Saturday, March 30, 2013

San Diego Vacation – Day 1

The morning after our Seder, we left home and began our short Spring Break trip to San Diego, California.

Kai had been looking forward to it, but he was nervous about some things.

“Is the plane going to crash?” he asked repeatedly.

No, I kept telling him. Air travel is quite safe and our plane will not crash.

We had ordered a taxi to pick us up at 6:20 AM. The night before, Kai was anxious about oversleeping.

“You and Mom wake me up at 5:30. I don’t want to be here by myself all week.”

Ha, he was worried that we would actually go to San Diego without him.

The next morning, he had no trouble waking up. He was raring to go.

At the airport, he did fine going through security, and was relatively patient while waiting to board the airplane.

When we stepped onto the plane, he peeked into the cockpit.

“Is the pilot a good one, Dad?”

Yes, Kai, the pilot is really good.

“We’re not going to crash, Dad?”

No, we’re not, I reassured him for the umpteenth time.

He was pretty good on the plane, other than loudly asking what time it was every 5 minutes. He was very concerned about how much longer it was until we landed. But mostly he enjoyed watching some of the ten DVDs we brought to keep him occupied.

When we landed in San Diego, it was sunny and warm. Ah yes!

But when we got off the shuttle at the rental car facility, I saw signs of trouble. There was a crowd of people waiting for cars.

Despite having reserved a car weeks ago, the woman at the desk told me it would be a 15 to 20 minute wait for a car. The large crowd indicated that it would longer than that.

We waited and tried to keep Kai occupied with the iPad. But after awhile he started asking questions.

“How long is it going to be before we get our car?”

I was wondering the same thing.

When the wait went past the 20-minute mark, Kai got more agitated.

“I’m getting very impatient!”

After several more minutes, he got louder.


We shooed him out of the building and hoped that waiting in the sunshine outside would calm him down.

It did not.


I went back inside to make sure I didn’t miss hearing our name being called.

And after several more minutes, I did it.

I played the “autism card.”

I went up to the manager and explained to him that my son with autism has a very difficult time with waiting.

Thankfully, he was very responsive. He found a car for us.

About the time we were finishing up the paperwork, Kai came back into the building. He saw me with the manager and came over.


Yes, sir, the manager told him.

I explained to Kai that we had a car.


I tried to brighten his mood by telling him that we even got upgraded to an SUV.

We finally left the rental place and drove to our hotel where we met San Diego friends of Kai’s grandparents.

Dave and Iris took us to lunch. Dave has a very funny sense of humor, and I was glad to see that Kai got some of his humor, much like he is starting to catch on to his grandfather’s humor.

After lunch, they drove us around town, giving us a great introduction to San Diego. We drove to Pacific Beach, downtown, and then to the harbor where we got out and saw some of the ships.

About the time we got to Coronado, Kai started to get agitated.

“How much longer?” he whined.

We explained that we came all this way to see San Diego, and it was nice that Dave and Iris wanted to show us around. We were not planning to drive for long. We would not be going much farther. Still Kai’s complaints grew louder and more persistent.

“I want to go back to the hotel!”

While Kai can hold up well for day-long rides when we are traveling somewhere, he has difficulty with the notion of sightseeing. I think he just sees that as driving around without getting anywhere.

We had only one or two more places to see, but decided cut it short and head back to the hotel. I felt badly for our hosts. I’m sure they understood, but it still felt a bit rude. Iris, a retired speech therapist, did tell us that Kai delivers clear messages, and I’m pretty sure she meant that as a compliment to him.

Once back at the hotel, Kai led us to the place where they kept two blind rescued seals.

Then he wanted to use the swimming pool. We didn’t need to fly all the way to San Diego to go to a swimming pool, but I think our daily afternoon time at the pool was Kai’s favorite activity on the trip.

When he was in the water with Mom and Dad, he was a happy kid.

That evening, we had dinner at a sushi restaurant. My wife liked that the sushi met her high standards. I liked that Kai was well behaved there.

It wasn’t a perfect day. We really never have those. But we had some nice times. We had started our vacation.

Tomorrow: SeaWorld


  1. Yes, all in all, it was nice day! I'm glad it all worked out. Typical forever and just want the hotel pool! haha. I think playing the autism card in some instances is perfectly fine. It is a disability afterall and I'm glad the manager not only quickly helped but got to see kai in action, too. haha. Have fun tomorrow...Sea World sounds really fun!

    1. Betsy, it was a whirlwind trip and we got home last night. I will be writing about it day by day for a few more days.

      I think playing the "autism card" is fine. too. I just don't want to rely on that in every instance, and want to try to teach Kai to be able to wait. In this case, I was losing patience myself as it was terrible that the rental agency did not have enough cars for those who had reservations.

  2. Good for you and your family. A well deserved vacation.

    I don't blame you or Kai. There is simply no excuse for the car rental company not having ALL of the reserved cars gassed up...clean and WAITING for all. They knew in advance when all would be is their JOB to have the cars and the staff to accommodate the reservations. Their job is to serve...efficiently and effectively. The shame is theirs.

    I can hardly wait to see more of your vacation pictures...and to hear of you and your family's adventures. I am staying tuned :)

    1. Shiroi, this is the second time in recent months that a car rental company did not have a car ready. The first time was on a business trip, and after waiting more than two hours, my colleague and I gave up and called a very expensive car service instead. I don't know if this is a new trend, or if I was just a victim of bad luck both times.

      I will have more pictures on the next post! :)


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