Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Southern California

As my plane descended into Palm Springs, I noted a stunning but bleak natural environment that eventually gave way to a small island of development with vibrant green golf courses. The city just did not seem to belong there. The plane landed, and I soon found myself roaming through a city without much history beyond the California celebrities who used to visit, evidenced by streets with names like "Frank Sinatra" and "Gene Autry." Palm Springs seemed to be a creature of a previous time that had perhaps had a glory day now seemingly eclipsed by summer heat and economic slowdown. I was not impressed.

So, I cruised the streets to kill some time before meeting Megan and high-tailing it to San Diego. Both of us were exhausted--Megan from a week of emotionally-exhausting training, and me from an excellent but very late night watching the Dedringers rock Dan's Silverleaf in Denton. Thus, when we cruised through San Diego's Gas Lamp District through throngs of elaborately costumed party-goers, we wondered if we'd made a smart decision. The lobby of our hotel, The Keating, offered a surreal scene. A man with a Mohawk sat down at the piano playing some jazz while his companion, also sporting a radical mane, danced frantically. Fairly certain that we had inadvertently wandered into party central, we stumbled upstairs and crashed.

The next day we wandered. We ate a beast of a breakfast at the rural Indiana-themed Hash House A Go Go. We strolled La Jolla's beaches, saw an stimulating Bruce Nauman exhibit, and received validation from a gallery owner that, yes, the Brandon Maldonado painting we purchased in Santa Fe was an excellent choice. We visited a wine bar at Ocean Beach before checking out its nightlife and then wandered back to the Gas Lamp District where we saw Common in concert for free.

Sunday offered the hipster neighborhood of Mission Hills where I purchased the so cool in SoCal hat pictured below. We visited Balboa Park to see an organ concert, where I jammed to Bach while rocking my trendy lid and holding a colorful umbrella. Word.

That evening we stumbled upon a last-second, cash only sale of tickets for the smash Broadway hit "Spring Awakening," which landed us on the front row of the balcony at the Balboa Theater. Fortunately we had just enough time beforehand to devour a California burrito (a steak burrito that someone brilliantly decided to augment with french fries).

Monday morning, we made a final visit to the Hash House before heading back through the desert and on toward home. I have yet to introduce my hat to Dallas, but I'm sure it will make an appearance . . . but maybe this town just isn't quite ready for it yet.

Okay, so let's get Megan with that crazy sculpture from La Jolla just one last time . . .

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