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We woke up a bit late and had doughnuts and coffee for breakfast. Then we went to the Oceanside library to attend reading session for babies. It was quite fun for Noe to meet other babies and to play around.
In front of the library, there are many military uniform shop that displays slogans supporting US troops in Iraq.
On our way back home, again we observed how Californian are obsessed with big SUVs.
We saw this campervan with a funny shape.
Architecture Pilgrimage: The Salk Institute by Louise I Kahn
We went home and had lunch. Ira made us Sayur Asem and Tempe Goreng, how delicious! Then we drove to La Jolla because Indi and I wanted to have an architecture pilgrimage by visiting the Salk Institute, which was the work of Louis I. Kahn. It was truly an amazing piece of work, but the buildings at the plot of land next to Salk Institute was constructed without consideration of Salk Institute. Hence the vista at the central court of Salk Institute is now interrupted by a warehouse like building at the north side. But we still could imagine how it was like when it was just recently built.
Scenic Torrey Pines
Then we drove up to Torrey Pines where we saw the cliff that overlook the Pacific Ocean. This is the place where people also do paragliding. We saw a lot of used condoms at Torrey Pines parking area, telling us what makes this secluded place so popular.
Downtown La Jolla
Then we went to downtown La Jolla, to the park, and we walked south to see the seals, who were resting (and also breeding) by the beach. These seals are protected by the US Law since they were used to be hunted by savages for the fur.
We walked back to the downtown area to do some shopping at the shops with SALE sign. When there is a sale in US, it was a serious sale and the price was really dropped, compared to "fake" sale in Singapore and Indonesia. Here we also met firefighters who stopped by the pavement. We asked them whether there were fire in the neighborhood, and they said that they were just there to buy some stuff from the shop across the street. How unheroic :>
We continued to drive to Horton Plaza in San Diego to have dinner and to buy some souvenirs. We had mediterranean food for dinner, and I did some lingerie shopping.
San Diego Zoo and Todai Japanese Seafood Buffet
The next day, 11 January, we woke up, had breakfast, and drove to San Diego Zoo, which is reputedly one of the best zoo in the world. The zoo was really big so we had to rush to explore only part of it. We took a bus tour that showed us most part of the zoo. Then we had to check out of the zoo to go to Todai, which is a Japanese seafood buffet. We think the Japanese buffet in Singapore is better and more authentic than the bastardized version of Japanese food in Todai.
Then we went back to the Zoo. Since we had only little time, we decided to only go to see animals that are not available in Singapore zoo, such as polar bear. First we went to the reptile house, and see various snakes, including really big anaconda. Most of the snakes were sleeping in daytime.
Then we went to take the Cable Car, and it was freezing cold up there in the Cable Car! We could see airplane making their approach to San Diego Airport, which is very close to downtown. Then we went to the Polar bear exhibit, where the zoo kept the ambience to fit Arctic summer.
Then we went to see the Jaguar and Panda. We also saw Javanese Banteng and Cendrawasih. We saw gorilla then proceeded to see orangutans and siamang (which has Indonesian names). Indi was impressed with an orangutan called Clyde who was 30 year old and weighed 127 kilos! A gentle giant was what he was.
We had to rush back to Oceanside to have dinner with Ira and Mike. Mike chose to go to the Albanian Mediterranean restaurant at Carlsbad. The food was okay, but I think it was not spicy enough for me.
The next day we went to walmart to buy stuffs that were not available in Singapore or are cheaper than buying them in Singapore. We had to buy a new suitcase because of the volume of shopping. We continued to Oceanside downtown trying to locate a Mexican grocery shop, but couldn't find one. Instead we went to US military shop, where Yodhi bought many hats with the new digital military pattern. We continued to Carlsbad factory shopping for another shopping spree, but not before having a lunch at Panda Express (it was delicious! Love bastardized chinese food).
We thought, how come there is no Indonesian fast food restaurant that can be as successful as Panda Express? We're sure that Indonesian food is as appealing as (or even more so than) Chinese food, but why hasn't it ever been successful?
A Drive through Californian Sunset
Anyway, when we'd finished shopping it was already 3pm, and we hadn't started packing, and we had to be in LAX at 7pm. Moreover, we had to drive to LA during rush hour, which could be hellish. At 3.30pm we arrived back in Ira's house, and we frantically pack everything into the suitcase, and luckily Noe was sleeping so the packing process wasn't interrupted. At 4.30 we're off to LA. The traffic was OK until we reached the fringe of LA where it became really congested.
Nevertheless it was a nice drive through the Californian sunset, with its cable power running by the side of the road, palm trees along the roads, and busy traffic on land and in the air..
We arrived at the car rental area exactly at 6 pm, but we had no time to go to Mexican grocery (I'm so sad!). Fortunately the car returning process was very straightforward so we managed to get to the airport at 6.40pm, just in time for the check in process.
Enough of Philippines Airlines
The lady in the Philippines Airlines took a long time to check us in, because she needed to check our residence status in Singapore. We tried to persuade her that we didn't need visa to go to Singapore, and moreover we are permanent residence, but she insisted to check it first. We thought it is unecessary. Moreover, the PAL crew almost mixed up our luggage, luckily, we spotted it just before they put the wrong sticker onto our bag.
Then we had dinner at the same spaghetti place as the one we went when we arrived in LA for the first time in December. The sourdough bread in the restaurant was totally delicious (where can I get sourdough bread in Singapore? I crave for it).
The security check is tight, as usual. No shoes liquid etc, and Indi had to open the whole laptop bag. I wonder why airport security check is not made more streamlined and easier for passengers.
We flew using B747-400, and were seated at the furthest back end of the plane. Indi's seat couldn't recline and the in flight entertainment system didn't work. For me it's not a problem because I slept during the whole journey, or trying to entertain Noe. We stopped over in Guam for refueling, and in the mean time, I needed to go to the toilet, and the toilet didn't flush. And then the flight attendant blamed me for putting toilet paper into the toilet bowl and causing the toilet to jam (I thought toilet paper is meant for toilet bowl?) Generally we were not totally satisfied with Philippines airlines.
We arrived 5am in Manila and had to transfer to the Manlia Singapore flight. We repeated the same transfer procedure that we experienced one month ago, involving five different security officers (at the desk, before the elevator, before the departure lounge, before the security check, and one security officer that accompanied us along the way), only to get to the departure lounge.
Back In Singapore with A Nice Surprice
After almost four hour flight we arrived at the cloudy Singapore. We automatically switched our tongue to Singlish so that the taxi driver would understand what we're talking about.
When we got home, we were greeted by a nice surprise. The dinner table was filled with goodies and flower from our neighbour the Fox family, who has been taking care of the house while we're away. And also, the floor was really clean too. We were really grateful of the Fox family kindness.
We quickly unpack and dozed off. Tomorrow we're back to reality of harsh working life in Singapore.