Why is a pen called a pen??

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, August 5, 2010

I love it when I learn something that I didn't know I wanted to know! However, that story (which relates to the title of this blog) can come later.
Today Yukari left us which is a little sad for us but she gets to catch up with some old friends which is great for her. Its been fun...
I was so tired from driving yesterday I went back to sleep after saying goodbye. Irene went down the beach and managed to get in a swim. She found out that on state beaches you have to pay a parking and/or usage fee. At these places they generally only allow surfing because there have been a lot of accidents with swimmers. I was a little sad I missed out but figured that there is always tomorrow, however, I have just watched the weather and it will be FOGGY! This is getting too stupid.
We just managed to check out on time - I love the noon check out times - and decided to go to San Diego Old Town. Free parking was available, we managed to get a good spot and went to see what was on offer. Naturally we found the shops but also went on a free guided walk on which we learnt about the history of the area and California as well. Irene asked our guide her name and she rattled off a long list of names and we still did not know what to call her. She was another interesting character and talked a lot about DNA and how we were all related. 
She said a few times about the 'insurance liability tiles' but it wasn't until almost at the end that we figured it out. Apparently, they wanted to keep the dirt floors to retain the original feel of the place but the state would not allow it. The buildings are mostly original but they are painted white because again the 'state' thought the brown was boring so made them change it. The adobe buildings are really cool and have lovely wide verandahs. It makes me just a little angry that we build modern houses that need air conditioning to keep them cool.
In the old court house there was a thing about pens being made of feathers - knew that but did not know that the word for feather is penna in latin hence the term pen! Am I the only person who did not know that? The other great thing we found was the punishments for students and rules for teachers on the old school house. I hope you can read the photos!
Most of the people working in the Old Town wear period costume which is a nice touch. A young guy in the handmade sweet shop had twisted his moustache so it curled at the edges. One girl in a long flowery dress was chatting on a mobile phone so it spoilt the look a tad.
You could buy voodoo dolls and painted skulls which the Mexicans love - they celebrate day of the dead in November. A woman who served us in one shop received a pair of skeletons for her wedding and thought they were the best present! A margarita seemed right so we asked where they made the best ones and wandered up the street to find the restaurant. We missed it which was good because we found some more very interesting shops where you could buy leather handbags in the shape of an owl and leather phone holders in the shape of a pig. Most of the stuff came from Mexico rather than Asia, although I did find a lot of things in one place that were made in Nepal. I also found some Australian raspberry licorice.
Eventually we retraced our steps and found the restaurant - a Cuban guy called Roger was outside it touting for customers so we wouldn't have been able to walk past anyway. A mexican guy was playing music and singing so we were serenaded sitting outside in the sunshine drinking margaritas. It was perfect. On the table next to us was a Cuban lady with her two sons and aunt from Florida. The aunt was joining in with the singer and really enjoying herself. 
Even though we did not do much today we met some lovely people and it was nice to do something more relaxing than driving and feel we needed to get somewhere before midnight. Our hotel tonight is right on the waterfront in San Diego but our room is at the back where we can hear the train and sirens (there was a big police blitz at one of the beaches tonight - they were after drug pushers) even with the balconey door shut. You also have to pay for parking - there are downsides to staying in the city centre and we think we should have stayed in Encinitas where we were last night as it is only about 1 hour up the highway and we got a complimentary breakfast, free parking, a better room etc. You live and learn and at least we can go for a work along the harbour tomorrow.
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