Eventually we found a spot.
I am not a beach person. I understand that many of you are. My view is more like the Dead Milkmen's "Beach Song".
When I was kid, I loved the beach, but as an adult the sheer logistics of hauling stuff there, setting up umbrellas, keeping sand out of Diet Coke and food, and locating bathrooms without junkies sleeping on the floor, is just a pain in the ass.
We all, I think, have this idyllic view of the beach we WANT to be on, popularized through beer, cruise line, and resort ads: a perfectly smooth white sand beach, devoid of all but a handful of young, attractive people, bright sun, icy buckets of beer, no noise except for the waves and wind.
But the reality is this: A crowded beach filled with large families, each with a loud boombox, all of them setting up giant portable sun patios from Costco, dragging coolers full of who-knows-what back and forth from the parking lot, inebrated college students, screaming toddlers who haven't had their diapers changed in a week, guys with metal detectors walking back & forth, and sand that's chock-full of seaweed, fast-food wrappers, dog shit, chicken bones, cigarette butts, and lost hair clips.
Oh, and a guy wearing a T-shirt that said "Make your tits stop staring at my eyes!"
But the kids liked it. So, as my parents did for me, I did for them.
I want to mention a LegoLand ride I forgot: The Knight's Tournament. Sound's benign, huh? It's actually oddly out-of-place in the glorified kiddyland of Legos.
This is a new generation of emesis-inducing rides. The German robot company KUKA makes giant robot arms to assemble cars, planes, tractors, whatever. And somewhere along the line they realized that people would pay money to have a giant mechanical limb toss them around like a sack of potatoes. They call them "robocoasters", and the arms put you through the same series of twists, turns, loops, and more that a real coaster would. It even comes with 5 levels, so you can pick the intensity of your ride. I recommend 1 if you want to be a bit dizzy, 5 if you want to toss your cookies. Of course, MY kids dragged me on it at level 5, three times in a row (I recommend Youtube if you want to see this thing in action).
Tonight was our last night in San Diego, , so we hung out at the hotel with various relatives, while the kids and their cousins played in the pool with a bunch of other kids. The evening came to an abrupt end when the kids all began screaming and climbing out of the pool. I went over to see if a shark had somehow been airlifted to it. To my horror (hell, EVERYONE'S horror), the scene was reminiscent of Caddyshack: a huge turd was at the bottom of the pool. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Baby Ruth.
Thus endeth the San Diego portion of our journey.