California and friends from long ago
On my last day in San Fran, Kiko took me to Sausalito and i enjoyed the scenic ritzy neighbourhood. It was simply
stunning! Had a stroll along the boardwalk and had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the waters. Then, we headed
towards the airport by passing through the "not-to-be-missed" Golden Gate Bridge. Had snapshots atop the mountain
adjacent to it and continued on our way.
LA and San Diego
In July, I went to Disneyland and Universal Studios in LA and to Sea World in San Diego.
My youngest son, Rap-rap, and I left Vancouver bound for LA on the 21st of July via Alaska Airlines. And I swear I will never
fly Alaska again. Imagine, the airline never phoned me that our flight was cancelled because there were not enough
passengers. It was a good thing that Ricky took us early to the airport (I dunno if it was because he was in a rush to get rid
of me, ha! ha!) because we were accommodated in the earlier flight. I hope it was not an omen for the days to come
because it didn't start out the way I wanted it to be.
So much for my complaints... but anyway, as expected, we arrived at LAX airport earlier than expected, so we had to wait for
my friend, Estella (whom I fondly call Meong), who picked us up at the original time I had advised (which was one hour
later). But she did come and picked us up and we headed to her place in Whittier. She's got a nice place. We did catch up
on our happenings since the last time we saw each other and didn't get to bed till late.
We woke up bright and early the following day and very eager to start our Disneyland tour. My first ride was the Matterhorn
and I was just unprepared for the spins and turns, which left me breathless and almost dying. I was screaming all the
time. After that I made Rap take all the roller coaster rides while I rested to gather up my wits and breath! But I did enjoy
the kiddie (?!) and corny rides, such as the Peter Pan flight, It's A Small World, Mr. Toad, etc. I really enjoyed the Pirates of
the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. I can handle rides but not the roller coaster ones. Rap did all those and more.
We opened the gates of Disney and we closed it in the evening. By the time we got home, I was tired to the bone. But it
was worth it. We watched their show and fireworks in the evening. Rap really enjoyed and had fun. I could never exchange
the enjoyment I saw on his face with anything in this world. It was priceless!
The following day, we again woke up to a bright and warm, sunny morning (a far cry from the cold and dreary Vancouver
weather) and again took our heels back to Disneyland for a second day of fun. We went to Toontown and because I
psyched myself to see it from the eyes of a child, I really enjoyed myself meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and all the other
cartoon characters. Then we went back to all the rides that Rap wanted to take again. By this time, I can memorize
Disneyland by heart. We were just walking back and forth like crazy - riding here and there, seeing this and that, shopping
here and there, and eating everywhere. It was really fun! I was really glad that Rap had fun. It was for his sake that we
went there in the first place.
The following day, Saturday, Meong and her family drove us around LA. She showed us "hollyweird" (Hollywood), went to
some of the stars' homes (which I was fortunate to see their "gates"!), went shopping at Beverly Hills, went to the Mann
Theatre to see the stars' fingerprints and footprints, walked along Sunset Blvd. and had a chance to walk through the stars'
sidewalk with their names emblazoned on it; then proceeded to Sta. Monica to browse around, especially their shops. Had
dinner at one of the fancy Italian restaurants in Sta. Monica and proceeded to browse and shop at the promenade.
The following day, Sunday, they brought us to the beach side of LA - went to Laguna Beach to enjoy its seashore and
surroundings; proceeded to Fashion Island to shop (of course!), then proceeded to Newport Beach to have dinner at one of
the best restaus in town. Had to head back early because we have to prepare for the trip to San Diego.
Meong bought me a round-trip train ticket to San Diego. Take note, first class! Rap got to ride for free. Anyway, Meong took
me to the train station first thing in the morning and we arrived in San Diego at 9am. Fred & Cyd Gallardo, whom I used to
work with at the Philippine Parliament, picked us up and we had breakfast overlooking San Diego Bay. Fabulous view of
the bay with the navy ships passing by. I was hoping to meet a navy officer, but I guess with Rap tagging along, it was an
impossibility, ha! ha! Anyway, I had to remind myself to behave because I was with him. After a hearty breakfast, they took
us to see almost everything what San Diego has to offer. It's a small city and the views are fantabulous! I like it. We went
to Coronado City because I had to see the Coronado Hotel which is known to have ghosts (ngii!), then drove along the
Silver Strand. It's awesome! Then went to Cabrillo Island to have an aerial view of San Diego. It's simply breathtaking!
Had lunch at National City, which is a Filipino community, and I enjoyed the halo-halo. It's yummy! I missed it. I never had
it since I left the Philippines. Well, in Vancouver where the temp could go down to zero degrees, I don't think "halo-halo"
would come into mind.
