Two hours is enough time to watch most movies, bake a cake or take a nap. It is a not a full night’s sleep, however due to studio deadlines, that was all I had the night before Perfect Michelle and I left for a San Diego girls’ trip. Luckily, it was a trip to San Diego with Perfect Michelle, so my adrenaline was the boss over my fatigue. (Note: Perfect Michelle does not like the name “Perfect Michelle,” because she does not in any way consider herself perfect. I however, do, ergo, the name stays.)
I pick up Perfect Michelle (See? That name is not going anywhere) at 5:15 am. We get to the airport, fight with our luggage (“Why won’t these friggin’ handles go all the way down?”)get through security and then breathe the sigh of relief associated with being DONE with the hassle part of flying.
Knowing we were headed to San Diego, we did what any true New Mexican would do faced with the knowledge they were leaving their state for a few days: we loaded up on green chile.
We board the plane, take our seats on a very full flight, and PM pulls out Southwest Airlines drink coupons, courtesy of her husband, Sassy Ray. Now, it’s 8am, but dammit, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Plus, we’ve been up since 4am, so really, our bodies think it’s lunchtime. We order our cocktails and watch as the flight attendant’s face shifts a bit in disapproval. “Don’t judge,” I jokingly warn her to which she responds, “Oh, I am judging,” and then walks away. PM and I look at each other and then immediately being judging her for judging us. She brings us our drinks and tries to rectify her statement by saying, “I judge everyone who drinks because I don’t. It’s not that I don’t like to have fun, it’s just I don’t drink.” Perfect Michelle and I aren’t buying it. We are pretty sure in her group she is known as the Judgy Friend that everyone invites JUST so they can have a designated driver. And really, with the introduction of Uber, she probably doesn’t get invited many places. Because JUDGY.
Midway through the flight, I start my “Gradual Descent Medication Procedure” which involves lots of pseudoephedrine, ibuprofen and nasal spray. It’s that, or scream in pain at what I’m pretty sure an aneurism feels like. PM takes it all in stride. During the gradual descent, we start sharing ghost stories. I have none of them, but Perfect Michelle has a whopper. She also shares about an acquaintance of hers who will sage a home with ghosts, telling them, “YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD TO LEAVE. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.” She said the ghosts listen. I file this info away for later use.
We land get our luggage and Lyft to the hotel where it is now 8:30 CA time. As our room isn’t ready, we leave our bags and set out to explore our surroundings, none of which are open at 8:30am on a Sunday. Except…Breakfast Republic.
Breakfast Republic is a new happening breakfast spot in San Diego. We arrive a little before 9am to find a LINE of people waiting for breakfast. We wait our turn in front of a hostess stand featuring a poster on the front of Christopher Walken over which were the words: “We don’t take reservations but we gladly accept Walkens.” PM points it out and it takes me a good minute for it to click in. I should have taken a picture of it, but I didn’t. I blame this error on 2 hours sleep and nasal spray.
We are finally shown to our seat where coffee and bloody marys are ordered, in addition to breakfast items. I get an omelette but Perfect Michelle ventures into the shrimp and grits territory and while both were good, NOTHING was as good as those bloody marys.
After breakfast, we receive a call that our hotel room is available early, so we walk back to change clothes, and head over to lovely La Jolla. Of our Lyft rides, and we had many, THIS was the ride where we thought, “Okay, this is it. This is how we die–in the back of a dirty Nissan Ultima as the driver zigs zags through traffic at a high rate of speed suffering under the delusion that he is Keanu Reeves.” It was so bad, that we weren’t even to our destination yet when I said, “You know what, this is good. You can let us out right here.” We didn’t kiss the ground when we got out, but I sort of wanted to.
We walk to the water and take in the loveliness of the area. Perfect Michelle broke a nail, so we stop to get it fixed, and then we head to our favorite pastime: cocktails and conversation. We happen by a little restaurant at the water and pop in for some liquid refreshment. If you see the cocktail menu in the photo below, it lists VODKA as a cocktail ingredient, but as we sip our drinks, we feel something is off. Perfect Michelle points out that the bottles behind the bar kind of look like wine bottles. And they all have the word SABE on them. Panic washes over us as we realize we weren’t really drinking vodka. A quick Google search revealed that SABE is Japanese sake that is…wait for it…”infused with spirits.” So…wine. We are drinking wine. Nothing gets Vodka Girls more irked than wine pretending to be vodka. Not cool, Lemon Drop. Not. Cool.
Not to be disheartened for long, we leave La Jolla and head to Old Town San Diego. By this time, we were both feeling the effects of no sleep and seek out coffee to revive us. Even Perfect Michelle, who doesn’t drink coffee, is downing it like a champ. Re-energized, we begin our Old Town stroll. We buy matching Mexican shirts with beautiful embroidery. I want to wear them to JC Penny the next day for some $9.99 portraits together, but PM isn’t feeling it. I count on Michelle to bring class to this friendship, ’cause God knows it’s not coming from me.
Now, Old Town San Diego is a lively place: restaurants, shops, graveyards. Yes, graveyards, ’cause what’s an Old Town without a graveyard? We stumble upon a small, dirt filled cemetery filled with old plots. The moment we enter, we hear a small child yell, “MOM! JESUS IS BURIED HERE!” Actually, it’s a marker with the name Jésus on it. I’m not entirely sure her parents corrected her.
Yeah, it might be morbid, but I enjoy a stroll through an old cemetery. All the lives, the stories, the design of the headstones; it’s like walking back in time. I also find the customs and traditions intriguing, like this small plot containing the very old remains of a little girl. Clearly, visitors leave the spirit of this small child small tokens in memory: a toy, candy, a stuffed animal. Or, like the token in the upper left corner, a business card. You know, in case the spirit is interested in purchasing a new home. It sort of looks less like intentionally placed things a child would love and more like an opportunity to clean out your pockets or your purse.
Dinner is next on the agenda, so we stop off at one of the lovely restaurants in Old Town. I shan’t say the name, as we weren’t really impressed. I’ve eaten there many times before, so either they were having an off night, the management changed or the spirit of that little girl was pissed about the candy and did something to our food. And our margaritas.
We Lyft back to the hotel and decide it’s time we take tequila matters into our own hands.
At this point, I have no idea what we are running on. It isn’t sleep and it wasn’t food, so it had to be been the power of good tequila.
We dress for a night of cocktails and music and head to my most favorite bar in all of San Diego: The Prohibition Lounge.
The Prohibition Lounge is a speakeasy in downtown San Diego that you will walk right by if you don’t know it’s there, and if you’ve already had some shots of tequila prior to going, you might walk by it a couple times. They don’t take reservations. You just show up at the very unassuming door that reads “Law Office, Eddie O’Hare, Esquire,” and hope the guy at the door lets you in. (He’s a doll. OF COURSE he will.) As you climb down the steps into the basement, incredible live music fills your ears and some of the best cocktails on the planet await you behind the bar. Cocktails so brave and forward-thinking that you hear the ingredients and think there is no way that is all going to go together. But it does. It SO does.
As we sip our inventive cocktails that shouldn’t work but SO do, we listen to the rockabilly swing sound of
And then, we are up off our seats…dancing the dance of pine tree, pepper oil and tequila.
And here endeth Day One.
(Day 2 coming soon: “Accidentally Flashing Little Italy.”