Tuesday, June 10, 2008

San Diego Nights 1: The Beginning

Where do I start?

Four days of planes, booze, trains, booze, women, booze, food, booze, beaches, booze, and general craziness…

…and booze. I think I kissed my late 70s goodbye this weekend. And along with it went quite a lot of money. It’s tough to party in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter when you live on a Pittsburgh budget, but somehow we made it happen. There was way too much to cover in one installment, so for right now I’m just going to give you Thursday night.

We landed in Cali at around a quarter to 11 p.m., after a long eight hours of air travel. On our first flight, T.C. sat next to an elderly Russian woman who routinely produced containers of chicken and various other cooked foods from her carry-on (I guess those little bags of peanuts weren’t hearty enough for her) while listening to opera music at full-blast on her headphones (I could hear it from my window seat on the other side of the plane). By the time beverage service started on the second flight, I was ready for the getdown. Vodka-tonics, here we go. Two helped ease me through the next four hours of flight time. And while there were several good looking women onboard, it was the married man among us who found himself being talked-up by one. It says a lot about T.C.’s character that he didn’t discretely slide off his wedding ring; it probably says even more about mine that I would’ve.

The groom-to-be (GTB) called as we were getting into our room, and gave us two words: “Hard Rock.” We found him and his crew at Sweetwater Saloon, a bar on the ground floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. Beautiful women were everywhere, and most of them short on clothing—my type of place. Hurley and T.C. each opened a tab, and the three of us began pounding back the Red Bull & Vodkas and assorted shots. Those two tabs weren’t pretty by time the bar closed, and I still owe each of them money on them.

After about an hour, we were admiring some of the female forms on display when a young guy came hopping into the bar, charged up (on more than just alcohol, it seemed). Jumping up and down, dropkicking imaginary foes, he told us he had graduated from WVU and was the owner of a financial website. The startup business had taken off for him, he claimed, making him well over 200K in the past year. He then hopped up on a couch and began humping the back of the seat, while bouncers looked on (only slightly amused). After ten minutes or so (and a couple more dropkicks), he ran over to the other side of the bar to catch up with his buddy. Jokingly, Hurley turned to T.C. and I and said, “He’s probably going to start humping the bar.” No sooner had the words left his lips, than the Karate Kid did just that, throwing one foot onto the bar and thrusting at the cocktail condiments. Before closing time, he’d bought us shots of tequila (Hurley wussed out, walking out of sight and pouring his out) and offered me a $2000 a week job. If I had thought there was any truth to it, I would’ve typed up a resume on the spot.

Leaving the bar at the end of the night, we discovered that they have rickshaws in the Gaslamp, and the comedy of our three large persons being pulled in one was just too great to pass up. We stuffed ourselves into the back of a rickshaw piloted by a girl in her early 20s, who was about to get the workout of her life. GTB gave us a good shove to get her going, and off we went. She made it halfway up the long hill up to our hotel (with Hurley snapping pictures of her exposed thong) before we finally felt pity for her and hopped out.

The next night we saw her riding down the street and called out to her from a restaurant patio. She waved at us and forced a smile, but there was some cringe in there, too (which I took to mean, “I nearly tore a tendon, you sons-of-bitches; come near my rickshaw and I’m calling the police”). I was happy to see her still going, though. I was convinced that the poor girl would be in the hospital.

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