I went to two events downtown. The first was trying to fight traffic after a Padres game. The second was me getting lost. The Hyatt Hotel near the convention center had a festival showcasing American Indian culture. I put on the one Indian shirt I own, which has colorful embroidery around the collar and on the pockets. Since the event started at 3 p.m., I figured I'd arrive around 4:30 p.m. I didn't realize a Padres game would be ending at 4:00 and that driving downtown would be a mad house. There were pedestrians everywhere, lots of cars slowing things down, and police officers trying to direct traffic.
I eventually made it inside, where I saw dancers, musicians, and storytellers from Alaska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and California. The food smelled good, but I wasn't hungry. One person I asked said, "You've got to try the buffalo and wild rice. It's fantastic." I grabbed a bottled water.
Former U.S. senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was hosting the event.
Several people were dressed up, a few in feather headdress, and others with bells on their boots. I asked one older guy if I could take his picture for the Reader. He said, "If it's Reader's Digest, yes." He then laughed for about a minute, before I was able to snap a shot of him.
There was a guy on stage telling a story about killer whales. He was very animated, did many voices, and had a small drum in his hand that he'd beat for emphasis. I was distracted by the kids walking around that were dressed up, jingling from the bells attached to their moccasins.
One guy came in with a Padres cap and T-shirt. He grabbed some food and quickly left. Two other guys were standing there talking the entire time the story was being told from stage. They were more interested in the shot Tiger Woods made at the Masters than what the guy onstage had to say. I'm not sure why they didn't just go out to the lobby, where there were couches and a nice view of the Coronado Bridge.
During a quiet point in the story, I heard three or four cans of soda being opened. Surprisingly, not a single cell phone rang.
After the story was told, they brought dancers out to do a "Buffalo Dance." The intro mentioned how important the Buffalo was: "It wasn't just for food. We used every part of it, for clothing and tools. [The buffalo] was like our supermarket."
As I was getting ready to leave, I saw an old Indian praying in the lobby.
Two women were leaving at the same time, and one said, "I loved those bird singers." The other said, "I loved the Indian dudes with long hair. They were kind of hot."
The next day I was invited to an opening of a club called Altitude. It's on the top floor of the Marriott. I was invited by Jamie, who had invited me to her rugby team's party, before telling me that the coach didn't want me there. I had seen the Marriott right next to the Hyatt, where the Indian shindig was the day before, so I headed over. The invite said it was on the 22nd floor, so I jumped into an elevator. On the 22nd floor all I saw were rooms. I went back to the lobby and saw a guy carrying towels to a room. I asked him what the deal was and he said, "You were probably in the wrong tower. We have two towers here." So I went to the other tower. Same thing. I went back down to the lobby, and when I asked someone, they said, "There's no party going on here. But there is one going on at the Marriott on K Street." It then occurred to me that Jamie did tell me it was in the Gaslamp.
There were a few tables to check in at, and then I headed up in the elevator.
The view was amazing. You can see the ballpark, although you're so high up, you can't recognize the players. I wondered if they were going to put some kind of guardrail up. One could fall, or easily jump, over the edge.
When I was waiting in line for a drink, a guy got pissed that he could only get a Cosmopolitan or a Martini. He walked away mad as the woman was trying to tell him he could get anything else from the waitress. I started talking to a guy from South Africa. He is a massage therapist. I asked his girlfriend if she got a lot of massages. She laughed and said, "Not enough." When she went to talk to another couple, he told me he's only given her three in the two years they've dated. "She was stressed one time from work," he explains. "I came over with my table, unfolded it, and said 'Someone ordered a massage?' She loved it."
As I took in the view high atop downtown, I noticed there were searchlights for this event and a lot of security guards.
I overheard two bald guys talking about how they shave their heads. One said, "Don't you get ingrown hairs doing it that way?" The other said something about Bic Shrivel heads and electric razors.
I was with a few guys that were looking over the edge. One said, "There's no way the fire marshal will let this stand. Not only could someone easily fall, but you could throw a glass over the edge. If it landed on someone down below, they'd be dead." Another man was arguing with me over what he called "an irrational fear of heights." I said, "It's not irrational. If I fall over the edge, my head squishes like a melon. That seems like rational logic to me. It's not like I can't stand here because I'm paralyzed with fear. I just don't particularly like heights." He said I should see a psychiatrist. He then went into a long story about his cousin having a fear of spiders. He asked what I thought of spiders, and I said, "I love them. That Charlotte was adorable, always posting messages on her web. But a spider can't push me over this edge. If a spider comes up to me, I can step on it. See how rational that is?"