April Travel: Gaslamp District and USS Midway

This is the last blog of four about our travel to California in April. For more see: April Travel: San Diego Old Town and Zoo or April Travel: Downtown LA and April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight

Sunday we took the morning slower, met with Luke when his conference ended, had lunch with family and then said good bye to my parents. We spent the rest of the day enjoying downtown San Diego.

Luke showed me where his conference was all weekend and we got frozen yogurt then took a stroll along the park near the port.

In the evening we went to Spaghetti Factory right by our hotel. It was familiar and kid friendly. Zach loves noodles, and got mac and cheese and applesauce. He also enjoyed the eclectic lamps and other decorations.

The next day we packed then went down to the pool. Zach was unsure at first but after a slow ease in started to enjoy himself. When he got cold so we moved over to the “not so warm” hot tub and turned on the bubbles. By the end of the half hour, Zach actually went underwater three times.

That afternoon, we checked out of the hotel, left our bags at the front desk and took the light rail to the USS Midway for a tour of the aircraft carrier. Luke loved exploring the fighter planes and helicopters, hearing about their take off and landing procedures.

The top deck was impressive, and it gave a great view of the ocean, even though it was very windy. I found the museum below deck more interesting, seeing the culture and everyday life of such a large vessel was fascinating to me. Everything from laundry, to meal service, entertainment, sleeping quarters, and a jail-it was a lot to take in.

They said it takes about three hours to see it all we took all that time for sure. There were definitely a few restrictions having a kid with us, as well as for a stroller, but it was still worth it.

After this we got on the light rail back to the hotel just in time to get all our luggage from the front desk and into our shuttle to the airport. Our flight was delayed so we were able to eat dinner before going through security.

We had a late flight back to Oregon, fortunately we had a gracious person sitting next to us who had her own kids and with Luke’s help we kept Zach entertained. We got home very late and went straight to bed. It took a good week or more to re-organize and adjust from the trip but it was all so worth it.

Day 1: NYU, LES, and Blue Man Group

Sorry for the mass delay in NYC trip details, we had a very busy week.

After Little Italy we traveled to the LES, or Lower East Side. This is an area that everyone says is “up and coming”.

When we got there we realized it was a little more “coming” than “up”. It reminded me of  neighborhoods around the garment district in L.A. One street has fancy boutiques and specialty sweet, the next is bordered up with graffitied pawn shops.

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We walked to our first destination: The Pickle Guys. A small hall way of a store, you stand in line immediately on your left are giant 3 foot tall tubs of foods brining in spices; everything from pineapples, to olives, onions, beets, carrots etc. We wanted a tasting sample so we got two spicy sour pickles and a small container of garlic stuffed green olives and kalimata olives. They were wonderfully crunchy and full or spicy brine.

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Then we traveled over to the tenement museum but were too late for of their many tours. Instead we were watched a free 30 minute video about the neighborhood. In which we learned that this was the primary neighborhood for immigrants to Manhattan. It was amazing to hear the waves of ethic groups who transformed this neighborhood over the years and their struggles to establish themselves, work, and live in poor and crowded conditions.

We then sought out our dinner place: Ivan ramen which we had been told would be good. We both order ramen bowls with slight differences in broth flavorings: one with soy, the other sea salt. When food arrived we found it basic and plain. We our used to vibrant aromatic broths with plenty of vegetables in addition to noodles and egg. We walked away disappointed realizing that our Rochester ramen place Furoshiki was much better.

We then traveled North to NYU, an area full of Japanese Yakitori shops and Asian fusion restaurants. Immediately regretted not heading there for dinner, we stopped at Barcade, yes that is a bar that is also an 0ld-school arcade. There we enjoyed hard cider and stout beer while playing pinball, PacMan, Tetris, bust-a-move, and more.

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We left just in time to walk over to the Astor Theatre where the Blue Man group was preforming. The show was good, not my cup of tea with un-known audience participation, but Luke loved it and since he has wanted to see them for years and this was his birthday present, it was worth it.

After the show we found a bubble tea place for dessert, then headed back to the subway and our hotel room for the night.