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May212004

Coming to San Diego for TechEd? 11,000 of you are!

Are you coming to San Diego?

Are you coming to San Diego for TechEd? A lot of people are. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of my old friends, fellow INETA folks, fellow authors, fellow speakers, and a whole lot of other folks starting in another day (yeah, I meant to post something a week ago, but have been slammed with TechEd prep and client obligations). Next week will be intense for me, with INETA (ineta.org) planning and Board meetings, the INETA user group leader conference we’re hosting, the regional UG meeting I’m hosting on Tues (see SanDiegoDotNet.com), speaking at TechEd, and what seems like an continual stream of meetings and parties. Intense, but fun, and I’m really looking forward to seeing y’all.

Welcome to my adopted home town. Here are some random things you may want to know.

Weather

Pretty well perfect, that’s why I moved here. Average temp year-round is 72 deg. The coast is coolest, as you drive inland temps go up at a rate of about one degree/mile for the first 20 miles or so. Nov – Feb is our “rainy season”, meaning it could rain a few times (not sure, I think it must have rained approx 6 times in the past year). That’s as bad as it gets. The second worst weather (not counting firestorms as “weather”!) we get is “May gray/June gloom”, which you folks may experience. After living here for 5 years, I’m still not 100% clear on the cause, it’s some complex interplay between ocean temp, air temp, pressure, etc. It’s essentially a fog blanket on the coast that moves in at night and burns off in the morning. Sometimes it gets so thick that it doesn’t burn off, hence the “gloom”, making San Diego seem like Seattle with palm trees. Don’t like it? Drive inland a few miles and it’ll be 80 deg with not a cloud in the sky.

Places to eat

I live ~40mins north of downtown (10 minutes from the beach) and very very rarely go downtown (we have everything we need close to us), so I can't make many recommendations. Here’s some though (probably take about 20 minutes by cab to La Jolla):

Croce’s (Gaslamp): owned by Jim Croce’s wife, lots of memorabilia. Apparently his son plays guitar there sometimes. Food is pretty good, mid-range place.

George’s (La Jolla): my experiences here have ranged from good to exceptional. High end place, good place to spot actors and famous people.

Crab Catcher (La Jolla): excellent food, great views, a little less formal than George’s, but still a very nice place.

Marine Room (La Jolla): the quintessential California experience. Large plate glass windows that at high tide are pummeled by the surf. High end.

Like Mexican food? San Diego has the best Mexican food in the US (sorry Texas, Arizona, et al, it IS true!). Some of my favorite places are little hole-in-the-wall taco shops that serve authentic Mexican.

Around San Diego

San Diego downtown is VERY small. Everything is either a short walk or a short cab ride away.

The Gaslamp is a historic area with lots of bars (ranging from very trendy to beer-swilling places) and places to eat. This is where most TechEd people will be wandering around in the evenings.

We have the “world famous San Diego zoo”, however if you’re into that I personally prefer the Wild Animal Park in Escondido. It’s actually part of the zoo organization, but much bigger. You’ll need a car to get there from downtown.

Balboa park is a nice area to walk around in. Nice gardens, lots of museums. Close to downtown.

Looking for Sunday brunch? Try the Hotel Del on Corronado island (at the other end of the sweeping bridge you see going across the San Diego bay). Not cheap, but world famous. Great beaches there too.

La Jolla. Nice place to walk around and people watch. Lots of trendy galleries where you could spend vast fortunes, but it’s free to look. The seals in the cove are a big attraction, as is diving if you’re into that.

The desert. My favorite places to go to get away. Unfortunately it’ll be “toasty” this time of year (90-100deg), you’re a couple of months late. If you can handle the heat, head to Borrego Springs and do the 3 mile mega-touristy Palm Canyon hike (take lots of water).

Legoland. If you’re here with kids, it’s up in Carlsbad. If you don’t have kids with you, forget it, go to the beach instead.

Tijuana. Yes, it's true, you can grab a trolley near the convention center and be in Mexico in 30 minutes. Great place to go if you want to 1) shop 2) drink excessively. Also, crossing back into the US can be an interesting experience for any non-US citizens.

Old Town. It's not Tijuana, but there's shopping, lots of Mexican eats. Good place to kill a half day around lunch.

So after visting you're hooked and now want to live here in paradise?

Our biggest problems are cost-of-living and traffic. I read yesterday that in April the median home increased in value by ~$950 *PER DAY*. We’re hitting new affordability lows, where only something like 12% of the population can afford a $440K median-priced home. A shack in an area most people would not want to live in will cost you 300K. And none of those $440K homes are anywhere near the coast. Want ocean *view* and a decent family home? Think 1.1M or… a LOT more. However, somehow, people keep on coming…

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