1. Fish-cioppino at Vigilucci’s and mahi mahi tacos from South Beach in OB.
Fresh Nepalese trout and those tiny battered and deep-fried street-side fishies are great with a beer, and how interesting was it to crunch the entire crispy critter, heads and all? Remember the Monterey Aquarium Seafood App and Californians discussing fishing sustainability? Ah, to be a fish snob for a little while more…
2. Costco-issue earthquake preparedness kits.
I’m sorry I chuckled dismissively at them when my parents got them for everyone in the family at Christmas, instead gloating over my new iPod. Only when you leave California do you realize and appreciate how prepared and responsible Californians are when it comes to earthquakes.
3. People coming to complete stops at stop signs.
There is an ease of driving here and I can’t believe this aspect actually used to bore me. I used to prefer the frantic chaos of third world streets and the ability to do a U-Turn whenever or wherever I felt like it. After recently getting into my first scooter accident, however, I’d be very happy with the enforced 30 mph speed limit of the 101 between La Costa and Carlsbad. And I now appreciate being forced to come to a complete stop at stop signs in Oceanside, even at 5:30am when there’s no other traffic.
4. Not having to wear a face mask, thanks to emissions-controlled vehicles.
It used to be fun to ride around on the backs of tuk-tuks and on the tops of buses, but now it’s not as dare-devil brilliant because now I have to wear an uncomfortable facemask. Theoretically they help cut through the black clouds of burning fuels pouring out the exhausts of the other vehicles. But they can’t filter it all, so then I simply just try not to breathe very much. I don’t want to hold my breath because I’m stuck behind a 3-wheeled contraption blowing clouds of hot pollution.
I’m over it. Buckle me into my mom’s new Volvo and send me down the 5 to UTC mall. Plop me at the Arclight Cinema where I can order a chicken pesto sandwich on a pretzel roll and a martini, at my seat.
5. Walking along the coast from Carlsbad down to Cannon Road and back.
I used to think this was repetitive and simply sad, given all the other choice walks in San Diego. Now I embrace its secure familiarity. Plus I actually find pleasure in hearing locals gossip about the other sun-kissed walkers they’ve been watching for 20 years. Just like a soap opera, many have had a little work done, they still look the same, and the story hasn’t changed much. You’ll see the little old lady with the hunched back, purple hair, tattoos and heart-shaped sunglasses. You’ll ask her about the Green Bay Packers. Every time. I miss that consistency.
6. Drinkable tap water.
Even thought there’s a drought in California, there’s still more water than in Nepal or some other countries. Speaking of water, it’s hard to shake the chilly waves of the Pacific Ocean, mermaid-shaped water features, and clean saltwater swimming pools with hygiene regulations.
7. Wearing super tiny tank tops and short shorts in public.
When it’s hot, wet, and sticky, sometimes you just want to get your legs out. In San Diego, you can get away with that, no matter your age or condition of your legs.
8. Well-endowed and compact blonde people at the Forum in La Costa walking around in Lulu Lemon pants.
Man, that place looks like a movie set. I used to like to pretend it was my reality and that I could actually afford Anthropologie clothes. And that I actually liked them.