Mermaid Overseas: Seattle to San Diego

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: Seattle to San Diego, CA

When: 27/05/2015 – 31/05/2015

Lesson: Ocean Beach is better than Pacific Beach

Achievement: Acoustic set in Te Mana Cafe, OB

Lyric: Tripping in America, I fell in love three times

Quote: “You’re doing a great job”

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1. Dolly Parton – Jolene

“Your smile is like a breath of spring, your voice is soft like summer rain and I cannot compete with you Jolene”

I took a short flight to San Diego to complete my USA route. As the only City I chose to return to within the three months, I decided to explore a different area than when visited in March. I found Chris on Couchsurfing and within moments of my arrival at his flat (almost on the beach) he and his housemate Jonah were listening to Jolene. This seemed to take me full circle from the amount of times I sang it in LA, my first stop, and I proceeded to play my cover for them. I have discovered that as soon as I play for new people I meet on my travels I immediately feel at ease and this set me off on the right foot with these 2 fabulous lads.

Another resident of the flat I was overjoyed to meet was Kuzy.

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Me, Chris, Jonah and Kuzy went to Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market for a mooch and some Lasagne. After said Lasagne we walked the 30 seconds distance to the beach to watch the incredible sunset and look out for the “green light” that apparently can be seen sometimes across the water. We’ll say we saw it.

We had some bevvys in their lovely flat playing a silly drinking game which I never got the grasp of and had something to do with predicting the numbers you would roll on a dice and drinking double or something. The 2 beautiful ladies and other flatmates of the apartment joined who are called Nuria and Katie and both wonderful women. More of Chris’s friends including Molly who was soon to be travelling to London and Wednesday who is Chris’s boss at a surf school joined the drinks. We headed to a Reggae night at a bar called Winstons.

The music was good fun and I tried to drink all the drinks but my body and mind were giving up on me after Sasquatch Festival and I wasn’t as lively as I wanted to be. Luckily Chris and Katie had both been partying at a festival the weekend before too and were equally as drained. We headed back after a few boogies and Chris made sausages. A man who makes sausages after a night out is a good man.

2. Frank Sinatra – My Way

“To think I did all that and may I say not in a shy way, Oh no, oh no not me, I did it my way”

Still a little sore headed and festival blued I went for a trusty walk around Ocean Beach during the next day and bumped into Chris’s friend Mateo who I had met the night before and who had meant to share the late night sausages with us but he never got into the apartment after the bar. Mateo grew up in Ocean Beach so took me on a mini tour into a music shop, bead shop, booze shop. We had some beers (illegally) on the street and discussed music. I found listening to his deep insight to life fascinating and he spoke of many songs. I sang briefly for him and he reciprocated singing My Way in Spanish. I soon realised the beers were bottomless and tried to get back to Chris and the crew before the sun went down.

I made it back to the guys and we went to Wonderland (where their theme and logo is a Mermaid) for dinner. A girl was performing solo for the evening and I was eager to ask to play when she took a break but chickened out. We headed back for some more drinks and then Me, Chris, Nuria and Molly went to another Reggae night at a different bar called Gallaghers. A female fronted live band were really entertaining and when they finished we attempted to go to another bar but it had closed. On the way home we passed a musician they all knew who was performing on the street and fabulous.

The drunken snacks continued and just as we made it back to Chris’s flat he and I decided to go get Mac and Cheese and mini whiskey bottles before bed.

3. Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling – The Water

“Now deeper the water I sail and faster the current I’m in, that each night brings the stars and the song in my heart is a tune for the journeyman’s tale”

All festival blues were gone and my mind was back on track as Chris, Kuzy and I took on the morning together. To say thank you for the best of times I was having in Ocean Beach and as I was staying with Chris longer than first arranged I wanted to make dinner for the gang.  In America everyone has a car so the nearest Supermarket was not walk-able. Charming Chris drove me to the Supermarket and we stopped at San Diego University where he is studying on the way as he had a meeting. Me and Kuzy perused the amazing grounds weeing and pooping all over the pristine grass until Chris was finished.

I was uneasy choosing the groceries especially after a few too many Tequila Tecates the night before and unsure of what all 4 of the crew would like. In the sauce isle torn between whether to make tomato or cheesy pasta Chris turned and said “you’re doing a great job” and that was all I needed to feel dazzling once more.

Chris went to work teaching little brats to surf and I went out with Katie and Kuzy to a Kava cafe called Te Mana and to Sunset Cliffs with a couple of her friends. The view was amazing and we saw ickle crabs and Katie knew her shit when it came to marine biology and taught me some good stuff.

