Our first stop on the west coast grand tour was San Diego, a city that always strikes me as the ultimate example of having no there. I don't mean to be an SD hater, but it's an oddly detached place, especially for a big city with one of the busiest border crossings probably in the world. There's more of a tourism vibe than of an actual urban center. What I mean is, when I go to New York City, even having lived there, albeit briefly, I am always acutely aware of being a visitor to a place that (millions of) others call home: they have knowledge of and a claim upon their home that will likely always elude me. San Diego doesn't feel that way. You visit and think, right, this is a place that is entirely about T shirt shops and campy restaurants, in other words, by not living there, you're not missing much.
We were there for a wedding, which is the perfect reason to go to San Diego, and managed to pack in Legoland and a trip to the San Diego Zoo as well. The wedding was beautiful and entertaining, appropriately star-studded, and it was fun to see the other hotel guests going berserk because Leo and Justin had been sighted. Neither of them sends me (though I do like Justin's music, and think "Dick in a Box" is genius funny)--but had George Clooney or Ralph Fiennes been there, I'm sure I'd be a lot less blase.
We left for L.A. the day after the wedding, expecting to stay in a house I'd rented. Unfortunately, when we arrived (at 9 p.m., after meeting John's brother, sister in law and my mom for dinner) it was kind of a disaster: construction debris everywhere outside, not cleaned from the previous tenants inside, and with a redneckesque mattress laying in front of the garage. The H flipped out, and within an hour, we were installed in a hotel in Hollywood.
The next few days were a blur of playdates, mostly for the kids, Disneyland (again, mostly for the kids) and pre-awards obligations ranging from shoe shopping to cocktail parties, the latter distinguished by running into a dear friend and former colleague--one of the highights of the whole trip.
The slippery slide into "I don't want to be here", though, began when the H's publicist emailed him--she'd gained him (us) entree into The Silver Spoon, an awards season festival of companies attempting to publicize their products by giving them away to celebrities--otherwise known as swag. We had heard that this could be a motherlode of cool free stuff--who who wouldnt want to check it out? Between hair appointments (both of us) and lunch with his agent (the H), we booked over to Hollywood, kids in tow.
Stay tuned for Part Duh.