I attended a conference in San Diego this past week. Because I went to college there, I always view San Diego as my second home. It is also one of the two places I'd like to retire in (the other city is Paris...only if I hit the lottery!).
Instead of driving, we decided to get there by train from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. This brought back lots of memories. I didn't have a car in college so I rode the train home during breaks and when I came up to LA to visit my then boyfriend. I haven't ridden this line in 15 years. Here's a look at the beautiful ceiling inside Union Station.
While we were waiting to board, this guy came up to us and said he sings like Johnny Cash. He performed couple of songs for us. One of my colleagues said he sounded just like Johnny Cash.
After the train passes San Juan Capistrano, it runs right on the beach (my favorite stretch of the ride). Here are my colleagues and I. It was their first time riding the train down to San Diego.
Finally, we reached downtown San Diego's Santa Fe Station.
It had been raining off and on during the train ride, but luckily, the weather cleared up for the next two days. The weather was gorgeous. It was crystal blue sky with light ocean breeze. This is the weather I always remembered while going to school. In between work, I spent time hanging out on the balcony of the Manchester Grand Hyatt soaking in the sun. I talked to many visitors and everyone told me how much they were enjoying the weather and that they'd love to move to San Diego. Here's looking at the Coronado Bridge from Hyatt.
The second night, we had dinner atop the USS Midway's flight deck. It was a lovely setting looking at cool airplanes with downtown San Diego skyline as the backdrop.
Sunset in San Diego.
Coronado Bridge at night.
The USS Midway is now a museum. The dinner event included tours of the ship. I went on the tour that took us down the deck. It was very informative and interesting learning how 4,200 sailors all lived on this one ship.
The Bomb Elevator.
Eating place. They only gave the sailors 12 minutes to eat their meal so they can rotate all 4,200 of them inside this tiny little space. Crazy!
All the spaces were really small and narrow. If you're taller than 6' you'd pretty much have to duck your head all the time while walking around.
The sick bay only had 18 beds serving all 4,200 on board!
Funny sign at the machine shop.
Some of the tools they produced at the machine shop. Pretty neat, huh?
The carrier uses sound activated phones that do not require electricity. They work just like 2 tin cans connected by a string. They still work to this day.
The event also included getting in a flight simulator. I didn't go because I didn't want to mess up my stomach after dinner, but they looked so fun.
This bad boy was my favorite on the ship. It's the TBM Avenger...a torpedo bomber.
He's so handsome!
Inside the bomb bay.
The next day, I had the privilege of listening to Retired General Stanley McChrystal as the keynote speaker. He gave a terrific talk on leadership from his dealings with Afghanistan. He was funny, charming, and humble. As soon as he opened his mouth, there's no mistake that he is someone in command.
After the conference ended, we and a few clients went to McCormick & Schmick at the Omni Hotel for dinner. We ordered bottles of this 2008 Ponzi Pinot Noir. I don't drink much red wine, but this was excellent.
Our server recommended their scallops, and they did not disappoint!
Although I did not have much free time on this trip, I was glad that I got to enjoy the fine weather San Diego has to offer...just as I remembered from my college days. I also got to explore the Midway, which I never had a chance to visit while I lived in San Diego. I learned quite a few things about living at sea as a Navy. I hope I'll get to enjoy San Diego some more later this year as I return for another conference.
Until my next adventure...
View the complete photo album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157626217578213/