Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Happy New Years from On The Road

We're on the road for home after a four day visit with my parents in San Diego. It's been a good visit, and a Christmas after Christmas as well as a chance to experience an all-night drive again for the first time in a few decades.

Yes. It was a 16-hour drive from Colorado through to San Diego, we headed East along I-70, and then went south on I-15 through Nevada and into California, and there was something surreal about driving through LA at 2 am and having the freeways be so sparsely populated. Just zooming through, and while there were people, we just ghosted through the mountains and into the flat plains of light in all directions. By then it just seemed silly to stop and try and sleep in the middle of the city, so I pushed through and we arrived at my parents' house at 4 am. They let us in, thankfully, and we slept in until noon and had a second Christmas that evening.

LA at night...
Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, the drive made me feel not so old, as we made it just fine. It's been nearly a decade since we've done such a push and it felt good to be able to do it.

The second Christmas was really really good and fun for everyone that was involved, and I ended up with a Kindle Touch from my sister. She also gave my mother an iPad. I actually really liked the Kindle a lot, been reading a number of the Parker books on my netbook in the app, but they read a lot easier on the Kindle's paper interface. Lately, I've taken up the John Rain novels by Barry Eisler, and the library didn't have Hard Rain, so I bought it as soon as Kathy gave me the Touch. It's lovely and light and easy to use. She also got me a Kindle copy of Connie Willis' Christmas stories, which are very very good for this season, indeed.

One interesting thing was that I bought my sister two books from Amazon, which they'd told me were damaged in shipment, so they'd sent another set of books. Both actually arrived so I now have a copy of the Milk Bar book by David Chang and Blumenthal at Home, which is just gorgeous. Mom and Dad and Kathy all liked the calendars we made, and we also got to give them gift certificates to stuff they liked. Mom also got her pears for her birthday and the New Year, and John got Snuff. We always like Terry Pratchett.

The days went quickly, which multiple trips to the beach, a good trip to the Zoo, the usual visit to In and Out, Frye's (with Jet this time for his first visit to the electronics Mecca, he loved it, no doubts there), and Trader Joe's. We went to Ching's on Convoy for a lovely Chinese dinner one night with eight different dishes. We also went to Convoy to meet up with an old classmate of mine from high school and his two teenage kids. We met at the Imperial Mandarin for dim sum, and really stuffed ourselves on lovely Cantonese style food. There was plenty of it.

The pictures are of the dinner at Ching's. They also do a Mandarin-style breakfast there too, that we'll have to do some other trip as we ate constantly. *laughs* It was really good, though.

The Zoo was very crowded, but also really good, as we've been there often enough that we really don't have a lot that we have to see, but a lot that we can appreciate when we get to it. I think my favorite bit was getting to see the pandas yet again. I really loved that. On the most part we just wandered where the crowds weren't so thick, and got to spend a lot of good time in the aviary just watching the birds and the water and the plants. The white egrets were actually landing outside the netting, nesting all about the Zoo with all the ample food and water and all that, so that they were in a sense free-loading as were the common ducks. There was even a great blue heron that was just perched sleepily on a sign watching everyone walking along.

Yes, I do like the big birds. *laughs*

The best part, however, was just learning how to play Mah Jong with my parents. They aren't avid players, but did have a set and a table, so we set everything up in the livingroom and Jet and John got to sit with them and just play. John and Jet got ot learn how the Chinese numeric system is written in characters, and Mom had a great time trying to get Jet to pronounce the numbers correctly. *laughs* Jet started recognizing all the characters for the cardinal directions really quickly! That was impressive. I loved just sitting with everyone and learning the game in action, as I've read the instructions but it's different when the play is live. *laughs* Now I have better references for when the Saiyuki boys play mah jong... *grins* That should be fun.

So.. now we're on our way back, and stopped in Tucson to see the place as John never has. *laughs* Probably going to check out the cactus tomorrow and take it easy on the way back. We got into hotel before dinner, had a frantic but tasty dinner at Olive Garden (they were just packed), and celebrated the East Coast dropping of the ball at 10 pm here, with TJ's sparkling blueberry juice and a kiss for and from each of us.

Happy Happy New Year!
Tags: food, travel, zoo
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