Day 23 | San Diego to Long Beach and Queen Mary

This morning we had a breakfast at der Weinerschnitzel in La Mesa. Cheap shop-front food stand that was surprisingly nice.  The chilli-dog, hot dog with chilli-mince on it, was too delicious to be good for you and great value at $0.99 each and corn dogs (dagwoods) $1.29 each.  But Angus was hungry.  

We took a detour into Coronado Island and had a quick look through the Village and beach.  Access is by this really tall bridge.  This place was all beautiful homes, surf beaches and people walking impossibly small dogs.  Gorgeous.  There is also a big historical hotel there.  The Real Estate prices place this area as one of the highest priced in the US and so maybe we'll buy a little place there with the lotto winnings.  

Then there was the drive up to Longbeach, which is in the southern part of LA and home to the Queen Mary.  Today was Saturday and the traffic was patchy with some long slow stretches for this normally two hour trip.  There are some major roadworks happening which is another symptom of the improving economy.  

We arrived at Longbeach before we could check in so we bypassed the motel and made our way to the Queen Mary.  This retired passenger liner was purchased as a tourist attraction and run by the city.  They used to have the 'Spruce Goose’ but lost it but have gained a Soviet submarine.  It must be fun trading on the international attractions market; maybe they’ll get a Maori Waka canoe next.  

So, there’s a self-guided audio tour and some attractions tours and a huge range of options and combinations of them so becoming informed to buy a ticket takes forever.  We had to remind ourselves that this was run by the City so even though they’ve done it since the 1970s, everything was awkward and a bit difficult.  There were some classic grumbles heard from the visitor and guests on the on-board hotel, "Oh Gaad, it all looks the same, I’ve just come down and I have to go up!"; “Why can’t I just go straight there”; “How do you get off this thing!”.  

Maybe we caught a few people on a bad day or maybe city employees aren’t better lead but some of the customer service was seriously defective.  The self-guided audio tour uses this neat little tablet and headset that needed to be checked out.  The young lady issuing them eye-rolled her way through the process not listening to people and basically ignoring them, it was embarrassing.  Angus was looking for the candid camera.  The process was crap but she topped it.  As we walked away muttering about her and Angus made the comment “she’d starve on tips” and Rosie said ‘tips – she wouldn’t get any with that attitude’.   A lady in a seat we were passing said ‘I agree with you 100%, I heard you and I agree with you’.  Opps but obviously we were not the only ones feeling this way.   

Anyhow, the ship was interesting in parts, needs maintenance in parts and worthy of a quick look.  If we had all day we wouldn’t need it.  They seriously need to rethink how all this is shown.  Maybe we’ve been spoilt for the clever systems and interesting things we’ve been to.  It was awe inspiring the beautiful wood detailing and the feeling of the history oozed from every porthole.  Our Glory Days tour was lead by James a very enthusiastic gentlemen that was the highlight of the tour.

The submarine was an ex-service Foxtrot class diesel-electric submarine that demonstrated how crazy it must have been with the 70 plus crew on board.  

We checked in to our hotel.  This would have to be our worst one yet – all the others have been surprisingly good.  We decided to re-evaluate over dinner as maybe we were just tired.  Dinner was at Marketplace Grill and Diner which seemed to be a new venue and we were advised new concept of fast serve restaurant where you place your order, pay for it, sit down and they bring it to your table – which is very similarly to say – a cafe.  Mmmm maybe not quite a new concept.  We noted the police station outside which was next door to the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop – we giggled at this.  But of course had to go and get a doughnut.

Rest day tomorrow.