They then took us to a resort where we just enjoyed the scenery and reminisced the past. The last time I saw them was in
1986. Just imagine the lost time that we have to make up for. Anyhow, went home to their lovenest in Escondido and their
house is situated on top of the hill. Really nice and cozy. In fact, it's really, really nice. Had dinner in San Marcos in a strip
where it's like an outlet with different restaurants to choose from. It's really neat! Rap wanted Japanese cuisine, but since
it was a Monday, it was closed. I couldn't eat spicy food so we didn't try Mexican cuisine. I opted for the Fish House
because I love fish. The food was heavenly! Went home tired but satisfied.
Woke up early the next day to a foggy and cloudy morning. But the sun finally shone. The weather in San Diego is not as
hot as in LA, which is fine with me. I already got tanned in LA, I don't need anymore. Off to Sea World. Yes!!! This is the
moment I have been waiting for. If Disney was for Rap, Sea World was for me. I immediately took hold of the map so I can
memorize where the shows for the whale, dolphins and sea lions would be held. Since the shows don't start till 9:30 and
we were there at 8:00 (again, we opened the gates as usual), we just toured the place. We went to see the penguins,
manatees (I hope I spelled that right), and other animals. Then we watched the dolphin show. I made sure we weren't in
the splash zone - too killjoy to be wet. But I really had fun. I just laughed with delight. Rap was laughing at my laughter,
can you beat that? I enjoyed it so much that we had to watch it again.
Then we went to see the sea lion show. Again, I was just reeling with laughter. I laughed till I cried. I never enjoyed myself
till then. The other kids were staring at me because I was laughing my guts out. (Pardon the pun...) I just dropped
everything and simply enjoyed the show. It was a delight for me. To rest myself from giggling, I waited for Rap while he
was riding the Rapids (he wanted to get soaked, what else!), then we had lunch. Very expensive. I wanted to tell them that
I came to buy the food, not the place. Oh well, I guess that's what you get for being a captive audience.
Anyway, off we went to see the Shamu Show. The whales were simply fantastic! Again, I really enjoyed myself. And I also
made sure we were not in the splash zone. Then we went back to see the dolphin show again. They're really delightful.
Then we went to try the Arctic ride. It was an entirely different experience altogether.
Finally, we capped the day by watching the bird show. You should have heard my ooohs and aahhhs because the birds
are really awesome. It was handled very uniquely. We went home too weary from a fun-filled day. I really, REALLY had
fun! Had dinner in a Chinese restau to cap the entire day.
Again woke up early to another cloudy day. Off to San Diego Zoo. Had free passes to the zoo from Fred who works as the
city manager (big boss of the City of San Diego). Dropped us off and we took the bus tour around the zoo. Well, I guess
Rap and I said hello to almost all the animals in the zoo. ha! ha! Then, Fred picked us up later in the afternoon and
dropped us off to the train station for our return trip to LA.
Took the train back to LA and was picked up at the station by my friend, Lori, whom I haven't seen for the past 25 years. I
was so ecstatic seeing her again. Took us home to her warm abode and had dinner which she prepared for us. Imagine
the board topnotcher in nursing preparing a home-cooked meal! I was impressed. Didn't get to bed till past 2am, making
up for lost chismis, you know.
Lori dropped us off at Universal Studios the following day. Rap and I immediately took the tram that takes you around
Universal, complete with sound effects, lights and all those tricks, like meeting King Kong, Jaws, the "quake", the bridge
falling down - along the way. It was neat!
Then we went to "Back to the Future" where I was jostled and hassled inside the car. I came out with bruises (agh!) but
otherwise okay. At least, I was still alive to enjoy the ET ride, the Backdraft, the Wild, Wild West show, the Beetlejuice show
(which I really enjoyed), and the Watershow. Each show has a distinctive character of its own and each of them was as
entertaining as you could imagine. It was really neat. Of course, Rap enjoyed the Jurassic Park ride the most. As always,
he wanted to get soaked! We capped the day by experiencing the "Terminator", you know 'hasta la vista, baby' superhero,
Arnold S. And of course, we couldn't leave the place without browsing through all the shops and buying stuff, right?
Anyhow, Lori picked us up late in the evening and went home to another home-cooked meal prepared by her. Appetizing,
indeed, after that fun-filled day at Universal. Then she transported us to Sonia's house, another ex-classmate of ours who
lives in the ritzy Encino neighborhood. (Just imagine living next door to Michael Jackson) Toured her mansion that is huge,
complete with a pool and a tennis court. Awesome!
The following day, Sonia took us to downtown LA and I was disappointed with what I saw. It was like an improved version
of the Philippines, the heat and the "smell" included. I went shopping for bargains (what else is there?) and then
proceeded to have lunch in a Filipino restaurant. As I repeatedly said, I missed Filipino cuisine. I heartily enjoyed the
meal. Then we took the afternoon leisurely by going to her office first and then to the Observatory. Unfortunately, we had to
leave early because a mini-reunion was going to be held at her house in my honor. Four of our other ex-classmates from
high school showed up and I was overwhelmed to see them once again after 25 long years. Some people just never
change, I tell you (like me, ha! ha! - still the naughty one.) Thoroughly enjoyed the evening amidst the laughter, fun and
reminisces of the past.
