San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode III

This is the third segment of my recounting my trip to San Diego Comic Con in 2010. For the second segment, go here, and for the first segment, go here.

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode III

banners on the streets of san diego for san diego comic con 2010With the bags unpacked we ventured out from our hotel. We took a stroll down to the Gaslamp district for some shopping, supper, and to pick up some groceries. While leaving the hotel we could see Comic Con 2010 banners hung from the streetlights. These were set up throughout the city, increasing my excitement a hundred fold; the banners promoted the upcoming Tron movie. Not only were there banners, but there were also signs in almost every storefront window. These signs said that the merchants were supporting the convention. It really brought the entire city together. Previously when we had picked up our room keys, the person at the front desk asked us if we were going to dress up. We said no, but it turned out that the staff dressed up every year for the event! In addition, during the morning hours when I waited for Michelle to get ready I would watch the local news. Everyday the news would discuss what to expect for Comic Con. They would talk about how many people were flowing into the city for the event and gloss over various events happening throughout the city in support of it. It was amazing and reminded me of the influence that the Stampede has in our home city of Calgary, Alberta.

jk simmons as j jonah jameson from spider man 2J.K. Simmons, in a scene from Spider-Man.J.K. Simmons, in a scene from Spider-Man.An outdoor mall called Horton Plaza was just a block from our hotel and screamed sophistication. There were about four floors of various shops. Many of these were high-end specialty stores and department stores. We surveyed the shops and at our final stop we walked through an upscale Nordstrom’s store, where I saw J.K. Simmons who to me is famous for his role as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies and in Thank You For Smoking. I did not ask him for an autograph or photograph as he was with his wife and two daughters, but the fact that I saw him was astounding enough. I felt it was the perfect start to the vacation!

After walking through the out-door mall we tried to find a restaurant in the Gaslamp district. We made a large loop in the district and finally decided on a pub that we had seen at the very beginning of the loop; we can be fairly indecisive. The pub was cozy and made their own beer. TV’s hung from the ceiling but was not too loud. Michelle ordered southern fried chicken and I ordered enchiladas. Both our plates had enormous portions, which turned out to be the norm in San Diego. Our food was great and Michelle had leftovers. We also ordered drinks and they too were great. My beer was one of their in-house brews, and Michelle ordered a strawberry margarita that had a healthy dose of tequila. Following supper was a trip to a grocery store and then it was off to the hotel. Coming from Canada it was a nice to see liquor sold at the grocery store. This was expected, but what was not were the prices and selection. They had everything including hard alcohol, wine, and beer. Tequila was very cheap, but we opted for a six pack of a local brew and a bottle of wine that Michelle just had to have since it was called Château de Michelle. We also picked up snacks (both healthy and not so healthy) and in particular breakfast food items. One of the keys to making any trip affordable is to immediately visit a nearby grocery store and pick up food. This cuts down on how much you will spend at restaurants (limiting it to only suppers), and allows one to try more of the local foods.

Once back at the hotel we relaxed and put the food away. Eventually we left again to visit the 7-11 across the street. While walking over there we noticed how busy the Greyhound station was that buttressed one side of the hotel. This was one of the drawbacks to The Sofia hotel as this station attracted a number of sketchy individuals and had us walking a little faster than normal. Nonetheless, we entered the 7-11 on a mission to buy some of the Farmville products as Michelle was trying to get the codes for her Facebook game. This was the end of the day for us where we flew to San Diego and managed to explore a small portion of the downtown area near the hotel and get some food for the week. I always enjoy the first day in a new city for it holds so much promise, and it is wonderful when the city lives up to this, which San Diego does in spades. The Gaslamp district is amazing at night, but the areas outside of here (past The Sofia) are not so enticing. Our day was done and we then planned our second, full day in the city where we would travel to the Zoo.

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode II

This is my second post that recounts my trip to San Diego Comic Con back in 2010. Go here to read the first post.

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode II
san diego comic con hotel Room keys with Comic Con theme!
San Diego comic con hotel Room keys with Comic Con theme!

The week before we left for San Diego I was on another work trip. This one lasted about a week and a half and I arrived home the day before we left for San Diego. It was hectic to say the least! Despite this, Michelle and I managed to get packed and off to the airport early on a Sunday morning. The flight was about 3 hours long and was occupied by a few other people traveling to the convention. The flight was fairly uneventful, though I did geek it up by watching Doctor Who episodes on the Space Channel. When the plane came in for its approach, I was pulled away from the TV and began watching the city through the window. The approach was interesting for it takes the plane straight over the city of San Diego. The airport is situated close to the ocean so the planes (I guess) tend to land through flying low over the downtown portion of the city. We could see Balboa Park (filled with museums and the city zoo) and a fair bit of the city’s layout. Once landed, we filed through what appeared to be a small airport and grabbed a cab to our hotel. Our driver was nice, which was a trait shared by many of those who lived and worked in San Diego.

Our cab ride took us along the San Diego coast. The ride cost about $10 as the airport is very close to the downtown area. The drive was scenic as it gave us a glimpse of the U.S.S. Midway and other boats permanently moored. The cab dropped us off at our hotel –The Sofia- and we were quite pleased. It was a historic building made of red bricks with a small French bistro that had patio seating stretching onto the sidewalk. We dragged our bags into the hotel noting a life-like bronze statue of a businessman holding a magazine that stood by the front door. The entry way was classically furnished and friendly faces bustled behind the front counter. Businessmen and fellow travelers sat in the lobby with their laptops open, and later we discovered that this was the only place in the hotel that had free wireless internet. We checked in and were given Comic Con styled room cards; we received one with Tom Welling who played Superman on Smallville and one with Morena Baccarin from the recent V TV show. We had our choice of rooms, which was unexpected, but welcomed! We chose the top floor (5th). The room was incredibly tiny and had an east view, which didn’t show too much. The large windows looked out onto the downtown area, which from this angle showed only large uninteresting buildings and a Greyhound station below. The room itself was impeccably decorated in a modern style. The bathroom was memorable for it was small and had only a shower stall but without a door; only a sliding door separated the bathroom from the rest of the area. This resulted in large puddles of water spreading into the bathroom when taking a shower.