Both of us passing a somewhat fitful night (hello Jet Lag, my old friend), we answered the morning bell with less enthusiasm than a grim determination to ignore the confused and wooly-headed states of our consciousnesses and sally forth to enjoy the California sun.
After a brief pit stop at the local Wal-Mart to acquire the necessary provisions of bottled water and snacks, we bumped across the city in our little red beetle to redeem our vouchers for free admission to the World-Famous San Diego Zoo. On the way, we stopped briefly for some photo ops down by the waterfront:
Not long after we’d entered the zoo, we were joined by the provider of the vouchers: Alissa’s friend *Mitch and his girlfriend *Maggie. The four of us wandered amongst the exhibits, trying to avoid being caught up in clusters of jostling youths obviously exhilarated to be at the zoo for field trips. Sights such as a monkey’s butt would send these throngs of miniature enthusiasts into whoops and shrieks of frenzied enjoyment.
Around noon, our little party of four broke up for the day, with Mitch and Maggie returning to their regularly-scheduled lives, and Alissa and I returning to our sightseeing. A quick drive across an impressive bridge took us to Coronado Island (really a peninsula), where Alissa had her first toe-dip into the Pacific Ocean.
After a brief jaunt around the island to grab a bite of lunch and ogle the fantastic waterfront homes, we showed our appreciation for the beauty of the day in the best way we knew how:
A quick nap back at the hotel gave us the fortitude needed to venture forth for an evening round of adventure. I must say that though our evening fell slightly short of our initial expectations, it turned out to be both relaxing and enjoyable. Our original intention had been to visit a quaint little Thai restaurant on Pacific Beach and soak up some of the local atmosphere; however, a lack of parking dimmed the glow of enthusiasm for this particular plan, and instead we soaked up the local color at a nearly-deserted IHOP. Instead of bemoaning our fate, we slurped up some high-carb comfort food while enjoying the spectacle of a table full of typically California-style surfers flipping their hair out of their eyes as they gulped down their dinner and gossiped like girls.
A short drive back to the hotel did not end our adventures, though. From the beginning of our stay in our Travelodge, the disadvantages of that hotel had been pressing themselves upon us: the sign warning of dangerous chemicals, the spiders in the bathroom, the musky aroma of the carpets... but by far the most worrisome problem had been that our plastic room card keys seemed only to work intermittently. Arriving back from our dinner, we found that our key would not work at all. Tripping lightly down to the reception area to request assistance, we found a fantastic spectacle: a true Western Man. Behind the counter of the reception desk sat a slick young man in his early twenties sporting a buttoned black vest over a dress shirt, a fancy belt buckle, and (best of all) a gloriously lush handlebar moustache. Although nearly overcome with glee, I kept my countenance and communicated our dilemma. This was not a case easily solved, however, even for someone with such an intelligent-looking moustache. This required two trips to the front desk, key changes, and eventually his presence at our doorstep. Eventually, though, the Case of the Cantankerous Key was solved, and he walked down the steps from our door and was enveloped in the cool dark of the night, never to be seen again (so far).