San Diego was weird this time out. Not as hectic, but then I didn’t have any real plans. Dinner with the family, visiting friends, nothing beyond what was expected. It just felt weird, like I don’t belong there any more. I guess I changed more than I thought I would in five months. I always thought I would retire there, but I’m not so sure any more. I will always miss my friends, and I know I’ll have trouble finding good martial arts schools, but if I have the whole world open to me, why choose San Diego? It’s not a bad place, but I have to be open to finding something better.
Christmas with the family is always fun. Without children Christmas loses a lot of it’s value for me. People see it as a time of sharing, but I never felt any different around the holidays. I like giving presents, but the day of great gift giving is for the children. I enjoy seeing them scramble around for presents, opening anything they touch, whether it’s theirs or not. My sister lets her two boys pick one present for each family member. As you can imagine, the gifts from a five year old and a three year old are interesting. The older of the two got me a survival kit. Useful when traveling the world, except that the binoculars had no lenses. And the compass doesn’t work. And it’s all plastic and made for a five year old. Really sweet thought though. The younger one got me a bag of those little boxes of raisins. I have no words for it.
We ate, we laughed, and we relaxed. It was a good day. I spent the week hanging out with friends and eating at a few places I missed. I went to lunch with the Dancer at a Chinese place we like. The food was as good as ever. After a mild issue with the waitress, we left. I laughed about the service, but the Dancer was irritated for the rest of the day. The more irritated she became, the more I laughed. The whole situation was stupid. She seemed to be on the edge of laughing at it as well, but she held on to her anger. At least, I hope she was on the edge. Otherwise I was just dickishly laughing at her. I feel a little bad about it, but not without a bit of amusement as well.
We played nerd poker a couple times, and visited the Musician’s new coffee house. Good coffee if you’re ever on Washington in San Diego. Personally I hate coffee, but I’m a teacher now, so I drink it sometimes. They have really good tea though, and I loved the hot chocolate. It’s not quite open yet, but it will be at some point in January.
My friend Boont had spent some time in Mexico a while back and he pointed out a couple places to see while I still live here. I only have one class on Saturdays now, so I may start taking some overnight trips to places nearby. There are supposed to be a few long weekends I can look at as well. Mexico City isn’t far from here, and Palanque near Guatemala looks awesome. Indiana Jones type stuff. I know there will be more places than I have time for.
The nerd poker was fun. We started the new edition in dungeons and dragons. It seems to work well, very simple and to the point. We started off with a mugging and a bar fight, with a bit of petty theft thrown in for good measure. As always, there was stupidity and laughter, which is the only reason we really play. Since we’re starting again, Hotsauce can finally rejoin the fray. He is the catalyst of laughter, and it’s always more fun with him around. He just has a real job so he has had attendance issues in the past. That’s one reason why I avoided growing up for so long.
I saw other friends too, but even with as much time as I was home, I still didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to. I never did make it to the beach, but that’s not totally unexpected. The waves are never good this time of year, and I knew I would get to go when I hit Sayulita. I did manage to reconnect with a few, but when I went to Home Depot some of them were on vacation or not there. I can’t believe I worked there for ten years. What a miserable existence. I know the benefits of my set schedule there, and that it allowed me to do what I wanted with my life outside the place, but the job itself wasn’t worth the time. I value the relationships, but I hated having a job that absolutely didn’t matter whether I did it or not. I am so much better off now.
There are a few people I want to look up first the next time I hit San Diego. I’m hoping there will be a good play in town while I’m there, but it depends on who is on stage. There are a few others, and if you’re on that list, I will look for you next time. If you think your’re on that list, but actually aren’t, I am sorry but the list has limited spots and you did not bribe me enough to get on it.
Getting to Sayulita took a little time, but it was easy for me. After all the time I spend on the buses here, it’s not a surprise. I’ve gotten better at just asking the driver where he is going. That works better than trusting anything on the internet. I was hoping it would be more off the grid than it wound up being, but it could have been worse.
The first time I went surfing I saw a manta ray jump out of the water and into the air about fifty feet from me. There were always birds and fish everywhere. I saw a neon green butterfly and an aquamarine one also. There are no pictures of the best of these because I didn’t take my camera surfing. The wildlife there was awesome, and there were dogs everywhere. There are no sections for dogs or no dogs on that beach. There was horseback riding also, and the typical whale watching, snorkeling, and fishing.
I like the town in itself. It reminds me of Sag Harbor in some ways, the little tourist town outside of the big city. Good food, but expensive compared to what I’ve become used to in Guadalajara. I stayed at Lush Sayulita hostel, a very nice place. The crowd was a bit young for me, but the place was clean, safe, and relaxed. The wifi sucked, but I can never tell if it’s the place or the country that’s the problem.
The town was all small cobblestone streets and typical little Mexican style restaurants and stalls, but the feeling was off. More importantly, everyone seemed to speak English, even when I spoke to them only in Spanish. There was also trash everywhere because tourists are generally lazy and can’t carry garbage for more than thirty feet before dropping it. Most of it was fairly relaxed, nothing like the port at Ensenada where the vendors are aggressive and irritating. The only guy who really bothered me was the one selling bracelets and drugs on the beach. There was way too much of that too. I think next time I’ll head for someplace further off the grid. I hear San Pancho is nice, but we’ll see.
It was a good time, very relaxing, but as much as I wish I could have surfed more, I’m glad I only took three days there. I did realize that I need to start bringing my floating strap for my waterproof camera or I’ll never take it into the water. I get paranoid about losing it. I also want to get a camera with a better zoom eventually. 4x doesn’t really get the shots I’m looking for. I wound up taking the bus home, after talking to a Canadian and an Australian for a while. They are the only people I had really talked to in days, and I found I missed the company. That is one of the good things about teaching, you never really lack social contact.
I did realize something while I was there. This is the first time in my life I have ever been to a place where I knew no one and nothing about it beyond internet research. I have traveled a lot, all over the United States, a bit in Mexico, and for a couple weeks in Greece. There was always support though, someone I could go to if there was a problem, someone to show me around or lead the way. It was strange being truly on my own.
In the end, it was a good holiday, as weird as it was. It’s also good and weird to be home. It feels like I’ve been gone forever, but also like I never really left. It’s strange to me that I can think of this place as home already, but also be looking for the way out as well. I’ve started moving, and I feel weird every time I slow down and take a breath, stuck half way between believing that I will never begin again and finding myself moving forward without thinking.
One last thing, I know everyone likes to start the year with their resolutions, but I never found this to be useful to me. I usually just choose a direction and start moving. This year, I think I’ll focus on being less polite. The rules of polite society in the States are not always going to be beneficial when I travel the world, so I think I’ll shed them for a while and see where that takes me. If nothing else, I expect a few good stories.