Sunday, September 18, 2005

San Diego Trip

On August 14th Michael, Dad and I drove to Buffalo and spent the night at the Quality Suites opposite the Buffalo International Airport. I had booked through where you can book a night at a hotel and then fly out of an airport, leaving your car at the hotel for up to 2 weeks for the cost of the 1 night. In our case, the night was US$84. It was really nice not having to rush to the airport. Buffalo Airport is a LOT easier to fly out of, compared to Toronto Airport.
Dad on the plane from Chicago
(Click on photos to enlarge)

We flew via Chicago, arriving in San Diego at 7:30 pm and were met there by Virginia. Our trip to San Diego was to celebrate Virginia’s 85th and Dad’s 86th birthdays on August 20th.

Virginia meeting us at San Diego Airport

Virginia had booked us all in to the Sheraton Hotel on Harbor Island Drive for 2 nights. My sister, Patricia and her family were coming through from LAX later on. When we got to the hotel, the valet was helping us and there was a scruffy looking fellow standing at the back door of the car. He had a wheelchair and he was waiting to help Dad into it. This man had his baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, had a 24 hour stubble, rumpled clothes and looked VERY suspicious. I took a closer look at this strange man and realized that it was my brother, who works on contract in Muscat, Oman and he looked so disheveled because he had just flown 28 hours from the other side of the world! I asked Virginia if that was Pete and she nodded with a very big grin on her face. He had been on the same plane as us from Chicago to San Diego and we never saw him!! What a lovely surprise.

Dad crying in disbelief after seeing Pete

Pete helped load Dad into the wheelchair and then took him for a ride around the lobby of the hotel until Virginia could be there when he revealed himself to Dad. Needless to say, Dad was completely bowled over when Pete bent down and asked Dad if he could do any more for him. Dad says that if he didn’t have a pacemaker, he would have dropped dead of a heart attack!

Ginny and Dad wait in our room for the Barbers to arrive

We all went up to the room and hung around for the arrival of Patricia, Simon and the children. When they arrived Pete hid behind the drapes and surprised them when they came into the room that he was sharing with Dad. It was great!

Tuesday we went to a local restaurant, Hob Nob Hill, for a fantastic breakfast. Dad had blueberry pancakes.

Breakfast at Hob Nob Hill

Dad's pancakes

We then went down to the Old Town and took a 2 hour trolley ride around San Diego. Later we had dinner at a restaurant in Old Town, called El Fandango. I had the best fish tacos I had ever tasted.

The gang before boarding the trolley.

Patricia and Pete

Nell and Stephen

The next morning we watched a flotilla of tall ships sail majestically into the harbour and then we all set off for Ocean Hills Country Club, where Virginia lives.

Sitting on a bench watching all the ships go by.



Dad posing as a rapperDad and Ginny

One of the tall ships coming in to harbour

The rest of the week was spent preparing for the big birthday party on Saturday 20th. There were about 60 guests coming for an “Open House” type event. There was lots of shopping and preparation to do. Carolyn Chiriboga had done a lot of organizing and had ordered the cakes for Virginia and Dad. Carolyn is the daughter of Bob Pope, who was Virginia’s friend and companion until he passed away suddenly earlier this year. He had a heart attack while holding the winning hand at his weekly poker game!!
The weather in Oceanside is always gorgeous, so it was no surprise when the 20th dawned bright and sunny. The party went off without a hitch, speeches being made by both Pete and Carolyn. Virginia looked like a shining star in her red, white and blue top.

The Cheney Gang before the party

The birthday boy and girl enjoyed opening their gifts and all the cards.

The great food was enjoyed by all.


Virginia's Cake
Dad and Virginia during the speeches
Amal Pope and baby
Michael enjoys a beer at the party

Nell and Pete at Denny's the day after

Pete's "American" breakfast