La Jolla

Glad I could fit in a little pre-FNCE sight seeing for me with my mom and Joe.  We stayed in La Jolla, so it made sense to spend some time walking around the beautiful area there.

The hotel did have breakfast offered, and I liked that they had hard boiled eggs.  I would have loved some cheese, but it was mixed in with the meat, which I don't do, so I passed.  Probably better off because that saved some room for dessert later in the day.
 Although the weather was not the best, we still walked around all day outside.  The sky was overcast, but thankfully it was not too cold.  Before walking all along the coastal area, we stopped for lunch at Girard Gourmet, a local cafe with really great looking foods, including an awesome bakery.  

Mom mom had a BLT...I think!
Joe and I both ordered eggplant pesto sandwiches.  So yummy!
Then we were fueled up and ready for a nice afternoon walk.  La Jolla is a beach town on the coast, and known for their sea lions and seals that inhabit the rocky shores.
 There were also plenty of birds hanging out there too.
 Compared to many coastal areas, there is not a lot of beach here, but the coast is still very pretty.
 Lots of kayakers come here to go in the caves and get close to the sea lions.  There were also a lot of snorkelers in this spot.

 Here I am with my mom.  You can see it is foggy and grey, but we were still able to wear short sleeves.
 This is the other side of the cave.  You can enter through a store at the top of the hill.
 Looking closely you can spot some sea lions.  They camouflage with the rocks so you have to look closely.
 More kayakers.  There were tons out there.  I saw they had this on Living Social, but I didn't sign us up.  
 Lots of birds with a sea lion at the end.
A close up of a bird.
 There are some sea lions.  A little easier to see here.
 These are much easier to spot!  And there are lots of them.

 It was nice to be so close to the ocean again and watching the waves roll in.
 Love standing at the ocean!  Since living on an island I really love being near the water.  The good news is that in Japan we are just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Over in this area are the seals.  Last time I was here with my friend Amanda (who I am staying with now) there were lots of seals, but we were there at night and they were harder to see. 
 Walking home we went by an art museum.
 Oh yes, we stopped for yogurt on our way back to rest at the hotel.
Another exciting thing was that we are here during San Diego Restaurant Week.  Oh, and even more exciting was that my cousin (on my mom's side) lives nearby and was able to join us for dinner at Aloha Sushi.

This place offered their 3 course dinner menu for restaurant week for only $20.  Awesome!

I started with a sushi roll.  I know, I know I always eat sushi, but there were only 3 options, and this was the best for me.
 Joe started with a cucumber salad.  I love how they serve these.
 My mom was brave and tried the Ahi Poke.  Yay mom for trying the raw fish!  This will be good preparation for her when she comes to visit me in Japan sometime.
 For the entree, my cousin Melissa ordered some more sushi.  I think it was called the lobster bomb or something like that.
 My mom and I both tried the salmon and it was amazing.
 Joe went with the third entree choice, which was steak.  Needless to say, in the dark, I just didn't get a picture of this.

But I did some dessert since it was part of the 3 courses.  Joe and Melissa had the fried bananas.
 I couldn't resist the chocolate mousse pie.
Great meal!  Great day in La Jolla!

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been to La Jolla?  Ever seen a sea lion not in a zoo (wanted to say the wild, but not sure this counts as the wild)?  Does your town have a restaurant week?

Coming to America

The flight from up north in Japan down to Tokyo was the first airplane trip I have ever had where it felt more like an attraction than an actual needed mode of transportation.  We never flew so high that I could not see the ground, and we flew along the coast, so I felt like I was getting an arial tour of the coast of Japan.  I saw the ocean, rivers, mountains and lakes.  I also saw some of the devastation from the tsunami, but it was hard to make anything out clearly.  It was a really beautiful flight and I am glad I had a nice window seat on the side facing the Pacific Ocean.  It was beautiful!

 When I got to Tokyo I had to take a bus to the International airport from the domestic airport.  At least I got to see Tokyo Disney as we drove by.  While I waited for the bus I decided to try out a drink from the vending machine.  I like cherry, so I thought this might be good.  I was right!  Just under 20 calories (I think...I read numbers, but not Japanese!) for water flavored with a little fruit juice.  It was awesome!
 On the bus I met a family traveling from our base also, and headed to Narita airport.  They have been stationed there a while so I was glad to get to talk with them and find out some information about things to do around the base.  When we got to the airport I also had the time to sit down and have lunch with them.

