Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, August 25, 2012

We were up at 6 this morning to get ourselves ready and leave the hotel to catch our train to San Diego. We were essentially doing the same long-winded trip that had gotten us from the train station to the hotel in July, but in reverse. Laura had a chance to Skype her mum and dad to say hello, and then we headed down to the lobby at 7am to check out and get on the shuttle to the airport. I almost broke my thumb taking my bag off, by trapping it in the strap; it bent backwards and touched the back of my hand...not pleasant!

We hopped on the shuttle to LAX and from there managed to find the flyaway bus that would take us to Union Station. It all felt a little too easy, and we managed to get to the train station for 8.30am, when our train wasn't due to leave until 11.40am (a combination of paranoia and good luck!). Happily, when we went to check our bags, the Amtrak attendant told us that we had purchased an open ticket and we could get an earlier train if we wanted. We definitely didn't fancy sitting around the train station for longer than we had to, so we grabbed a Starbucks for breakfast and then jumped on the 9.40am train.

The train ride was pleasant and uneventful until I noticed that an odd girl -who looked like she was going for the Luna-Lovegood-off-of-Harry-Potter vibe - was furiously scribbling a letter. Being a bit nosey, I had a new over and saw that she had addressed the letter to 'dear Amtrak passengers. I admit that I get paranoid, but the first thing that went through my head is "holy crap she's a nutcase, and this is a letter to explain the awful thing she's going to do to the Amtrak passengers, oh my god were gonna die!"

Now, bearing in mind this girl was about 5 ft nothing, and even I could've probably taken her if I wanted, plus she looked away with the fairies, she was clearly not going to do anything. Nevertheless, I couldn't settle at all and kept a beady eye on her, until she got off the train and Laura nabbed the letter that she'd decorated with hearts and shoved in the seat she'd just vacated. When we red it, we were just bemused.

She had waffled on about how the train was overcrowded and no one ever talked o their neighbours on trains, and how we should all make an effort to get to know each other. She had ended the note with a challenge to whoever picked it up to speak to the person next to them... A bit rich, I thought, when she had spent her whole journey writing a note and not speaking to the person next to her! I think she was living in cloud cuckoo land haha.

We arrived in San Diego at around 12.30pm and got a cab to the hostel and checked in. The hostel was lovely, as all of the others have been, and once again we were given a private double room painted in pink (?), and this one had a private ensuite bathroom...get in! We dropped our stuff down and headed straight back out into the city to have an explore and to get some lunch.

Our hostel was in the Gaslamp Quarter of the city, so the buildings were all beautiful and old and there were restaurants, bars and boutique shops nearby too. All of Laura's research had paid off yet again, and we were really happy with the hostel and where we were located. We spotted an Old Spaghetti Factory a couple of blocks away and decided to go there to eat, as we'd been with the trek group in Vancouver and really enjoyed it - plus you get unlimited fresh bread, salad, soup and a desert just by paying for the main meal, which is brilliant! Laura got pasta with a sauce made with some cheese that apparently Homer ate whilst composing the's called mizithra cheese, although we'd never heard of it before this!

After lunch, where we were served by a cute Asian-American girl who actually said the words "I know, right?" like in a high school movie, which thrilled me no end, we wandered through the Gaslamp quarter some more. We amused ourselves for a while looking through cool t shirts in one shop, and then Laura spotted the ticket machine for the trains and buses we'd need to get around over the next few days, so we went over to sort that out. We had a right kerfuffle with the machine, which wouldn't accept ours cards and wouldn't give us any change for our notes, which necessitated in us running back to the hostel to get exact change, before running back to the machine to get our tickets. Finally it was sorted, and after stashing our tickets safely away we went into a world marketplace type store, which sold loads of Hippyish rugs and decorations and the like.

After this we decided to head back to the hostel to chill for the evening; our room has an iPod dock so we had a mini party and planned out what were going to do over the next few days.

The plan for tomorrow is to go to the San Diego Zoo, which I've wanted to visit since I was about 10 and I knew it existed...exciting times!

Deej x
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