Thursday, August 23, 2012

In and Around La Jolla

Monday was my first chance to look around La Jolla properly. Brandy, having gone to work, had left me with her entire larder and fridge full of ingredients at my disposal (note to future hosts - never a good idea!). I spotted some English Muffins and some eggs and thought that the potential of these ingredients could only be fulfilled one way - Eggs Benedict.

So I moseyed into the village of La Jolla and, as well as getting a couple of supplies that Brandy requested, I went to Vons (this time with my membership card) so pick up ham and hollandaise sauce. Obviously, there was an entire aisle devoted to 'sauces'. However, at least 20% of these were mayonnaise of various descriptions and most of the rest were tomato- or BBQ- based pasta sauces. Hollandaise eluded me and the Vons rep, who wandered over to check on the Brit who had been staring at sauces for a good 10 minutes, in case I was planning some sort of sauce-based international conspiracy. After his third time checking with a colleague (It's on the bottom shelf! No it's definitely on the left!), I eventually found the stuff on the middle shelf on the right. In all the excitement, I forgot to use my Vons card, and failed to save 80c.

The picturesque village of La Jolla

So eventually I assembled my eggs benedict and savoured them and the efforts I went through to secure them...

Afterwards I drove up to Torrey Pines gliderport. When they say that this place is world-famous, I believe them - I've seen lots of videos of paragliding here and also people flying very simple sailplanes like the Goat ( So I thought it was well worth a look.


The pilots here are mostly restricted to flying on the cliffs, which almost always have an onshore sea breeze and therefore very consistent lift. They can go about 3 miles in each direction and up to 1800' above sea level (though this only happens a few times a year). Cross-country flying, inland and downwind, just doesn't seem to happen.

I had hoped to find a friendly pilot who could chat to me about what's going on at Torrey Pines. After a really awkward conversation with a guy in the supplies shop, who just asked me what I wanted to know and gave me the shortest answers possible, one of his customers took pity on me and Vance and I had a good ol' chat for at least an hour about the technicalities of soaring the cliffs, what it's like to fly a paraglider (I mentioned I'm hoping to learn in Nepal this year), full-sized gliders (Vance is currently learning at Sky Sailing at Warner Springs) and just talking aero-geek in general.

Afterwards, (and this is what appeals to me about paragliding), Vance laid his wing out on the ground, strapped into the harness, erected the wing and stepped off the cliff. No launch queues, no fees, just hop in and go. Eventually there were about 6 paragliders all floating up and down infront of the launchpoint, a number of which were tandem with people getting lessons, and many more up and down the cliffs.

Vance and chums

After enjoying the morning at Torrey Pines, I headed back to Brandy's for lunch, before donning suit and heading out to my second company visit. Which was just as interesting as the first, though with the added benefit of geting my hands on some of the 'kit' and being left alone in a room full of engineers in the technology centre who were playing with (sorry, 'developing') all sorts of cool bits of kit.

On the way back to La Jolla, I was driving down the freeway with my convertible roof down, my shirt and tie on, and good music playing. It was about 30 degrees outside and I felt every bit the successful Californian businessman! It was good fun and worth every bit of the extra price of the convertible car...

Brandy had pointed out a good beach to me the previous day, so as soon as I got back I got into my trunks and headed down to the beach. There was a small cove which had loads of swimmers and divers in it, plus a few people paddling, and almost everyone had snorkels or goggles on. Soon, it became obvious why, because while swimming out towards the first buoy (maybe 1/4 mile?) I was stopped by a seal suddenly appearing in front of me! He snorted a bit then slipped back under the water, completely out of sight, leaving my wondering where he had disappeared to.... 

The beach with all the seals (they are on the white rocks on the right)

Sunset over La Jolla

I then had just enough time to get back to Brandy's and change into normal clothes before we left, along with Brandy's neighbours Alex, Paulina and Guyana, to Old Town San Diego for a fantastic Mexican feast. Having never really had 'true' Mexican apart from the stuff you can buy from Sainsbury's, this was quite a treat and we might have been a bit ambitious with how much I could eat. I left absolutely stuffed.
Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment