Friday, June 25, 2010

Just a day on the town...

This little video clip was shot a few weeks back when I went up to the city again to pet-sit for a friend over a Saturday and went on a little trolley ride to downtown San Diego to catch up with a couple of long lost friends.

The first part of the clip was at my old favorite hang out, Filter Coffee House at the corner of 30th & Polk in North Park. It is a laid back place with good coffee and pastries and free WiFi where the neighborhood gays (in more ways than one) hang out. It is a real neighborhood coffee shop rather than a franchise like Starbucks'. No other cafe in town is quite like Filter... Heck, even the chairs and the corners in this place aren't alike. Every bit of the place has its own personality... And you even get your coffee or tea in a real mug instead of standardized plastic thingy you get at franchise places that can't wait to get you out of the place as soon as you have paid for your drinks!

I'm afraid the cheesy deep dish pizza isn't available at Filter, though. We (my friends and I) had moved on to Wolffy's Place in downtown then. The food is pretty good but a bit overpriced... which is quite typical of downtown eateries. The place specializes in Chicago dishes... And what is more Chicago than a deep dish pizza???

After some roaming around riding the trolley up to Fashion Valley and back, we passed through Lindberg Field (San Diego International Airport) just as a plane was taking off from SAN's single runway. We hopped off at the next station in Little Italy and ran right into the Sicilian Festival!

Little Italy is really a cool neighborhood of downtown San Diego with its colorful and individualistic buildings and shops... and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with sitting piazzas. The other neighborhoods in downtown seem to discourage public benches because they are afraid the homeless folks would take over them and scare potential customers away. I don't really know how Little Italy keeps the homeless folks out of the area... Perhaps I don't want to know...

I like the water. And so a trip to downtown isn't complete without a short visit to the Embarcadero. They are building on the Broadway Pier so I couldn't get on it (the tip of the pier was a great place to sit and relax while bay-watching with the local sea gulls and pigeons), but I did get there just in time to catch a ferry boat coming in from Coronado.

We went and walked around the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown... And passed by Balboa Theater at Horton Plaza just before a Mainly Mozart Festival concert. There was a street saxophonist there jamming with a street keyboardist. I had a second look and realized it was the same start up saxophonist who used to play by himself along 4th Avenue when I lived near there a year ago. The dude was just learning to play the thing on his own then... and really was more of a sound pollution than anything else (people threw him money for him to stop playing). It is amazing what a few month of determined practice can do... He can actually carry a bit of a tune now when he isn't doing little staccato jazz phrases.

Once that Mainly Mozart concert started, though, the street got quite quieter without the concert goers waiting in front of the theater. The street musicians moved with the crowd toward the restaurants row (4th and 5th Avenues between E and Island Sts). I was pretty well spent by then, though, and had to go back to the friend's to put the dog inside before he spotted a raccoon and started barking (and driving the neighbors mad(der than usual), so I hopped on the next bus#2 that came down Broadway and went back uptown.

I think one of my foreign friends asked about the terms 'downtown' and 'uptown' once. Downtown is where the concentration of city business is along with small flats on top of the shops that are just big enough to accommodate claustrophobic inhabitants. Uptown is the more spacious and affluent residential area a bit removed from downtown's commercial district... You know, where the abodes with backyards are.


Georg said...

Would have liked to sit myself in that Filter Coffee House. I think I know that person in red, on the left side.

There is a blog I liked to visit called "Coffee Messiah". He would have appreciated, too.

Georg said...

Hi Smorgy,

Just reading again the passage where you talk about those violinists playing Mozart's 1st Symphony and Eine kl. Nachtmusik.

Though I love classical music and especially Mozart, I don't think I am able to hear what you heard. My musical ear is probably very rudimentary und unexperienced.

May I ask you this, when you have some time to spare: give me two YouTube links of the same piece of music (preference Mozart, or Händel, or Haydn) to illustrate what you are meaning.

That would be a great help.