Subject: Imperial Beach, Little Italy, Espresso and Piercings
Imperial Beach, CA is a beachfront town, with one beachfront bar, Ye Old Plank, where all the old hippies and such (especially if they're former Navy men) hang out. Probably a place where Jimmy Buffett would fit right in, although there's no real boat culture in Imperial Beach. The city is a reasonably pleasant place to hang out, but I wouldn't want to live there for an extended period of time.
One of the bright moments of my whole trip was just a little silly thing, nothing to write home about (and here I am writing home about it!), and nothing I can explain very adequately. But on our way back from the airport, Brenda took me by the Little Italy district of San Diego (right next to the airport) to a little espresso shop where she likes to go. And this little coffee house reminded me of everything I want in a city and which doesn't exist in Honolulu.
The espresso shop/cyber café in my neighborhood here in Honolulu is very nice, and they certainly treat me very well. And since I don't have the same objection on principles to Starbucks that a lot of people do, there are certainly other places where I can go to get espresso. But in Honolulu there's just not that sort of youthful intelligence that one finds in most major cites and college towns on the Mainland. The sort of thing I almost take for granted in a lot of espresso shops in San Francisco (although not, strangely enough, in North Beach) and at places like Sparky's Diner on the edge of the Castro district.
I guess in a way, I find this sort of thing more among some of the bartenders at Anna Bannana's than anywhere else in Honolulu. But there's only one bartender at Anna's with an nose ring, whereas I doubt that someone without some sort of extreme piercing could ever get hired at Sparky's.
Anyway, it wasn't a question of nose rings or other piercings at this coffee house in Little Italy. It was just a question of the attitude toward life, the width of the horizon.