In December 2016 I visited San Diego partly for work and partly for pleasure. This was my third or fourth visit and the city has grown on me more every time to the point where it is probably my favourite city in the US.
More relaxed than its neighbours to the North but with the same entrepreneurial engine; San Diego has beaches, gorgeous scenery lit by a beautiful warm light and, maybe best of all, an incredible brewing and foodie scene. I came home to the UK with a tan (in December!) and a couple of extra pounds.
I find spending time in foreign cities alone has become one of my greatest pleasures and I was lucky enough to spend a few days in San Diego on my own. Dipping into other peoples’ lives and experiences can be a nourishing experience; equally the ability that anonymity brings to glide over the surface and observe a culture from a curious distance can give me an almost euphoric pleasure. During the days lit by a low gentle sun I found that I could sink into the sleepy feel of the city and at times felt like I was quite invisible.
At night San Diego comes alive; San Diegans are keen to talk and are strikingly open. Trump was raised early in conversation by almost everyone but in a way that seemed to be obligatory, as though it was a box that had to be ticked, but was then put to bed as the conversation moved to business, family or the merits of the Toy Story films. My one prolonged conversation on the topic was with a Trump voter (which was a important lesson for me in stereotypes and tolerance which is the subject of another post).
Were most of the San Diegans who I spoke to in denial, in a state of shock and quiet apprehension or even embarassment? There seemed to be an element of all of those. We are still in the Obama era and we don’t know what Trump will bring but after decades of relative political stability we are about to enter a significant period of history; the sensation that I couldn’t shake was that San Diego was waiting.