Samuel whitaker

English Literature & Film Studies Graduate – Food- Coffee – Film

San Diego

It’s been a while hasn’t it since my previous post, which I believe was all about New York, the big Apple! It is hard to believe that I typed that posting up almost three months ago, promising you a post about San Diego in the coming days, damn that was wishful thinking. It is even harder to believe that I typed up that New York post sat up on a rooftop bar with coffee and cookies, soaking up the 30° heat whilst digesting the overwhelming view of the city skyline. Today however, I’m sat at my desk, still in my jam jams at twenty past 12, sipping away at a warm Kenco black Americano and slowly but surely defeating a big tub of miniature heroes. Disappointed at the fact they no longer do the white chocolate Dream bars, nor Crunchie bites and there is not a Bournville in sight. Though nonetheless the Wispa’s and the Cream Eggs are an adequate replacement. Nobody likes Eclairs though do they? Thought not, they really are the Bounty of Cadbury’s aren’t they. Today is a snow day and I’ve traded my profound city views for a rather chilling view of the estate, which is currently smothered in around 5 inches of thick, deep snow and there is no way I’m getting my Ugg boots messy again this week. So with that in mind, I feel a cosy day indoors reminiscing on the blue skies of San Diego, California and listening to the new Stereophonic’s album is a pretty sensible diversion. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’ve been reading this for a few minutes and so far all he’s done is talk about the modifications of Christmas chocolates and snow, is he actually going to start this San Diego post anytime soon? Well good news I’m going to start right now, but if I am to do this post any justice, I must carry on where I left off… New York City, or JFK airport to be precise. So grab a mug of cocoa, a couple of chocolates or something sweet and we’ll get started.

October 8th is where we begin. The time is now around half 2, I was lucky enough to get myself on an afternoon flight from JFK-LAX meaning that I could enjoy one last stroll around the city before checking out my hotel and getting on a fairly crowded shuttle bus back to the airport. Although it was 30bucks cheaper than a cab, so I wasn’t complaining… I just wish the oversized French gentleman sat beside me would have shared some of his smelly Cheese puffs with me before departing the bus at Terminal 3 to board his AirFrance flight home. On the plus side he did leave behind a chair full of cheesy crumbs, that was mature of him. See what I did there? It’s okay I can joke, he’s gone. It wasn’t like he said ‘brie right back’ or anything. Okay I’m going to stop with cheese puns, I imagine they’re grating on you. Let’s fast forwards a little bit to half 2, you guys don’t want to hear about flight check ins and security do you? Why did I ask that? You can guarantee there is one weirdo sat there with a ton of neglected Bounty chocolate awaiting every detail, well tough luck buddy; today isn’t your lucky day. Although I do have some Cadbury’s Eclairs with your name on them!

Okay so it’s half 2 and I’m now sat there in the airport waiting lounge munching on an overpriced back of Sweet and Salty popcorn, slurping a Starbucks iced French Vanilla latte reading an article on my iPad about ‘how Bournville’s are being removed from Miniature Hero chocolate tubs and the backlash it’s going to have’. Woof Woof, it was the sound of a cow mooing in front of me, I joke it was a dog really. A rather cute dog too, it was a pup. I can’t remember the exact breed of this puppy, but I’m certain it had poodle traits and I’m not just saying that because he smelt of poo. That was totally his owner, 67 year old Susana from Los Angeles. Is it bad that I’ve only just clocked why she asked if I wanted to make her 69 in the bathroom? Okay I’m going to stop quoting Harvey Weinstein now and get on with the story. Susana started our small interaction by telling me that her dog must like me as he kept barking across at me. She then went on to tell me that she’d been in New York for the past few days visiting her friends who have recently moved into the city from Long Island. After making a brief joke about Long Island Iced Tea, Susana told me she was 67 and “far too old for cocktails” hence how I got her age. Now I’m a fairly nice guy, I’ll talk to anybody and if a stranger asks me to give to give their dog cuddles in an airport, then I will give their dog cuddles in an airport. But it is when the stranger, or in this case 67 year old Susana from California leaves you on dog watch for 45 minutes whilst she raids the airport’s shops for snacks and magazines to take on the flight, that I start to get a little pissed off. Albeit it was a very cute dog, so I had to get a selfie with it! He was a service dog too, I think she said he was called Bournville too.

