Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hi tech stuff

It's a little after 3pm on Saturday 25th October. So what have I been up to here in still very sunny and unseasonably hot San Diego since my previous post on Wednesday afternoon?

On Thursday my brother, D, took me for a whistlestop tour of the place he works, Solar Turbines, in the centre of San Diego right next to the airport. What struck me most in the assembly area was, considering this is engineering on a big scale, it was really really clean. I'm not an engineer myself, and my previous limited experience of it was a week of work experience in my last years at school, probably around 1978, which I spent at the Terex earth moving equipment manufacturer near my hometown, and various short visits to collect my dad from his work when that was at a steelworks. All very noisy, dirty environments. But not Solar, it was all very clean, very hi-tech, pretty quiet, and very impressive.

Thursday evening saw us eating at the Fish Market at Del Mar/Solano Beach. An interesting if unsurprisingly fishy menu full of things of which I'd never heard before, let alone tried! And some beer too. Wouldn't necessarily recommend you try it, but it was OK.

On Friday we set off slightly north of the city, and finding the beach near Carlsbad we followed the coast south again, largely on the historic Route 101, aka the Pacific Highway, seeing groups of surfers on the way. Through a mixture of towns like Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and La Jolla (pronounced Hoya apparently), which varied from what looked like not much more than beach huts perhaps occupied by people who moved to California in the 1960's and never left (the area or the 60's for that matter!) and huge multi million dollar properties, probably occupied for a small percentage of the year by film stars and other such celebs.

We'll go back to that area next week though, to explore a bit more when RE gets here. On Friday we were headed somewhere specific, not just Pacific. Our destination was the rather large and exceptionally impressive USS Midway, a decommissioned aircraft carrier berthed in San Diego Bay just along from the Maritime Museum we visited earlier in the week. When she was launched in 1945 and for the following ten years, Midway was the largest ship in the world, and she is big! Lots to see, and one refreshing thing was that many of the aircraft on the flight deck have bits sticking out of them at body or head height (edges of wings and suchlike) yet there are very few roped off or protected areas so it would be easy to walk into something slightly painful. The authorities who run the ship as a museum have obviously trusted the intelligence of their visitors enough not to have felt the need to over protect them. I genuinely thought that was a nice touch, and perhaps all the more surprising in the notoriously litigious USA.

After leaving the Midway, we visited Beverages and More, which if it were in Glasgow would be a very regular haunt for me. I got some Gordons Gin and some Pastis, and D got various Belgian and UK beers and some wine. Great store!

So that was us all set for Tapas type starters followed by Jambalaya, sitting outside in the still warm evening, with large glasses of Pastis for me, and red wine for everyone else (except my niece J, who had Sprite!). A good evening, yet again, of good food and drink and company.

This morning, Saturday, and my sister in law and niece, C and J, available to join us since it's the weekend, we all set off to San Diego Wild Animal Park, a few miles north of San Diego. Something like 1800 acres of wilderness tamed and filled with a variety of exotic animals and boutiques selling the usual touristy tat. It's part of San Diego Zoo, which is in Balboa Park in the city and which we'll visit next week, and by all accounts it isn't quite as good as the zoo itself.

Now it's chill out time, because it's too hot to wander about outside, so I've copied all the photos I've taken so far from my camera onto a flash drive pen, just in case. I'd post more of the images here, but I've got the camera settings such that my images are roughly 3Mb each, and while if I was at home I'd use the Microsoft PowerToys image resizer to easily and quickly make small copies with just a right click of the mouse, D's laptop runs Windows Vista and the resizer only works with XP, so I don't want to upload too many big images. I'll upload smaller ones to my Flickr account after I return home, and provide a link to them from this Blog, in the unlikely event anyone wants to see them.

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