Sunday, October 24, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode III

Comic Con banners in
 downtown San Diego.

With the bags unpacked we ventured out from our hotel. We took a stroll down to the Gaslamp district for some shopping, supper, and to pick up some groceries. While leaving the hotel we could see Comic Con 2010 banners hung from the streetlights. These were set up throughout the city, increasing my excitement a hundred fold; the banners promoted the upcoming Tron movie. Not only were there banners, but there were also signs in almost every storefront window. These signs said that the merchants were supporting the convention. It really brought the entire city together. Previously when we had picked up our room keys, the person at the front desk asked us if we were going to dress up. We said no, but it turned out that the staff dressed up every year for the event! In addition, during the morning hours when I waited for Michelle to get ready I would watch the local news. Everyday the news would discuss what to expect for Comic Con. They would talk about how many people were flowing into the city for the event and gloss over various events happening throughout the city in support of it. It was amazing and reminded me of the influence that the Stampede has in our home city of Calgary, Alberta.

J.K. Simmons,
in a scene from Spider-Man.
An outdoor mall called Horton Plaza was just a block from our hotel and screamed sophistication. There were about four floors of various shops. Many of these were high-end specialty stores and department stores. We surveyed the shops and at our final stop we walked through an upscale Nordstrom’s store, where I saw J.K. Simmons who to me is famous for his role as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies and in Thank You For Smoking. I did not ask him for an autograph or photograph as he was with his wife and two daughters, but the fact that I saw him was astounding enough. I felt it was the perfect start to the vacation!

After walking through the out-door mall we tried to find a restaurant in the Gaslamp district. We made a large loop in the district and finally decided on a pub that we had seen at the very beginning of the loop; we can be fairly indecisive. The pub was cozy and made their own beer. TV’s hung from the ceiling but was not too loud. Michelle ordered southern fried chicken and I ordered enchiladas. Both our plates had enormous portions, which turned out to be the norm in San Diego. Our food was great and Michelle had leftovers. We also ordered drinks and they too were great. My beer was one of their in-house brews, and Michelle ordered a strawberry margarita that had a healthy dose of tequila. Following supper was a trip to a grocery store and then it was off to the hotel. Coming from Canada it was a nice to see liquor sold at the grocery store. This was expected, but what was not were the prices and selection. They had everything including hard alcohol, wine, and beer. Tequila was very cheap, but we opted for a six pack of a local brew and a bottle of wine that Michelle just had to have since it was called Ch√Ęteau de Michelle. We also picked up snacks (both healthy and not so healthy) and in particular breakfast food items. One of the keys to making any trip affordable is to immediately visit a nearby grocery store and pick up food. This cuts down on how much you will spend at restaurants (limiting it to only suppers), and allows one to try more of the local foods.

Once back at the hotel we relaxed and put the food away. Eventually we left again to visit the 7-11 across the street. While walking over there we noticed how busy the Greyhound station was that buttressed one side of the hotel. This was one of the drawbacks to The Sofia hotel as this station attracted a number of sketchy individuals and had us walking a little faster than normal. Nonetheless, we entered the 7-11 on a mission to buy some of the Farmville products as Michelle was trying to get the codes for her Facebook game. This was the end of the day for us where we flew to San Diego and managed to explore a small portion of the downtown area near the hotel and get some food for the week. I always enjoy the first day in a new city for it holds so much promise, and it is wonderful when the city lives up to this, which San Diego does in spades. The Gaslamp district is amazing at night, but the areas outside of here (past The Sofia) are not so enticing. Our day was done and we then planned our second, full day in the city where we would travel to the Zoo.  

No comments: