stuff and things

22 October 2010

Free Tuesday in the Park

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans ..." I've often heard this, thinking, 'Oh, just another slogan.' But, like many cliches, it's true. I'm sincerely trying to finish the epic Wine Country Ukulele Festival post, but in the meantime so much other stuff has happened. Like sailing to Catalina ... and Tuesday's adventure.

That morning a romantic sprinkle descended on our home. A look at my calendar told me that this "Free Tuesday in the Park," Balboa Park's salute to locals, was my favorite mix of venues: the Mingei International Museum of Folkart, Craft and Design; the Japanese Friendship Garden; the Museum of Man and the San Diego Museum of Art. Admission's free to local residents.

I slept in late after my [yoga] teaching week, but with jolt of Andy's coffee, I was ready to head to the park -- rain or no rain. For awhile, we dithered. After seeing the first raindrops on the patio, I was willing to settle in and munch my Serrano ham and "Three Cheeses" (sheep, cow and goat) sandwich -- a new taste from Pato Negro, our favorite Spanish food purveyor -- with a crisp glass of Albarino.

We rallied, however, arriving at the park around noon. We thought the soggy weather would discourage most people and make parking a breeze; apparently, the rest of San Diego thought so, too. Say, have you walked in the rain with the one you love lately? Of course it's romantic, but there's also a certain sense of heightened perception. The darkened skies send a signal for the flowers and trees below to go neon. We shared an umbrella; Andy wisely bringing his, and me saying back at the house -- "Oh, I never carry an umbrella." Well, after today's steady downpour I just might mend my ways.

Our first stop was the Japanese Friendship Garden. Even the eaves are slatted, so we had no real shelter ... but the koi were so magnificent that we braved giant raindrops in our entrancement. Koi fish really do grow to three feet in length!

Next, we trooped over to the Mingei to check out the Romanian folk art exhibit, "Between East and West." The costumes were great, and even the rooms wore clothes: intricate hangings on walls and beds, in every possible form of needlework. The real surprise, however, was across the hall: the Zandra Rhodes installation. For some reason I thought it was coming later this year, but no; and Go, go, go! This designer got her start in London's hippie heyday, but I mostly know her through her work with the San Diego Opera. She designed a fanciful set and costumes for a fun production of "The Magic Flute," and later did an even more magical job for SDOpera's "The Pearl Fishers."

We encountered a wait for lunch at Prado, so decided to buzz through The Museum of Man while the crowds died down. We were both soaked, chilled and hungry, however, so after a desultory pass through the paleoanthropology displays, we made a beeline back to Prado, where we enjoyed one of the best meals (and waiters: ask for Scott) we've eaten in a restaurant. Tip: ask Scott about his favorite Malbec. And so ended a perfect rainy day; we never made it to the Toulouse-Latrec show over at the SD Museum of Art, but free Tuesdays come every week, and we'll make it next month.