Last Thursday we finally moved out of the California Suites Hotel.
It had been an interesting three weeks, but the idea of a whole night’s sleep and the ability to “eat in” once in a while swung it.
Finding an apartment had been relatively easy. It’s off-peak (in seasonal terms) here in California, so many of the holiday homes are lying empty. Couple that with the prospect of a long-term let, and two 30 something tenants whose training regime sees them tucked up in bed by 9pm, and we were an attractive proposition for landlords.
We had, however, reckoned without the gods of the American banking system.
Going through the rentals site would have landed us with a whopping £60 visa charge (no paltry amount given our budget). Instead Irene, the owner of the apartment, suggested paying by money order. And so the fun began.
Money orders (like cheques, but someone else writes them out for you) can be acquired through banks, post offices, or supermarkets. However, you can scrap that first one off the list if you don’t have a US bank account. The latter will take debit cards, but UK debit cards come up as credit cards when you swipe them through their machines. And credit cards aren’t allowed.
That leaves the option of taking a wodge of cold, hard cash into the supermarket (we’re talking $2,000 here) and swapping it for the money order.
Aside from the security issues of cycling around on a beach cruiser with every pocket stuffed full of bank notes, most ATMs won’t issue you more than $500 on any given day. Long story short, it took two days, six attempted ATM withdrawals, one blocked card, two visits to the post office, three to Walmart, and we were done.
Here’s how Andy looked at that point. The irony of that sign in the background.
Anyway, after a “Last Night In The Suites” celebration that involved a heady trip to the garage and some dabbling with giant Doritos, we were ready to go.Turquoise St (between Pacific Beach and La Jolla). It turned out to be a Chevvy.
The luxury was however confined very much to the outside, as we crammed ever last centimetre with suitcases.
The lounging prowess of the bed got a solid testing, as did the sofa and the “office area”. I did a fair bit of over-enthusiastic squeaking about the size of the oven, and the fact that we are right next door to an Albertson’s supermarket. Andy logged onto the wifi within seconds (the Suites was solidly cabled and we’d been sharing a laptop) and we were settled in.
We celebrated with a couple of sandwiches from the deli across the street, recommended to us by Maurizio at Suples gym up at Atos.
As promised they were mind-blowing, though I suspect I will need around 4 hours of blistering Bulgarian Bag work to whittle the calories off my waist (perhaps this Maurizio’s way of making me commit).
After a tour of the neighbourhood, and the fact that we’d swapped the freeway for a scenic stretch of beach*, it was time to tackle the final hurdle. We’d left our monster beach cruisers up at the hotel (they were too big for the taxi) and now it was time to collect them.
Suffice to say, after four hours of moving and a giant sandwich, the last thing you fancy doing is taking another two hour round bus trip back to the old place. Especially when the 44 frequently resembles ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’.
Bike moving done, we holed up on the sofa with one of Albertson’s ‘Chicken Dinner Deals’. This is fast becoming our staple diet.
*Should the beach feel a tad too far, we also have two pools and a spa, a fitness room and a sauna at our disposal.
Sometimes Andy is overwhelmed by the beauty of his new surroundings.
I'm keeping a close eye on him, but I think he'll pull through.