To me, this photo captures the essence of San Diego, though I am not the one who took it. This was sent to me by my friend Albert William, who lives across the border in Tijuana. He was enamored by the beauty of this sign, and took a photo to show me its vivid color. Everything about this image, the strip club, the neon, the palm trees, the clear sky speak San Diego to me.
I first went there for a conference in October of 2017. I had no interest in the city itself, and truthfully my real interest lay on the other side of the border, in Tijuana. Nevertheless, the four days I spent in a Hawaiian-themed hotel in San Diego were memorable to me. The following excerpt from my diary was written on my first night in the city, hours after my plane landed.
"Sitting outside on the balcony of my hotel room. Listening to the sound of the freeway. Smelling like the mosquito spray I bought in Athens. Funny how Greece is all smells to me. First, the Queen of the Night flower, my Aunt’s kitchen, jasmine body lotion, and now this mosquito spray.
I’m grateful for an outdoor space when the weather is this nice. I think the thermostat is set to 74 degrees inside and outside I notice no difference. It’s October and I’m sitting on a balcony in San Diego at midnight waiting for a pizza to be delivered. This was either the best idea or the worst idea. I can’t tell yet. I guess in 15 minutes I will know. Something feels exciting though about ordering delivery from a hotel room. I can’t seem to recall that I’ve done it before in my entire life. There is something thrilling about the first time. I only have to life up the phone and food will come to me. And at midnight on a Tuesday no less. Outside there is only the noise of the freeway and a faux waterfall in the courtyard. I wonder why this hotel is Hawaiian themed when San Diego has its owns beaches and culture. Maybe it was too bland to be San Diego-themed in San Diego. But still, Hawaii feels a strange suit of this place."
- 12:07am October 17, 2017