Sister Soljah
April 14, 2004
San Diego Trip

What a great trip! I haven't been away on an actual vacation for a while. Flew out early Friday...hung out waiting for my flight while having a cup of coffee and cheese croissant and I couldn't believe people were already drinking alcohol at 9 in the morning. That's just crazy...makes one wonder what the rest of their life looks like. Anyhow... It was an interesting flight. I sat next to this lady and she talked my ear off the whole way but she a nice person. This is one of the things she said though (and I was hijabbed so she knew what i was)...but she was telling me how she was visiting her boyfriend in Denver and how he was Persian "but he's not Muslim or any of that stuff." Like she was validating his existence as a person because he wasn't Muslim. Just found that interesting. Then she went on to tell me that he was an alcoholic etc. Weird flight. I sat next to a pilot in training and first he hogged the armrest which i think should have been shared. Then the reek of stale alcohol just poured from his skin making me naucious. I got up to use the restroom and the restroom in the front of the cabin was closer than the back so I went that way...right next to the cockpit. The flight attendant said "You should use the one in the back." I asked why and she said "You just should." I told her this one was closer and was the one everyone else was using. She said, "You need to use the one in the back." I guess it was just too close for a Muslim to be that close to the cockpit. Irritating.

A friend's brother actually missed his whole vacation because of this type of stereotyping. Security questioned him so long that he missed his flight and then they booked him on another flight to the wrong place and his luggage was in another he never made it. Then they told him he had to get his luggage from the place it was and then wanted to search it before he took it home. When I hear this stuff, I get so mad. The random checkings aren't random...they have settings in the system to pick up Middle Eastern names, etc. I haven't had that luxury - Thank God - since my name is very American. I would lose it with those guys if I missed a vacation with my family because they thought my name was suspicious. I would probably end up arrested for telling them a few choice words.

The trip itself (the actual being there) was awesome though!


Flew into sunny San Diego and went to my friends place right in Ocean Beach which is the coolest area there. The window from my room overlooked the ocean. Pretty sweet. We walked down to the beach and ate fish tacos and strolled around. We hadn't seen each other in so long. We then walked down to Sunset Cliffs and watched the sun go down. So beautiful. That's what's so great about the west coast. The big ball of fire dropping into the ocean. There was a wedding across the street and that against the sunset was just awesome. We planned on going to this Yogi/Hindu restaurant but they close sporadically to chant and stuff so you never know when they are open or closed but they are supposed to have great Neatloaf...meatloaf without the meat that tastes just like meatloaf so i was looking forward to it. But they were closed for three weeks for a spiritual retreat so we walked to a local Mexican restaurant which actually had a really good vegetarian menu...enchiladas (one tofu, one bean, and one guacamole) covered in mole sauce (i guess it's chocolate). Good stuff. Looked at the wild parrots which is strange in itself. Then we saw a skunk in the yard and decided to follow it around for a while. They played the guitar for me for a little bit, had a nice chat and crashed.


Got up and went and did a geocache (they are hooked now...i love it). Then we went to the San Diego museum area which is so cool. There are so many museums in a huge massive park. We went to the Friendship Garden (a Japanese garden) pretty. Then the International Houses where they have individual houses set up as individual countries. Pretty cool. The botanical gardens was the best though... San Diego itself has so many varieties of trees, flowers, and plantlife. You feel like you are in a garden wherever you go which is ironic because it's a desert and nothing is native but a few things but everything grows so well there. I walked around in amazement taking pictures of trees. They are just so cool. I'll post pictures once they are developed.

After there we went and checked out an open house and you wouldn't believe real estate there...expensive...800 square foot house for $579,000 - unbelievable! But it is so nice there that they can charge whatever and the houses will sell. Then we went to dinner with my friend's family and that was going to be amusing as his Dad was going to set me straight on being a Muslim but he didn't get a chance. My friends aunt said: "Who does she (me) remind you of?" He didn't know. Then she said "Trista - she's so crazy." She was calling me crazy. People do that often because I can be animated and goofy and energetic at times. I tend to have a wacky personality. It was cute though and I laughed cause I know what she meant.


San Diego Zoo...kind of forgot it was Easter and that was interesting as I had always gone to church services on Easter. I missed the mosque this weekend too - they were actually open to going but we didn't make it. Anyhow, this zoo is amazing and huge. Loved it and we spent all day there looking at the foliage as much as the animals. You know when i look at animals and plantlife and birdlife I am just amazed at God's creativity. It's just amazing. Such variety in animals, people, nature, all of it. The whole zoo/museum/Balboa Park area covers miles of land...such a great place to visit. It was a really good day. Then it got real interesting.

Played Scategories and had fun with that. We were all so tired that are answers were stretching quite a bit but it was fun to play a game.


Then we went to Coronado Island which is just awesome. The beach there is sweet. Played with anenemies (spelling?) and other sealife around the rocks. Strolled through the famous hotel there that was built for aristocrats...decided it wasn't our style so went to have coffee with more local flavor.

Found another cache or two in some cool areas. It's just so pretty there. Then we went to Mission Beach and Pacific Beach and walked the boardwalk. Each little beach area has it's own flavor and style and all amusing. Like Ocean Beach where they live is like a beach bum Haight Ashbury...leftover hippies and funk. I think it's my favorite. But the boardwalk at Pacific Beach was great for people watching. All walks of life can be found there. Finished our coffee then went for a geocache at this Catholic University on the cliffs of the amazing campus. We took the indirect route in and ended up in a construction area climbing ladders trying to get to the top of the hill. But it was so much fun trying to find that one. At the school there was the first Greek amphitheatre in California built in 1903. Really beautiful with the ocean behind it.

Pretty interesting talk at an Indian restaurant for dinner and the food was great...Indian buffet. The mango mousse was awesome and the samosas. Eating vegetarian was easy in San Diego...there's so much variety at every restaurant.


It was nice waking up to friends for those days.

Headed back to the house to go to the airport and flew out. Had a three hour layover in Vegas which kind of sucked since I don't gamble. In my past life I would have ran to the strip to play poker (I used to play semi-professionally and made good money doing so). But instead I looked for a place to pray behind slot machines. Realized I had an animal on my shirt too, so skipped it. I don't think the prayer would have been valid between the location, the shirt, and privacy issues. If you ever want to feel like an animal at the zoo...walk around the Vegas airport wearing a scarf. It's such a contrast. I looked at the lonely people slapping last minute quarters into slot machines stars in their eyes hoping for a big win before leaving Sin City and I understand why gambling is haram. I do miss my poker playing as its thrill is the mental challenge as well as the easy money that can be made. Occassionally, I want to play but don't.

Found a haven to read in and started reading "Struggling to Surrender" which is a really good book written by an American convert to Islam and I can really identify with the book. Then it was home sweet home. No matter how nice it is to go away, it's always nice to head home too. And when I got into the car the appropriate tune was on the radio - Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound."

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A recent convert to Islam...finally found what I was searching for. I am a writer and love to read and learn. I also love travelling and getting to know new cultures and ways of thinking.

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