Thursday, 4 October 2012

The road is long...

…though winding turns are in short supply.

Here we are, on the balcony outside our room on the first real day. Cute couple, packed with youthful (*cough*) enthusiasm. It was time to trip up the road and check out Atos, the gym where we will be training on a daily basis.

This is the road outside our hotel. We’re looking happy, and in my case even a touch smug. Carlos had described the hotel as being about 1.4 miles away from the club, which makes it just around the corner in British terms.

Only there are no corners. Nope, it’s just a very long, six lane freeway. There are four ‘life-affirming’ (read ‘life-flashing-before-your-eyes’) crossings, if you choose to walk on the side with a pavement. The other option is a stretch of sand/weed/rock which reaffirms you are essentially moping around in the desert.

There are quite a few of these though. Also a deserted shopping mall where homeless people live in their vehicles. Over the days we’ve grown quite fond of the “car park of misery”.

So, to sum up, it’s about 92 degrees. Also, the gym is about 50 minutes away on foot. We are fast discovering that when Americans say “5 minutes away” they mean by car. The pavements are for decoration only and we soon notice folk giving us a wide berth when we approach. Presumably the logic goes that we must be too poor or crazy to be allowed an automobile.

Scorching heat + endless trudging along a motorway = dehydration and blisters. Boyfriend is looking a tad irritable at this point.

I once attended a personal development course where the leader made us rephrase the word “problem” to be “pro-blem”. For some reason, this was meant to help us see the issue as an opportunity to achieve and conquer.

Applied to the travel conundrum, let’s just say the following two things were more learning experiences.

1) Public transport. This is not London. You can’t just rock up at a bus stop, check the schedule, maybe even risk it and wait five minutes for one to arrive. Buses in San Diego run very infrequently (every hour and a half on a Saturday, not at all on a Sunday). That’s a lot of waiting at the bus stop. A quick glance around the fellow passengers onboard confirms middle-class America doesn’t use this as a way of getting around.

2) The search for the elusive ‘Jamba Juice’ store. Before we came to California, I was prone to evangelical outbursts about this smoothie outlet. I’d sampled a few in New York back in 2010 and saw it as a perfect addition to our new-and-improved healthy lifestyle. Day three saw us hiking up and down the freeway in search of the outlet we’d spotted a day previous. After an hour of “maybe it’s in this next mall” we decided it had been a collective and heat-infused mirage.

Look how stupidly happy I am when we found one a few days later though.

Here’s Andy doing his best “yes of course it was worth it darling” face. Followed approx. five seconds later by the inevitable brain freeze expression.

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