July 17, 2010 § 17 Comments
This morning, we set out towards Newport Beach, ready for some kick-butt whale action on a 150-min Whale-Watching Tour off Newport Landing. When I called in to reserve, the guy told me to get there an hour earlier so that we can find parking. Uhh..okay, how hard can parking be? I thought.
Since Dmitri and I had nothing else to do, we left the house a little before noon. We were sure that we’ll be there in a little after an hour and have plenty of time to grab some lunch and explore Newport Beach City.
How wrong we were.
We got to Newport Beach City in about 1 hr and 10 min alright. Except that we were stuck in a major congestion of traffic for the next half hour or so because apparently everybody in the Los Angeles county thought it was the perfect weather to play at Newport Beach. It was perfect, mind you. A perfect 80 degrees–warm, sunny with a gentle breeze that was neither too chilly nor warm. Perfect.
We found the port where the Whale-watching tour would depart, but then spent the next hour and 15 minutes trying to find parking. It. was. horrendous.
The tour was at 3pm. By 2:25pm we were still circling aimlessly around the city. We even drove out three miles to see if there were any parking, but alas, we weren’t that lucky. We thought about parking at public lots for grocery stores, restaurants, etc. But dang, they had cops and a tow truck circling the area 24/7. These guys meant business!
I was sooo bummed! But I gotta admit that we wouldn’t be able to find any parking for the next 20 min or so. We decided to call it quits and go refill our tummies at Pita Pit. It wasn’t the greatest hummus pita sandwich either–boo dry pita breads!
We had exactly 1.5 hours in that parking lot reserved for Pita Pit and other restaurants/shops along that block, so we decided to circle the neighborhood a bit. Gotta stretch those stiff legs!
I saw this funny sticker on the back of someone’s SUV.
While I was taking this picture, a frightening sound that sounded like thunder made me jump a mile high. Low and behold, a boxer was madly barking at me from the balcony above! That dog sure knew I was secretly mocking at him…
Well, if I couldn’t take pictures of whales and dolphins, I might as well take pictures of millionaires’ houses, complete with backports.
And the beautiful flowers they grow…
After a little meandering, our plan was to hit up the closest beach to Newport: Huntington Beach.
Uhhh…didn’t happen. I guess folks from Nevada decided to join some beach fun as well.
By this time, we were desperate to be out of the car and in the sun. At least be walking. Here’s what our thought-process looked like:
Well we didn’t know exactly where on the UC Irvine campus we can find some entertainment since neither of us have been there before. We trusted my GPS to find us where to go to. And BAM! there we were at University Center, which is kind of like a mini outdoor mall, with restaurants, cafes, and shops. I stopped by Cha For Tea to cool off a bit.
Cha for Tea is actually a restaurant/tea shop that branched off from the Taiwan stores. In Taiwan, they have these really good Vegetarian stemed dumplings, which i saw on the menu here as well! “Cha” translates into “Tea” in Mandarin in case you’re wondering ;-). The items on the menu here are more expensive, but I couldn’t resist some good iced tea! I got the Rose Bud Iced Tea with Aloe. ‘Twas very refreshing! 😀 I love aloe vera! ❤
Have you tried aloe vera before? It’s actually a health food!
Dmitri got excited when he saw this at the University Center as well.
A nice stroll in a nearby park ended our day.
It wasn’t a day that I had planned to be. Believe me, I was seriously disappointed. But hey, what could I do? When life throws us curves, we gotta go with it. But no fear, Dmitri and I have devised some battle plans for the next time around:
Plan A: Reserve for 9am tour. They offer three times a day–9am, noon, and 3pm. We figured we could avoid some traffic and parking horrors at that early-bird hour.
Plan B: Go on a weekday. Less people…hopefully?
Plan C: Take the Metrolink (train) and then bike to our destination. Not only would we be avoiding traffic, we wouldn’t have to pay $15 for parking fee! It would be a lonnnnng trip though!
Any suggestions? Fav picks of battle plan? I’m all ears! 😀