No matter how long I stay, it isn't long enough. Thanks, Sister K, for my wonderful birthday visit. You are the best! I love you! I am counting the days until next year!