Saturday, December 06, 2008

December Nights 2008/Christmas In San Diego

I've been reading 'tweets' all day and while people across the country are dealing with rain, sleet, snow, and possible blizzards, I'm in beautiful San Diego where I have both doors and all my windows open. I have been cleaning, including cleaning up my backyard, and I'm marinating some chicken for the grilling I'll be doing this evening. So yes, I like seasons, but right now I'm ok with the San Diego-ness of San Diego this weekend.

That said, last night I went to December Nights with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my niece, Johanna. If you don't have plans today, I highly recommend heading down. We had no problem finding parking in a lot across the street from Modus that was $3 and walking a few short blocks up to Laurel to enter the park. More if you 'keep on reading'.

Actually, I should rewind a little. We started in PB at my sister's house, where Johanna zonked out to get ready for a big night ahead. This is my sister's Christmas tree, if you're not convinced we're a little different here in SD.

Since we came in from 6th Avenue, we crossed the bridge at Laurel and made our first stop at the Old Globe, where you could walk through the theatre to see the set of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and tons of Seuss-ified Christmas trees, decorations, and for $3, kids could pose with the Grinch. The bathrooms were open so we made a pit stop before wandering around the rest of the park.

Naturally the event is a popular one. The U-T estimates 140,000 people were in attendance. This means there are some areas that are just jammed, so it is a good time to exercise patience. Something I'm working on. This year the area in front of the Prado is less congested than last year because they put a beer garden in front of the Museum of Art and last year's Cirque du Soleil stage is gone. Unfortunately, this meant that the Taste of San Diego is a lot smaller and relegated to the lot in front of the Hall of Champions and Aerospace Museum. I'm not sure why the Taste of vendors faced the Carnival ride area, but they do and that area seemed to be the biggest cluster. I didn't really like that section...Carnival rides felt out of place for me and not really in the spirit of the holidays, but it's probably the biggest revenue stream so I suppose cannot be avoided.

After sampling some food from El Indio and Pampas Grill and grabbing some sweets from the Padres supporting Madres Bake Sale, we wandered back to the Organ Pavillion where a choir sang and the story of the birth of Christ were acted out.

This year we didn't even bother with the museums, but wandered around the park, guided by Johanna, who pretty much wanted to run everywhere after eating half of piece of pineapple upside down cake.

My favorite part is in the Garden Club room, where there are over 30 trees decorated by various groups in the greater San Diego area, including a Patriot Tree, where people can write notes to be delivered to injured soldiers recovering at the Naval Hospital.

We finished off the night finding the mistletoe vendor who told me the mistletoe was "guaranteed to work" and then finally wandering near the beer garden where the Bon Temps Social Club had a stage of Cajun/Zydeco music to advertise Gator By The Bay, which takes place every year on Mother's Day weekend.

It was a beautiful night and one of my favorite weekends in San Diego. I was pretty beat afterward and opted to call it an early night since I've got plenty of other stuff going on this weekend and in the upcoming weeks that spending a Friday night at home and getting a full night sleep wasn't so bad.

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