Instead of bread, they served us these little cheesecakes.  Yes, this was really cheesecake, but mixed with yellow cake.  It tasted like cheesecake and was creamy, so I can't imagine it was anything else.
 I ordered the mixed seafood pasta.
 As with all travel days it turns in to one meal after another.  I guess it is eat, sleep, eat, sleep, and then eat again once you get to your destination and get settled.  But when it comes down to it, there just isn't much else going on in the time between those meals, so it seems like all you are doing is eating.  It can especially feel this way when you are traveling for 24 hours (which I was, and this includes layover times and transit between places...It's a one hour ride between Tokyo airports).

Once settled on the plane it was time for...DINNER!
I ordered a veggie meal of course.  It was a nice veggie entree.
 The plane ride was mostly uneventful with just a little bit of turbulence.  I slept for a few hours until the guy behind me kicked the seat and I woke up a tad on the startled side.  To make things even better, after he woke me up I went to the bathroom and then sat back in my seat.  About 5 minutes after this I felt a tickling sensation on the backs of my legs.  It was dark on the plane so I couldn't see anything.  So I reached down and felt what was there.  I had no idea what it was so I kept feeling it thinking it was so weird.  At that point I realized that I was technically massaging the man's shoeless feet from behind me.  Yes, I did scream a little when I realized I was holding his foot.  Seriously, this man had his feet all the way through my legs and resting up under the seat in front of me.  I have no idea how he managed to do this, but he did not wake up so I left them there until he moved around and I guess decided to take his feet back.  Thank heavens!

I was completely exhausted by the time I made it to San Francisco and that airport is probably one of the busiest and most unorganized I have ever seen.  I have seen busy and I have seen unorganized, but never before together to this extent.  I was told by an employee to do to the wrong place for security.  He swore I could go there for a domestic flight, but everyone in a non line mass of people waiting for international flights said I could not get there through that check point, and some use that airport often.  So I went back to the employee and he said he did not know what was going on up there and I could just pass through on the other side even though he said it was for first class (the sign said all domestic).  Then I found a line, but it was the wrong one.  

Someone finally told me that was the first class security line.  I was so exhausted, I had a headache and could not stand up straight.  I just wanted to sit down and rest.  I finally found the right line and was happily moving along when another employee started to redirect the line starting about 20 people ahead of me.  After about 20 more behind me, they stopped and allowed everyone else to continue in line.  They took us to baggage claim and I swear I was having the biggest panic attack.  I was thankful I gave myself 4 hours to get through customs and go back through security or I never would have caught my plane.  I was even doubtful at this point.  So, why were we in baggage claim.  The lines were so long that they decided to allow some of us to pass through where flight crews and pilots pass.  That was certainly an experience.

So what did I do when I found my gate?  I ordered lunch, of course!  Nothing like a crab melt on sour dough in San Francisco!
 And then I took a 45 minute nap!  I also slept the entire flight to San Diego.  When I got there and was waiting for my luggage my mom found me inside.  We grabbed my luggage and took off...for lunch!  Yes, again.  Well, I only ate in SF because I was so dizzy (from being tired) and I thought it might help.

My mom, Joe, his cousins, and I all went to a great little Mediterranean place called Aladdin.

Great babaganoush (and hummus) to start.
 Pita to go with it.
 My mom had this gigantic Greek salad with chicken.  They ordered them without dressing because they just bought some pomegranate balsamic vinegar.  I tried some of the vinegar and it was really tasty!
 I had a falafel sandwich.  I have no idea how I had room for this, but it was good, so I ate it.
 We stayed at the Empress hotel in La Jolla.
 Awesome rooms!  Lots of space and comfy bed.
 Nice bathroom too.
 Guess what?  I got to take a nap before dinner!  It was much needed and really helped to get me on track with the massive time change (I gained an entire day and then some).

La Jolla is a cute little San Diego beach town, a little on the upscale side (seriously large million dollar homes), packed with yoga studios, nail and hair salons, and great little places to eat.  For dinner that first night we picked The Public House.
 Yum, beer!  Glad it was a small one.
 Joe had a nice salad.
 My mom and I split.  First, this was a cheese, tomato, avocado bruschetta.
 Second, we split the shrimp tacos.  Very awesome!
 What?  More food?  Yes, I am not kidding, I actually ate some low fat fro-yo for dessert.
 QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been to San Diego?  La Jolla?  Have you ever flown on a plane for actual travel but felt more like it was an amusement ride?  Have you ever eaten more than 1 day worth of meals in one day because of changes in time zones with travel?