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So cut a long story short, Susana returned and took Bournville away from me to board the flight. I continued to sit in the waiting room as I didn’t see what the rush was all about. And that was the moment I saw a recognisable actor lining up to board the plane, at first I wasn’t too sure as he had bleached blonde hair and only looked mildly familiar. However after seeing him board the First Class area of the plane, and a cheeky iMDB search, it was confirmed that this was in fact a Mr. Michael Sheen… star of: Passengers, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United. So being a big film geek and somewhat starstruck I raced onto the plane. As I stepped through the doors into the front of the Economy zone, I could see Michael Sheen sat just feet away behind the curtain at the rear end of the First Class zone of this Virgin America flight. “Sir you are sat on the aisle of row D” said the air hostess, “thank you” I replied without moving. As I held up the queue and slightly etched towards the big red curtain, the air hostess repeated my seat number, this time sounding a little pissy. “Yes, just give me two seconds” I said whilst getting closer to the curtain. “Sir, you are this way” she said a little louder pointing away from the First Class zone. “Yeah but… erm” I innocently mumbled, it was a kind of now or never scenario. So without thinking I leaped to my left and snagged the curtain open “Sir you can not go in there…”. It was too late, I’d entered First Class. Michael Sheen looked up, the air hostess had taken a step back and had officially surrendered trying to get me to shuffle onto my seat. I looked at Michael Sheen, we made awkward eye contact and I blurted out the words “This is really random, but are the actor Michael Sheen?” he gave me a rather vexatious grin and confirmed that he was in fact Michael Sheen. “Right sir, can you please get to your seat!” hollered the air hostess and I suppose I should have probably walked to my seat, but instead I had no control and words just kept catapulting from my mouth at a thousand miles per hour; “I thought you were, I had to iMDB search you though because I forgot your name and didn’t want to call you Charlie Sheen by mistake. That would be awkward wouldn’t it Michael, also you’ve changed your hair so I wasn’t sure it was you at all.”, “Well yes, it’s me… Michael Sheen” he responded in an awkward fashion. “Well, see you later then mate!” I said before finally giving into the air hostesses order and returning to my seat. “Yes bye then” he frowned. FYI that’s not the end of the Michael Sheen story, hell no! After a six hour flight into LAX, consisting of sour cream Pringles, JD & Coke and When Harry met Sally… Sam met Michael once more. This time whilst walking to the baggage collection, even celebrities have to collect their bags. “So Michael have you been to LA before?” I asked now that I’d caught up with him after bolting it down the escalator. “Hey, errr yeah a couple of times! I’m an actor”, “Silly question, wasn’t it!” I said, looking slightly moronic. “So are you on vacation?” he asked, which lead to me telling him all about my trip across America. “Wow! That’s pretty cool” he said, we were now at the baggage carousel and I decided to ask him what he was up to in New York. He went onto to tell me he was working on a film called ‘Brad’s Status’ with Ben Stiller before showing me a couple of photos of him and Stiller in some New York bars, he wouldn’t Whatsapp them to me; though it was worth an ask, right? It would appear that I could embarrass myself further, I revealed to him that he was one of the few Hollywood stars to have worked with both Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson on separate occasions and I even told him that my Dad loves the move ‘The Damned United’ as he supports Manchester United, before Michael told me the film actually focused on Leeds United. Awkward. Anyhow, I did get a cheeky selfie with Michael Sheen beside the baggage carousel before handing him a business card with a link to my blog, reassuring him that I may give him a mention in the coming months… so if you’re reading this Michael I’ve got the chocolate Bounty’s and Eclairs that I promised you!

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After a short Uber trip to my hotel in El Segundo, Los Angeles, I checked in and dropped my bags off. Then headed across the block to lose my In N Out Burger virginity with a 4×4 animal style, that’s 4 burgers in one bun with layers of mustard and cheese. Damn I miss America. Then I returned to the hotel for some kip before the long ride into San Diego the following morning.

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After an early morning coffee and hotel buffet breakfast it was time to hit the road and head towards San Diego. San Diego is around a two hour drive from Los Angeles, a journey that was broken down with an afternoon at La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Cove is a beautiful little beach in San Diego, tucked away between sandstone cliffs. Not only is La Jolla Cove home to the Seals and Sea Lions, who may I add are extremely tame… this gorgeous little hot spot is also paddled with cool little tunnels and caves that you can explore further down towards the sea. The picturesque beach was also located beside a town packed full of quirky little bars and restaurants. The heavenly views truly captured a Californian vibe with the addition of flowering palm trees, a complete contrast to the towering views of New York City.

Being a fan of Anchorman, I was determined to visit San Diego Zoo… home of the Panda Watch. So when the opportunity cropped up to visit San Diego Zoo I was completely game. San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4000 exotic, rare and endangered animals from around the world including the giant panda, koalas, tigers and polar bears. The zoo was huge, ranging at around 100 acres and was almost reminiscent of Jurassic Park, jam packed with cafe’s and gift shops dedicated to each section and even a free shuttle bus taking you around the zoo. After taking the shuttle bus around the Zoo we decided to walk round and check out the animals. The zoo had Polar bears, Koalas and even Tigers. I’m now going to break away from the computer and find something else to eat, now that I’ve demolished the tub of Miniature Heroes. Hopefully I’ll find some time to write another posting over the Christmas period. Again, sorry for the delay, enjoy the snow if you have any and here are a couple of the photographs from the Zoo.

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