It's official. I have now had enough Mexican food and margaritas to last me, oh, say 3 years. Or til the next time the group from work decides to go to Feleena's in the Glebe. Whichever comes first.
Cali was awesome! I loved every minute of the trip. Seeing my friends, rooming with Evelyn, talking shop with colleagues, spending time sitting outside in flower-strewn courtyards (in November!), eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas -- what's not to like?! The conference sessions were interesting, and amazingly enough, presented ideas that we can use here at work.
My talk went well, but since I had a bad time slot, right after lunch, a lot of people came in late while I was talking and it put me off a little, but other than that, I was satisfied with how I did.
We went on a great geology field trip on a boat. Normally our field trips are by bus and we are always getting off to look at the rocks, then back on, repeat, repeat, repeat; so it was so different, and great, to just stand on deck and have someone tell us all about what we were seeing -- wave-cut terraces, mesas, ancient river deltas -- very cool. Also cool was seeing the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz which was anchored in the harbour, and a bunch of (well, 2) submarines.
We also got up close and personal with some sea lions and pelicans on a floating dock in the middle of the harbour. I kept expecting the latter to start speaking like Geoffery Rush, lol. And after all that, they opened the bar and then served us a truly spectacular Mexican buffet aboard the ship while we cruised the harbour and went under the Coronado bridge.
The only drawback was that the hotel seemed to have the most, ummmm....intellectually challenged front desk staff of any place I've ever stayed. Honestly, they were friendly enough, but not very smart -- like a litter of slow Golden Retriever pups. I had made reservations more than a month ago; a single non-smoking room for Linda, my supervisor; and a double smoking room for Evelyn and me. Ev smokes, and it doesn't bother me to be around it for the few days we would be together. So we arrive at the front desk, tired after flying Ottawa-Chicago, then Chicago-San Diego, just wanting to flop on a bed and decompress for a couple of minutes, only to be faced with Roy the Wonder Clerk. He gave us our key cards and a map of the hotel, which is actually a compound of white adobe, tile-roofed buildings connected by walkways, galleries, and courtyards, and off we went, dragging our luggage behind us.
Ten minutes later we arrived at our room on a second-floor gallery. Front and centre was the no smoking sign on the door. We bumped our luggage back down to the ground and through the walkways back to the lobby. I explained that we had reserved a smoking room. Roy looked like he was thinking very hard. (Roy was about 22, kind of punk-looking, and his name tag said he was from New York.) Without so much as a 'sorry' he took the key cards, searched the computer and gave us a new room. This one was on the second floor of a building without an elevator, so we bumped our wheeled luggage up a steep flight of stairs and then down another gallery to our new room. It was a lovely room. It was a smoking room. It was also a single room. So I left Ev to have a smoke and I went back to the front desk to try to straighten things out. When I told Roy that it was a lovely room, but it was a single, he just looked at me. I'm not sure that anything was going on behind that blank face. I explained that since there were two of us that two beds would be a nice idea, and once again he turned to the computer for a bit, only to tell me that a) there were no double smoking rooms available, and b) there were now no double rooms at all available since he had given them out to other guests checking in while we were on our wild goose chase.
I pointed out that we had just been given a double room not 20 minutes before, and could he please check if it was still available. Giving a sigh like I had just asked for a kidney or a testicle or something instead of asking him to, I don't know, *do his job*, he looked again and grudgingly gave us back the key cards to the first room we had been given. Ay caramba! We were soooo ready for the margaritas!
The scenery was beautiful, and I never got tired of seeing these gorgeous plants, plants that in the past I've paid a fortune for, just growing in people's yards or in giant pots in the courtyards of the hotel. I was slightly tempted to never come home, but you know, I'm Canadian enough to miss the winter. Oh, and my daughters. Yeah, I'd miss them too, of course.