Remember how I said I can be spontaneous sometimes? Well, that spontaneous streak kicked in again last week while I was on vacation. I had totally different plans on the agenda for the early part of the week. But as I was surfing through the web at 3am (on the day of my birthday) for vacation getaways for later that week, I came across this!! Did I read that correctly? A free trip? I didn’t really plan to or want to go to Catalina Island, but it was free! The original price tag for a round trip is around $74.50. I hate riding boats, but how could I pass up this deal? It was the frugal bargain hunting cheapo in me that decided to put other things on hold and just could not say no to this deal.
In the meantime, I was looking over all the things to do while I was there. It was going to be a day trip. I had other things to do, other places to go. But as I was thinking about it, I thought….why not just spend a night there while I am there? Get away from everything and everyone for more than just a day. It sounded like a blissful idea. I looked into rooms and found that most places require at least a two night stay. Umm…one night would be more than sufficient. Any more than that, I knew I was going to come down with a Gilligan’s Island syndrome, feeling all stuck.
I was giddy with excitement making a list of all the things to do there. I dosed off and woke up a few hours later to call the office. And of course, making reservations was not a problem. I got the earliest sail time so that I could see and do as much as I could all day.
I was all packed and ready to go. I got there early to check in. They gave me this ribbon, which served as a freebie pass to different things.
I didn’t feel like wearing it, but I ended up pinning it on when I got to the island. The ribbon entitled you to free stuff and random people saying Happy Birthday to you.
I get seasick, but it’s not severe as some other folks. I got a window seat. Loved the view of the blue ocean.
The entire sail was pretty rough. I was perfectly fine until about halfway into the sail. The constant high tide movements were starting to get to me. I was getting queasy. A couple people nearby looked like they were throwing up. I wasn’t quite up to the throwing up level yet, but had the sail been any longer, I probably would have. We reached the island a little past 11.
Like with any getaways, food exploration is usually the highlight of any trip for me. And plus, I had two free meal tickets to score.
It kind of almost tasted like Stouffeur’s tv dinner lasagnas with extra sauce added. I don’t mind a Stoeffeur’s every now and then, but the price of the dish for what it is, is outrageous. I was having one of those moments where I was super duper behgopa when I started to dig in. I didn’t like it but thought it was edible and devoured it because I was so dying of behgopaness. Halfway through as the starvation mode was starting to go away, I started to taste just how bad it was. For me, the globs of cheese (and I often like extra cheese) is the best part a lasagna, but this one wasn’t too cheesy or flavorful. And this was the beginning of the horrible meals consumed during my island adventure.
The island actually offered a bunch of birthday discounts on different things too. But I did not get suckered into anything else. I wasn’t there for the freebies, not the discounts. I don’t think I would’ve felt like I was saving money because I don’t want the other things in the first place. Some of the inns had stay two nights, get the third night free. Stores were offering discounts for a minimum purchase. For means of transportation, discounts/freebies were offered when renting for a certain time frame. I did not rent anything bicycles or golf carts though. I didn’t think it was necessary.
A lot of items at the general stores did not seem as pricy as I expected. I hear business has been bad in the last so and so years. I was expecting to find outrageous pricings on basic things. Gosh. I remember some years ago, I had a chipped nail and asked my friend if I can borrow a tweezer. She did not have a tweezer in her purse, but she gave me a nail clipper and told me that’s an expensive nail clipper she got at Catalina for $10 when she really really needed one while she was there! So I was expecting that level of highway robbery, but I guess things have changed.
EH….but I didn’t get hungry that evening and I ended up falling asleep since I had only three hours of sleep earlier that day.
When I woke up, I was ready to get the heck out of there. I mean, the place is okay for those that don’t want to be obligated to staying two nights and are looking for a cheaper option, but for me…it left me with feeling like I should have just took the free trip, spent the day, then headed back home the same night. It was just not a comfortable room. I checked out and was happy to leave. But I still had several hours to kill. They let you leave your luggage there while you roam around until it’s time to leave. But that is only until 3pm. I wasn’t due back to the dock until 7:30. I kept my luggage in a locker ($1) near the dock.
