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Nervous Nellie

Left on my own, I arrive early, sometimes way early. But arriving at a reception an hour early set a new bar for this Nervous Nellie.

I had a work reception in downtown San Diego yesterday at 7:45pm. This meant a 45-minute drive on the Freeway on a Sunday evening which can be messy with travelers heading back home after the weekend. Naturally, I wanted to give myself extra time. And then Tarun said, “You better get going!”…an hour prematurely. That set the dominos in motion for a super early arrival.

No worries, I thought. This is downtown San Diego with its vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, not some shady neighborhood where I’d feel unsafe. Perfect time for a coffee.

I didn’t want to pay for covered parking twice but 20 minutes into this adventure, I could not find free street parking. 30 mins in, I indignantly parked in a possibly illegal spot. People watching in the happening Gaslamp Quarter from the warm confines of my questionably-parked car was better than the embarrassment of showing up an hour early to a work reception or risking a ticket.

Bounded by railroad tracks, this area is replete with Victorian architecture. It was settled in the 1850s as “New Town” against the backdrop of San Diego’s Old Town neighborhood.

In 1867, a developer named Alonzo Horton bought 800 acres here for $265 dollars (!) and set a boom in motion. Illuminated by gas lamps, this area became a center of gambling halls, saloons and bordellos. In the early 1900s, the anti-vice contingent brought an end to the seedy businesses and the neighborhood fell into decay. A revival followed in the 1980s.

Gaslamp, as the locals call it, is now 16 blocks of culinary and entertainment delight. If you head to San Diego, don’t miss the bright lights, trolleys, museums, oyster bars, pubs, cantinas, casual and upscale dining and theaters here.

When you visit SD, look us up. We are only a short ride away and after driving in circles in downtown, I know this area as well as the locals do. I’ll even come pick you up…an hour early…to grab a drink in Gaslamp.

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