The Cal Clan’s home is about 30 miles north east of San Diego. Many times there has been a landing well after dusk, a shuffle through Immigration, Baggage Reclaim and Customs, followed by a courtesy bus trip to a car rental company and delays while paperwork and car allocation is made... This year the agony of fatigue and driving an unfamiliar vehicle at night was avoided.
“Eleventh floor,” said
the hotel receptionist. “Your room overlooks the city but there’s water both
Sleep came quickly that
night – though did not last long. The body clock dictates – and the body found
itself vertical all too soon. It was nearly 6am and the city was stirring.
Traffic hummed – and the sky was a blaze of deep oranges and yellows.
Full sun came – the city
was properly awake. Aircraft engines roared as movement resumed over at the
airport. Then a single bugle call floated up from across the harbour: Reveille.
It was start of day for the Marine Corps; a brass band played The Stars and Stripes and more bugles
replied. From the lighthouse out on the Ocean’s edge came the long low blast of
a foghorn, its note deep enough to rattle your ribcage.
And on TV, with tales of
Thanksgiving holiday traffic being disrupted because of bad weather and of One
Direction's Central Park show was Good
Morning, America. With the sun warm on the skin, with bushes and shrubs
still showing blooms in vibrant colours, it was indeed Good Morning America.
A recent chance encounter
with a Lists book played on the mind. ‘See the top ten attractions in San Diego’
had shouted the page in a glossy coffee table book on display at a garden
centre. Balboa Park? TICK. Coronado Island? TICK. Gaslamp Quarter? TICK. Old
Town? TICK... But there was one place not yet encountered. So, before heading
north to see the Cal Clan, there was a diversion to the San Diego Mission.
Then to head north. After stints on several freeways, an unplanned excursion through suburbia, the
security of the familiar was reached, Highway 101. There was a caffeine boost
at the old railway halt, the Pannikin, Such glee... Sight, sound, hearing, touch – what a great
welcome from America, from California
and from family all in a few short hours...