The potatoes and bacon were the only things on the plates that I actually ate. How can you go wrong with bacon? I love bacon. And the potatoes were not great, but edible. Dude, a breakfast meal at Denny’s tastes way better than the crap they serve here. At least I can EAT a Denny’s meal.
The eggs sunny side up…obviously, they cooked it in heat too high. The bottom of the eggs were browned and dried while there were chunks of egg whites still raw. Notice below the fork? Yeah….I did not order partially raw egg whites that look like snot.
I thought about partaking in some water activities, but after getting seasick on the way, I did not want to go near the water at all for a while. The water activities are some of the main attractions of the island. I skipped those and headed over to the botanical garden. As you may have noticed, I love gardens.
Entrance to the garden is $7. For the price, I was expecting to see a little bit more. The climb to the Wrigley’s Memorial Tower was quite a work out! It’s so quiet peaceful up there. When that brief excitement was over, I was hungry again.
Coney Islands? Hmm no. I wanted a real meal since I haven’t had anything good. I’ve passed by each corner and still NOTHING! Steve’s Steak got some good reviews. It was on the pricier end, but after seeing that they don’t open until dinner time, I had to pass. No way was I going to be able to hold my hunger until then. I had to find something asap. Pork ribs at this one place sounded mouthwatering, but the inside of the place looked sketchy and full of drunk looking loudmouths in wifebeater looking attires. They were extremely loud and obnoxious. Not my scene. I prefer quiet peaceful places.
Anyways….back to the food! When it came out, umm it didn’t look appetizing at all. I first took a bite of the tacquito. WTF? The crunchy crispiness is the best part of biting into a tacquito. But OMG the shell was soggy. And don’t even get me started on the chicken! It tasted dry and overcooked and pretty bland. It was not properly seasoned. I took another bite of it just to make sure I was tasting it correctly. And yes, still gross and inedible! The rice was tasteless as well, but a bit more edible. I think the least grossest item was the beans. I wasn’t digging it, but if I didn’t fill up on the beans, I would’ve been leaving hungry since I couldn’t eat the other items.
The server was too nice for me to have the nerve to complain. Plus, much like the previous nasty meal, I did not want to wait for something else or even want to try something else. I did not stay at the restaurant very long. I ate enough to fill my belly up to not starving mode. I still had a ways to go until my phone was fully charged. The nice server let me leave my phone there to charge while I roam around. Due to my phone being dead, I couldn’t take photos of the food, but this is the outside, along with some random dudes walking by.
Quite frankly, by this point, I was in a WTF mode because I was expecting this trip to be a whole lot of food explorations of yummy food and pigging out until I was in piggy bliss. But it was just one bad meal after another. If I ever come back to this island, I am so going to get a room with a kitchen or bringing a burner and then purchasing groceries at the Vons here. I’d be saving more money for tastier filling meals. Hopefully I come back with people that fish so that I can cook up some freshly caught fish! Oh yeah, the fish that my friend J gave me last time (that I made sengsun jorim with) were from Catalina. Oh God…I just remembered that I haven’t made any other fish dishes since I made sengsun jorim that time. I still have the rest of the fish that I did not touch. He gave me way too many.
I knew that my phone probably wasn’t fully charged, but I went to go pick it up anyway because I wanted to use it. It was about ¾ of the way charged. Freaking iPhones and their weak battery life! It wasn’t long before the battery was on low again and I found myself in the coin laundry room having to do this again!
So yeah, I left freaking hungry!! My 7:30pm sail back to Long Beach was a lot smoother than on the way to the island. As soon as I got home and washed up, I got to work on that kimchi jjigae (with rice, of course). I was never so happy to see Kimchi in my life! It totally hit the spot (and then some) that night.
So was this free trip worth it? It could have been better (mainly foodwise), but it was a nice (FREE) getaway. It was good to escape and act out of spontaneity. For the remainder of my vacation, I got to enjoy eating yummy things in piggy bliss.