We started this day with only two things on the agenda: 1) Go to National City, California, to take some pictures, since that's the bank where I work; and 2) Go to church on the beach with my Uncle Howard.
So what did we do? Well, you'll just have to see.
We started the day here:
That name is 100% indicative of what we saw on our drive. It was a mile (maybe more) of car dealerships. Ridiculous. But we found the center of town and decided to take photos for my coworkers. Commence photo shoot...NOW.
After this last one, some guy drove buy in a car an yelled "FAGGOT!" out his window. I just said, "and proud of it!" But honestly...it kind of got me down. We got back in the car and started driving. And when we saw this sign, we knew what our plans for the day were:
We wanted to see Tijuana...but from America.
There's the gate. It's worth blowing up this photo to see what those signs say.
But we got to see Tijuana, the happiest place on earth (according to Krusty the Clown).
It looked crowded and hot. I really had no desire to go to Mexico, and I still don't.
We take pride, though, in knowing we drove on the most southwesterly road in the entire U.S.
I was nervous the whole time we were down that way because we both had heard that it's a REALLY bad time to go down to Tijuana. Apparently people are being kidnapped, and their cell phones are being used to call loved ones and ask for money. And if they don't get it? Fingers in the mail.
I, for one, planned to come back with all of my limbs intact...which I did (sort of), no thanks to our next destination.
We decided to drive up Silver Strand Highway to Coronado, since Robb didn't get to see it before. I had heard that the beaches along Silver Strand are the most gorgeous around. We didn't really get to see them, though, because half the scenery was military fence and the other half was mostly beachless bay.
But we did see this:
If anyone saw Transformers 2, this was in the movie briefly. One of the Decepticons runs past this on his way to puke ball bearings into an exhaust tube while trying to retrieve the life source that will bring their leader back to life. I wondered, at the time, what it was. I still don't know, but apparently they keep Transformers down there or something...
Moving on...we did get a gorgeous view of the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Robb wanted to drive on it, so we decided we'd take it on our way back.
But we made it to the Hotel del Coronado, where we found the world most posh snail in a flower pot:
He was great. I think he knew Marlon Brando, but he was playing coy...
There was a wedding party roaming around the grounds, and when we got out to the beach, we knew why:
How would you like to get married at the Hotel del? Where would you go on your honeymoon if you're already there?
I wanted to go down to the tidepools, since we hadn't gotten to see them before. We saw all manner of wildlife including these:
Oh, and these!
Those boys were finding hermit and fiddler crabs and putting them in a Tupperware with water. The guy in blue shorts was in charge of the container, and he kept freaking out and dropping it when the crabs tried to climb out...and yet they still let him keep that job.
We hung out with them and searched for crabs. I caught a really big hermit crab and Robb caught several good-sized crabs, so we donated them to the cause...which turned out to be diging a pit in the sand and seeing if they'd fight. They wouldn't.
But we did see a starfish!
Look all the way at the bottom of that photo. I apologize for the poor quality, but by that time it was after 3 and the tide was coming in, sending huge waves crashing over the rocks periodically. Robb got a better photo, but he also got SOAKED!
He was bending down to take a picture and he had his back to the waves. All of a sudden this HUGE wave came in and crashed all up and down his back. He guarded his camera, though. After that he handed it to me, and we headed back towards the sand. Being in charge of his camera, I, of course, slipped and fell, smashing it on the rocks. It was fine, but I was bleeding from BOTH ankles.
We bid farewell to our crabs and our crab-fighting boys,
and we went to find a lifeguard.
I asked him if he had some alcohol and a band-aid or two. He goes, "Well I AM a lifeguard." all sarcastic-like...and I thought to myself, "He must be from Chicago or something...what an asshole."
But I got all bandaged up and we headed back to the car to get Robb's swim trunks so he could change and not get the car wet. After he changed, we bid adieu to the Hotel del Coronado for the last time.
We got on our way to Oceanside for church on the beach.
The bay bridge was a nice ride:
We got to see the shipyards again.
That big tan boat in front is a banana hauler.
On the way up the 5, we saw this:
I dunno...odd stuff these Californians build on the waterfront.
After getting lost twice, we finally found where my family was and I stopped feeling like a complete failure. We met my Uncle Howard:
And my Aunt Lucia,
And the girls...and after a short hiatus, church on the beach got under way.
My Unlce Howard played guitar and sang, as he does.
He was in a late 80s/early 90s Christian hair metal band called Ezra at one point. They weren't bad, honestly...but their look? Whoo...back then it was amazing! All giant long hair and semi-flashy costumes. Ah, history...
But church was really great.
After some music, there was a short sermon, and I was reminded to live in the now...today. I also realized that God had answered a prayer of mine from WAY back when...something I used to pray for all the time. I was no longer scared that people knew I was a Christian. I used to be TERRIFIED of people knowing that, for some reason...and I think after I came out I just didn't care who knew what about me...I was comfortable with myself and that's all that mattered. But it was just cool to sit there and have that little revelation as the sun got lower...
It was a gorgeous day, and I finally got my sunset on the beach!
After that we went back to my uncles house in Vista and had amazing burgers off the grill and swam in their pool while they got to spend some time meeting Robb. It was a great way to spend the evening, and they are still the most loving and hospitable people I've ever met.
I went to be with a smile on my face, little knowing that it would be a hell of a day the next day...