I was a little worried that I had booked too many days in San Diego. This was an unnecessary concern, as our days have been filled with adventure, sunshine and a cross cultural Mexican/ Northern American experience.
A trip to the border to visit a retail outlet emporium, combined with an opportunity to view the austere, heavily patrolled, walled border to Mexico. Behind this people barrier, a huge Mexican flag was pegged into the steep, rocky hills. It stood proudly, yet also symbolised a difference in fortune and opportunity for those born on its side. San Diego successfully blends cultures, however, the wall reminds us that the USA does not welcome their southern cousins freely.
We hit a giant Nike mega store first and I was overwhelmed by my offspring’s enthusiasm for shopping. Normal trips to any retail venue, usually require significant bribery and a detailed itinerary, outlining where I will and will not go. Master 9 does not willingly accompany me and wails and bleats about the prospect of entering clothes shops, hair product venues, home ware stores, supermarkets or shoe shops. (The curse of 3 boys) Of course this is ridiculous, and with some serious haggling, we can generally strike a deal. A quick trip to a few of ‘my’ shops, need to be balanced with visits to EB Games, the Candy Shack or Rebel Sports. So, you can imagine my surprise and amusement, when I observed Master 8, wildly running around the Nike store from rack to rack, lovingly fingering ‘ticked’ clothing and shoes, exclaiming “I love this shop!” “Does this come in my size?” and “Now this is fashion, mum.” Master 14, came running to me in Le Bron James’ signature basketball boots, grinning from ear to ear. He didn’t care that they were 2 sizes too big and that he looked like he was wearing Ronald McDonald’s shoes. Master 11 was found in a change room, in tight white lycra. “Cheap skins mum” he triumphantly shouted. I felt like I had stepped into a sitcom. Malcolm in the Middle, meets Hollywood Housewives’ Offspring. Several giant plastic bags later, we caught a cab back into town.
Today we bought some tickets to watch the San Diego Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. We sat in the bleachers and spent an afternoon soaking up the patriotic, excited crowd. I didn’t realise how difficult it was to actually score a home run. Over the course 9 innings, only 5 batters touched the home base. We stood with our caps by our side for the national anthem, God Bless America and tributes to the military. The focus on servicemen/ women is very serious. A military man with hundreds of coloured badges representing his elevated rank and years of service, stood within our view. He commanded celebrity status. People were lining up to shake his hand,praise him and show him adoration. It would be very difficult to openly protest military involvement in Iraq here.
The boys embraced baseball and the show that accompanies the match. Big screens told us to ‘MAKE NOISE’ and cameras roved, spotlighting the stand outs in the crowd. Tom was desperate to get on TV. He stood waving his arms, wearing his Collingwood cap and new Nike t-shirt, convinced that the cameras would find him. Oliver discovered that for $9.95 you could enjoy a refillable mega cup of soda. Several hundred teaspoons of sugar later, he declared it a fine day. Tom and I spooned clam chowder, from a crusty cob and Henry enjoyed deep fried tubes of sugary, cinnamon churros.
Robb, Oliver, Henry and I decided to support the Padres, as they were the local team and Master T-Tucker adopted the Dodgers. After 7 innings the scores were 1 all and it looked like their would be no winner. In the 8th, the Dodgers came out firing and hit 2 consecutive home runs and the crowd (and Tom) went wild. End of game but what an experience. Henry spent some of his money on a Padres hat and and an authentic baseball and wondered if high school would present baseball opportunities.
We strolled home, via our favourite Mexican eatery, and enjoyed their happy hour. A couple of margaritas and some more lusciously green guacamole, accompanied our discussion and recap of our active day and the upcoming adventures planned for the rest of the week. Tomorrow its off to the zoo and on Tuesday, we have booked a kayak tour, to explore the sea caves of La Jolla.