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Katie had to work when we got back to the flat but the guys were having their afternoon naps and I prepped the grub. When it was ready Chris, Jonah, Nuria and I dined and listened to a random dinner playlist called Farm to Table we found on Spotify and was surprisingly lovely. This Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling track was featured along with some other gems. I also feel like Chris looks slightly like Johnny Flynn and he also plays guitar and writes.

We were venturing out to Pacific Beach for the party this Friday night even though everyone who lives in OB hates PB. We got good and drunk and headed to a delightful beer bar where you had a wristband and topped up your glass yourself with various different delicious beers after swiping and paying when you left.

Since I had left England I had dreamed of meeting an American hunk called Chad who was going to whisk me away on the adventure of the lifetime but I had not met one the whole three months. This night Molly introduced me to one of her friends called Chad. My heart was thumping and expectations were too high for me to act like a normal human being so unfortunately I only managed one conversation with the chap and it turned out he was kind of German so not the American dream I had created in my imagination. At least I had created the adventure of a lifetime all by myself for the previous three months.

I must have chosen the strongest beers as I was sozzled by the time we went to a different bar which I had coincidentally been to the first time I was in San Diego. I decided I didn’t like being in the same place twice so attempted to head to the beach on my own but luckily Katie rang me and also informed me I was walking in the opposite direction of the beach and we were going home anyway. We also saw the girl who was performing in Wonderland the night before and she said she would have let me play so the lesson is learnt to always ask!

4. Dean Martin – Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

“Something in your kiss just told me that sometime is now”

I had walked past something in a shop window the day before that had been playing on my mind sporadically since and I decided it was a necessity as a souvenir for these past three months. A Pop Art Aerial lunchbox is what every Mermaid needs. After playing Chris my song ‘Strangle’ and him not knowing that the speech bubble is a quote from the Disney film he asked if I had some fucked up men issues.

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Jonah is a fellow musician and great guitarist and currently finishing off his record with his band. He played me some of his splendid music and we had a mini jam and almost wrote  a complete song together.

Chris took me and Wednesday sailing in the afternoon after they finished work despite the wind being non-existent. On the drive to the harbour Chris put on his only tape which is Dean Martin and told us that his Grandma would listen to this tape on full blast as she drove around. Sailing was bloody great as it’s something I’ve never done and then we got delicious Mexican food.

Pretty exhausted by the time we got home I serenaded Chris, Jonah and Kuzy to sleep with practically every song I’ve ever written which I thoroughly enjoyed and took a rather long time. Once the boys were snoring gently I ran to the shop to buy Margarita goodies for their awakening. It didn’t take much or too may Reese’s cups to have Chris and Jonah on board for heading to PB again to meet Molly and her chums for another boogie. Here are my 2 favourite fellas.

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We went to Local bar, Open bar, Denny’s and an amazing Ice Cream shop where a part-ay was going down. The night ended up with me skinny dipping in the ocean and snuggled on the beach until we realised it was probably a good idea to sleep in a bed.

5. Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama

“All the girls they seem to like you ’cause you’re handsome, like to talk and a whole lot of fun”

We rolled out of bed and onto Brunch with Andie, a friend of Emy who I was in Tucson with, and her boyfriend (and now fiance) to which me and Chris were over an hour late. We ate well and had Mimosas to begin my final Sunday Funday and last 24 hours in the USA.

After an enthralling brunch we carried on the Mimosa trend with a bottle of Champagne as we gathered the troops to watch me play at Te Mana Cafe in the afternoon. I set up outside and played a set and then we decided to head to Coronado Island with Nuria and her boyfriend. We bought a bottle of rum for this journey too and the song that was constantly on mine and Chris’s lips was Take Your Mama which I haven’t heard for years until the night before from a funny story of Chris and his ex girlfriend. On the car ride we listened to Jonah’s recordings which are fab and I can’t wait to hear them again and see his band perform next time I am back in the States.

We arrived at the gorgeous Coronado and decided to hire bicycles to go around the island. This then led to renting tandems and me and Chris speeding around blasting Take Your Mama out, supping on rum and being 10 times faster than the others.

We took a break at Hotel Del Coronado where I stayed at when I was younger with my parents and remembered alarmingly clearly. As I was a very fat child my memories of coming to America when I was younger was all food related and I recalled an incredible ice cream shop in the hotel which was still there and I had to get some. My drunken athleticism did not let me down as we cycled back and won even though it was in no way a race (but we bloody won).

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Chris and I didn’t want the party to end when we got back from Coronado and attempted the vodka red bulls whilst ordering Dominos and planning on hitting some bars but Katie and Jonah were watching Harry Potter and we were drawn in and eventually fell asleep before the end. God damn Harry Potter as I didn’t want to fall asleep and be leaving in the morning. Such a perfect last 24 hours in USA and I couldn’t have wished to be with better people.

Chris has eventually woken up and is very kindly driving me to the Greyhound station one last time…

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