The following day (July 31st), Sonia took us to the airport for our return flight back to my beloved Vancouver. As expected,
our flight was delayed. We were in the airport for 4 hours (that's why I said I would never take Alaska Airlines again!).
Returned to Vancouver and proceeded straight to my sister's place in Coquitlam where another party was going on to
celebrate the death anniversary of our father. I was just too relieved and happy to be back and see familiar faces once
By Susie ‘Chie” R. Cuñada
This narrative is Susie’s earliest edition of her “Travelogue,” focused more on her personal impressions about almost
everything rather than descriptions of the places she visited. She carried no digital camera then, but her retentive memory
compensated for it. – Ed.
I celebrated my birthday in San Francisco. My plane fare was my husband Ricky's birthday gift to me.
I arrived almost midnight in San Francisco (the plane was delayed), and my friend, Tessa, (whom I fondly call Kiko), picked
me up at the airport. When we got to her house, we chatted till 3 in the morning. We made up for lost 10 years ... she was
my college classmate at Santo Tomas in Manila.
I slept in the following day and started late going out. I already warned kiko that I don't cook, so guess what, the whole time I
was there, I woke up to freshly cooked Filipino breakfasts. Later, we cruised along the Embarcadero and were caught in
traffic due to the parade; went to the crooked street; proceeded to the Coit Tower to have an aerial view (sort of) of downtown
Frisco; then proceeded to the Fisherman's Wharf for a wonderful lunch in an Italian restaurant, served by the most
handsome waiter in town.
View of Coit Tower-Photo
Fisherman's Wharf-Photo credit: Wikipedia
After lunch, we strolled along Pier 39 and waited
for our ferry to take us to Alcatraz. It was very
windy that day although it was sunny. Kiko was
laughing when I told her that I should have
prayed for both sunshine and NO wind. I just
prayed for sunshine only. But anyway, I was
freezing while eating ice cream. I know it was
completely moronic but I had to eat their ice
cream at the Pier. It was so delicious that I was
shivering with delight. Anyway, we got to Alcatraz
and had a guided tour. Very interesting. We
were instructed to don the audio tape and follow it. had lots of nice shots, really.
That evening, we had dinner at the ever-famous Castro St., you know, where the gays are. The restaurant was full of them.
They were even teasing me because all the men that I saw and met in San Francisco were all good-looking but, sadly,
mostly gays. They looked macho but they were really "mujeres,” a spanish term for girls. Anyway, we cruised along
Castro St. and you could see men holding hands and kissing each other. What an experience...
Pier 39 and Alcatraz. Photos credit: gocalifornia.com
The following day, they (Kiko and
her hubby) took me to Carmel-By-
The-Sea and Monterey. We had a
wonderful lunch in an exotic
restaurant and browsed through
their shops. Very nice. We
cruised along the 37-mile Drive
and had a scenic tour of the
place. Very, very nice. It was a
long drive so I could hardly keep
my eyes open during the ride
home. We had dinner in a
Chinese restaurant to cap the day.
The following day, Kiko took me to Napa Valley for the winery tour. We visited Coppola's Winery. You know Coppola, the
ever-famous producer-director? Well, he owns this winery and it had a museum of his "works of art" on the second
floor. Very nice and interesting. We then toured some more wineries, bought some wine, then had lunch at Bistro
Jeanty which, to me, was the highlight of my stay there. The food was terrific!!! My description would only fall short of
what it offered. Let's leave it at that. Not to mention that it had good-looking waiters as well. Anyway, after lunch, we went
shopping!!! i bought a birthday present for myself: a nice pair of shades (bolle).
|Castro Street and Napa Valley. Photos credit:
The following day, which happened to be my birthday, we went downtown,
rode the cable car, went to Ghirardelli Square for lunch and browsed
through the shops along Fisherman's Wharf. we could not get far because
we had to go back to pick up our other friend, Venus, another classmate
from UST. They treated me to dinner in another Italian restaurant and
capped the night with reminisces of the past. Took her home past
midnight, too dog-tired to do some more chatting.
The following day, i went ALONE to San Fran downtown. took the train
(BART) and toured the city. went window shopping at all the big stores, like
Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, etc... went to Chinatown
after getting lost because i couldn’t figure out the east from the west.
Anyway, it was a refreshing experience for me. That evening, Kiko showed
off her culinary expertise, so we just enjoyed a quiet dinner at home.
The following day, i went shopping at the outlet stores and this time i
bought some stuff. Unfortunately, we had to go home early because a
male friend of mind was picking me up for dinner. I used to work with him
at the Philippine Senate. Anyway, Danny showed up and took me to the
ritzy part of town. Went shopping again and, this time, i felt weird because
it's been a long time since i went out with a male who would follow me
around and would carry my purchases. I even told Ricky that. he used to
do it for me but not anymore. Now he has the kids to do it for him.....
Anyway, we had dinner and chatted....then he took me home.