not to blindly trust Pinterest
I like to do some research before I head off on vacation. And I usually make a list of must do, want to do, and if there is time we will try to do. It is very helpful when prioritizing your days. I went a bit off the beaten track for my usual vacation and didn't have every moment planned, or totally unplanned. I'm an all or nothing type person when it comes to planning. Precise date and time, or I'll just show up when I show up and go from there, see where the spirit takes us. For this trip I did some loose scaffolding.
I have started to use Pinterest as a search engine. I find that it is much more visually appealing than the Google, and it populates searches based on the number of pins an image has received. This is a good way to vet recipes too, if a pancake recipe has 2 pins move along, if it has 300 it might be worth trying out.
For San Diego I searched up all the things to do on a budget in SoCal, our Canadian dollar was not strong and was trading at basically half. We also discovered that there are multiple sites that allow you to buy packages when in the SoCal area for tourist attractions. We used Go San Diego and my paypal account got hacked and the person bought a bottle of Calvin Klein Obsession... what were they thinking? Is it 1995? Yuck. I found out, cancelled my card, onward and upward.
So I pinned a bunch of really great things to do for free, like hang out on Coronado Island, walk along the Sunset Cliffs (the marine layer rolled in right as we got there so it was more like Fog-set Cliffs), Balboa Park. And then the food. Oh man, there were so many great pins about blogs about food. San Diego is a foodie paradise. Even if you are a tiny mom and pop shop you get reviewed by food bloggers and they can send your business soaring or tank it in one post. The level of food there is really incomparable to anything else in North America.
According to Pinterest, there was a little restaurant in Seaport Village where you could "make your own ice cream sandwich". We took the bus, then the trolley, and then walked for about 15 minutes to get there. I was wearing shorts and a t shirt, it was evening and I was freezing. We had been touristing all day and I was a little worse for wear. As we walked up, I saw that inside, first of all, there were hostesses. In a place where they serve ice cream sandwiches? Hmm. Second, all of the people inside were wearing various shades of black and denim. I was in white booty shorts and a t shirt and I could feel the makeup under my eye. Third, there was a bar... that didn't have ice cream in it. I told the hubster to go check it out. Turns out, the hostess had never even heard of this place making ice cream sandwiches, that's how old that pin was. We had a good laugh and went to the Cheesecake Factory for a gob of peanut butter, cream cheese, and icing sugar that nearly made my throat close up with dairy and sugar.
You would think that we would have learned our lesson.
A few days later we had been out and about and I was getting tired. The only time I can handle caffeine in the evenings is on vacation. I walk so much and eat so much that it all gets utilized before bed so I don't notice it. We had already walked about 10 km that day so I knew it was going to be ok to have a coffee this late in the game. We walked another km this way, and then another km that way only to realized we had walked two km in the wrong direction. So we turned around and went back to find the right stop. I am sure you are wondering why we didn't just give up and go grab a coffee from a nearby shop... because we were on vacation, we had time, and my husband was dead set on us trying this highly recommended place out.
After walking for what seemed like hours (it was an hour and a half), we found the right bus* to take us to a place that was highly recommended for their delicious coffee and fluffy as clouds vanilla scones. We hopped on the bus. It zipped along. We stopped and picked up a few smelly characters. Then a few more, and a couple more. I wondered where this shop was located. The closer we got, the more interesting the characters that entered the scene became.
Finally. Our stop. The coffee shop was around the corner from the bus stop. We gladly hopped off, and two characters came with us. Hmm. We turned left, they turned left. We crossed the street, they crossed the street. I saw the sign above the coffee shop and shuddered a bit. It looked like an old run down house that you would see on a horror movie. It's scrolling 90s lettering revealing it was a locally owned shop, from this neighbourhood. We entered. Our two compadres entered behind us.
I shot a sideways glance at the hubster, he put his hand on my lower back. The furniture inside looked like it was picked up from the side of the road after a bad rainstorm and dried out in a mildewy basement. I couldn't help but wonder what bugs were crawling around in the worn velvet and brocade fabrics in various shades of brown and faded burgundy. I couldn't even tell where the counter was. It was like I walked into a poorly run antique store that had a roof leak that ruined everything. We reached what I think was the front where a cooler sat with food that looked like it had been inside for weeks. I grabbed my husband by the hand and nonchalantly did a fluid u turn.
We didn't speak until we had crossed the road. And I was so tired from walking that I started to cry, then laugh. All I wanted was a cup of coffee and I had to go on a two hour adventure for that? That's when I realized that it was Pinterest's fault. I am sure that this dive was reviewed years ago in the height of its prime, before it had forgotten how to clean anything.
Thankfully there was a tiny Italian coffee shop across the road and we were able to sit in the window until they closed. We relaxed and enjoyed a honeyed latte, as we looked at all the other pins and then cross referenced them to the Google's accuracy.
*Although I just finished complaining, I would recommend that you take public transit in San Diego, it is very convenient and traffic can get ugly in the evenings. The bus is quite safe, their fleet is almost all brand new, and it makes for interesting stories :)