Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I see no ships

It's Tuesday morning, 21st October, at a little before 8am in San Diego and thankfully it seems my body clock is managing to right itself. More or less anyway. I stayed up until about 10pm last night before I had to sleepily make my way to bed!

Yesterday my brother, D, and I started off at one of the ubiquitous Starbucks where we had coffee and something to eat for a bit of breakfast. My Superman teeshirt apparently caused a bit of a stir as two people, including a down and out, commented on it on the way into Starbucks, and the server inside just wrote "Superman" on the cup before passing it to someone who was going to prepare the latte. Thankfully no one else during the day had anything to say, otherwise it would have become fairly tiresome I guess, so maybe it's just at that particular Starbucks no one had ever seen one before! Or maybe they thought I was actually Superman instead of a Scottish bloke wearing it ironically! It is California after all and I understand that mind altering substances have been used here in the past!

I forgot to mention that on Sunday morning we went to a traditional diner where I had my first experience of pancakes and syrup for breakfast. And eggs benedict with what was essentially a slab of gammon steak, and eggs benedict with crab cakes. And orange juice. And more coffee than you could shake a stick at. Fantastic. And the pancakes were a surprise to me, since I didn't think I'd like them but did! Can't imagine ever doing that sort of thing more than very occasionally though, and indeed D & C confirmed that they do it very rarely.

So back to yesterday then. After breakfast we went to downtown San Diego, next to San Diego Bay, where we parked and bought tickets for the Maritime Museum. They have six ships listed on their brochure, but there were only five there, plus a former Soviet submarine which wasn't in the brochure so we didn't feel short changed at all.

The ships they have are:
  • Star of India, the world's oldest active ship, built in the Isle of Man in 1863 and originally called Euterpe. She has been used for various things, including transporting emigrants from the UK to New Zealand, and in the Alaskan salmon packing industry.

  • Berkeley, an 1898 steam ferryboat that operated for 60 years in San Francisco Bay.

  • Medea, a 1904 steam yacht built at Linthouse on the River Clyde in Glasgow (roughly 3 miles from my house!) for a rich guy from Argyll.

  • Pilot, a 1914 harbour pilot boat which for 82 years was San Diego Bay's official pilot boat.

  • Californian, a replica 19th century revenue cutter, which wasn't there.

  • HMS Surprise, a replica 18th century Royal Navy Frigate which featured in the 2003 Russell Crowe film Master and Commander: The far side of the world, which I haven't seen but will do so at the earliest opportunity.

  • B-39 Soviet attack submarine which was launched in 1972, and carried nuclear (or should that be Nucular since I'm here in the states?) weapons.

The top photo, taken from Berkeley, shows the stern of HMS Surprise, the bow of B-39, and most of Star of India. The bottom photo shows the saloon of Berkeley.

They were all really interesting, and for only $14 for a ticket which allowed unlimited repeated access to all of them for a day, it was really good value too.

After leaving the downtown area we went to a Mexican food place, Baja Fresh, for lunch, and had fish tacos. An interesting experience! Stopping at a huge, and I mean huge, electronic warehouse called Frys, which sold pretty much everything gadget related and was decribed beforehand by D as being Toys R Us for men, and then at another smaller one called Best Buy, we collected my niece J from school, and pausing momentarily at a local Baskin & Robbins for some ice cream, we headed home.

A good day, well spent.


  1. Sounds great. I have to snicker at your Starbucks experience, because when I used to visit my brother-in-law when he lived in L.A., I found the people working in those coffee shops to be pretty flaky. Whatever you do, don't get corrupted by corporate Americana. They make it look damn good, don't they? :-)

  2. I think the staff seemed OK, and were certainly friendly enough, it was the down and out who seemed flaky, if anyone, although I've seen a lot worse in Glasgow!

    Apparently Starbucks have opened a Starbucks inside a Starbucks here now! ;-)

    And I'm probably already a corporate whore so am unlikely to be (further) corrupted by corporacy! It is damn good, isn't it!