Picnic at the Aquarium

Yesterday afternoon we had a banquet on the lawn of the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was a fancy catered meal. We had dinner rolls, chicken breast, baked beans, tortillas, corn on the cob (probably the best I have ever eaten), fajitas all followed up by ice-cream novelty bars.

We then had free reign of the aquarium. It is not an overly large aquarium, but it was nicely laid out. They made good use of their space.

I then left the group after a quick run through the fish and headed out on my own. Though I have some good friends here, they all had much tighter relationships with this particular group. Some ofPicnic on the lawn these pastors and attendees have been meeting together annually for 27 years. This is my first time to attend this conference. I am definitely the outsider. So, I did not feel bad about taking off and leaving everyone behind.

Just outside of the aquarium area is a large shopping complex. It is not quite like a mall, more like an outlet store complex, except the stores are not outlet stores. A big jumble of just about anything high end. One of the more interesting stores I saw was the Segway store. You could rent a Segway for a few hours or all day. They were also a dealership. For $6K you could have a nice decked out machine.

I then buzzed over to Borders Books. I was pleasantly surprised by something that I had not experienced in a while. I went into the bookstore with my backpack. Being a good Mexican, I went right up to the front counter and asked them where I needed to store my bag. The lady looked at me funny and said that I did not have to leave it at the desk. That was a surprise to me after living here for 3 years. Every store here has a package counter where you have to drop off your carry in items before entering the merchandise area. I was suddenly brought back to a thought that I had 3 years ago, but had forgotten. Here in Mexico (at least in the stores) it is assumed that everyone is a thief. In the US, it is assumed that no one is. The truth is that in the US there are more high tech ways of catching someone at shoplifting than there are here. So you are still assumed to be a thief in the US, but as a regular consumer, you just don’t notice it.

I then made my way back to the church and asked for directions on taking the metro train/bus back to my hotel. One thing I have learned in Mexico is that you don’t ask someone for directions if they are walking. They are walking because they don’t drive. I should have used that knowledge to help me get back to my hotel. I asked a man in the church how to take the train/bus back to the hotel. Don’t ask someone who drives for directions on how to use public transportation.

He told me to buy an “all day” ticket when I got on the train. That would allow me to get on and off as many times as I needed for the day. Then I could use the same ticket to take the bus from the train station to my hotel. Not quite true. I ended up paying for 3 train rides (though I only rode once) buying that ticket and still had to pay for the bus. There is an all day ticket for the bus too. But, they are two separate systems. So you have to pay a fare on each.

I got back to my hotel just fine though. I had a bit of time to get ready for my sermon that night. I was pleased that, even though I was not originally on the speaking schedule, they let me preach. The man that I was supposed to serve as interpreter was not able to make the conference. Therefore, they let me speak in his place. It was an honor.

Krispy Kreme run

I found the Krispy Kreme today!

It was only a mile from my hotel. So I ran a mile to get there and a mile back home. A short run today that had a ray of sunshine in the middle. The KK donut was wonderful. Although it was not hot, it was still delicious.

I know what Dr. Monte says about eating things like Krispy Kreme, but it was a treat and a half to sit there and enjoy a donut right in the middle of the run.

It also must have given me something. The hill helped me down at a pace of 9:16. The donut gave me the strength for a 9:42 return up the hill.

Running the beach

Bluff Park, Long BeachYesterday I had one of the most incredible runs of my life.

Before I could get started, I needed to run by the drug store and print some pictures. I went to a Rite Aid that is just a few blocks from the hotel. The plan was to drop off the pics and pick them up in an hour or so. I took my memory card and ordered the digital prints. Before I finished filling out the paperwork on my order, they were done printing! I asked them to hold the pictures and I would pick them up after my run.

I then left the pharmacy and headed down Redondo Street in Long Beach towards the water. It was an enjoyable 77 degrees. It was about the normal temp that I run in back home, but this was refreshingly different. The two biggest differences were that I was running at 3:00 in the afternoon and it was only 77. Also the humidity was only 50%. We normally would have 100% humidity on my early morning runs. The lower humidity actually gave me chills at times during the run.

Some time was lost due to the fact that I had to wait to cross many streets. In Me at the beachmy morning runs here I have been able to run right through most intersections because there just isn’t much traffic in the morning. Not so in the afternoon. I also spent some time taking pictures. I felt like Adam Tinkoff. When he does his program, you more often than not hear him stopping to take pictures.

It took about 20 minutes to arrive at the beach. I was at Shoreline Drive and Bluff Park when I went down to the beach. I ran back towards the main downtown area of Long Beach on the concrete path. I knew I was getting close to everything, but did not realize how close I was to all the beach attractions until today when I was down at the Aquarium.

I then turned around and ran down to the water and back towards where I started. I ran under the long pier in the photo and then came back up to Shoreline Drive. I spent probably 20 minutes down there and then headed back to Rite Aid to get my pics.

When I handed the man my money, it was soaked. I apologized for the wetness of the money. I am sure he has seen it many times. People go to the beach with money in their pockets and come back all wet. I am not sure he realized that the water was not ocean, but sweat. The bills dripped. It was kind of disgusting.

My time was 1:11:00 for a 10:38 pace per mile. That is a great pace for that distance for me.

Running hills

My first big hill to runMy 3.3 mile morning run today included a 1/4 mile hill that had a 109′ elevation change in it. Going out on the run was downhill, coming back was up. Why did they have to put my hotel at the top of the hill?

It does not look like much of a hill in the picture, but it really was quite a hill. Especially for someone who is used to running on zero hillage.

I was looking for the Krispy Kreme on my run this morning. I had seen it a couple of days ago while I was out with someone else. We were in a big traffic circle and went off on one of the spokes when I saw the KK. Today I ran down that way and did not find it. On the way back from the run I convinced myself that the KK must be down one of the other spokes. I am pretty sure I know which one now.

I will head out there tomorrow morning (if I have time). That will let me kill 2 birds with one run. I will get my run in and I will also be able to eat breakfast. I know it can’t be healthy for me, but it also cannot be much worse than the hotel breakfast. I never noticed how much processed white flour is in everything they sell as breakfast food these days. I skimped by with a bowl of bran flakes, banana, bagel, boiled egg and apple today.

Tomorrow will be KK donuts.

The curse reveals itself

After my wonderful trip to Road Runner Sports yesterday afternoon, I went to Fry’s Electronics. I guess as a proof that the curse was still with me, I had an equally disappointing time at Fry’s.

I have been in several Fry’s stores through the southwestern US. I have learned not to expect the world from the sales staff. I was looking for a new mouse for my wife. She has a particular affinity for a certain style scroll wheel. I wanted to see if I could find one.

Though there were several mouses on display as part of a mouse/keyboard combo, they did not have any of the standalone mouses on a display rack. I found one that I wanted to touch and feel and asked the salesman if I could see a display model of that mouse. He promptly told me “No, we don’t have any displays of any of our mouses.” I said that I needed to touch it before I would buy it. To which he said that the package was form fitting enough to get a feel for the mouse. Well, of course, you can’t feel the scroll wheel through the plastic. I asked if we could open it, to which he said no. So, I told him I would not be making a mouse purchase that day. It was fine with him.

Then I took a stroll through the rest of that department. I saw 22 different mouses on display attached to computer display models. I would have laughed if I was not so angry.

I then wandered through the rest of the store not interested in purchasing anything after that.