“Do you have Mexican food in Vancouver? Wait, that’s a stupid question — it’s a city, of course you do,” I said. “But it’s probably not as good as it is here…I mean, not because you guys don’t have good restaurants up there; it’s just that we’re, like, ten miles from the border, you know?”
The two women across the table shared a look and then smiled in sync. “Some of my favorite comedians are Canadian,” I added, awkwardly. With nowhere else to go from there, I changed the subject. “So, Dee, what is it you do?”
“I’m a police detective,” said the brunette.
“And I work in the office with her,” said Amy, whose short pixie ’do was cupcake-pink.
“Do you interrogate people?” I asked. Dee nodded, and I burst out laughing. “Oh, my God. Can you imagine? I could just see that as a comedy sketch — Canadian interrogation tactics. I bet you’re really nice to them.”
“I am. You have to gain their trust,” she said. Figuring she was offended by my levity, I wiped the smile off of my face. A cop’s a cop — I didn’t want to get on her bad side. “We offer them coffee,” Dee continued. “And instead of regular handcuffs, we have fuzzy ones. You know, for their comfort. We say sorry a lot.” (She pronounced it sore-y.)
“We don’t use tasers or guns, just foam batons,” offered Amy. A mischievous smile came over her face. “Oh, and when the questioning is all done, we end the session with a group hug.”
I raised my spicy serrano margarita in a toast. “I like you two. Welcome to San Diego.”
We’d met an hour earlier, when I picked them up at the Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy. David had met Amy through Instagram. For days, he had to remind me who he was talking about every time he referred to her — I still thought of her as Ruby Sparkles, which wasn’t even her current Instagram handle; according to David, she’d changed it to Bella-something weeks before. Amy and Dee had some free airline miles to kill and had settled on San Diego — a place they’d never been — for their winter escape.
My man and I take ambassadorship seriously. David doesn’t mess around when it comes to hosting, be it a dinner party or entertaining out-of-towners. So when Amy atted him in a comment about her impending visit to our fair city, David set about making every scrap of the town come to life and open its arms, à la the dishes in Beauty and the Beast.
Prior to Amy’s arrival, David sent her a ten-page-long “list” that had taken him days to compile. In it, he defined every neighborhood and what it had to offer; he broke restaurant recommendations down into several categories, including “breakfast and brunch,” “Italian, Mexican, Japanese, French,” “fish tacos by the beach,” and “fancy with a view.” Cocktails, beers, farmers’ markets, live music, comedy, museums and parks, even a recommendation for where to get a tattoo; there was nothing he overlooked. At least, that’s what we thought.
Amy and Dee landed at Lindbergh the day before we met up with them. It was David who asked what, if anything, they’d checked out on their first night in town.
“We ended up at this fun bar — it’s not on your list, though. It’s called the Waterfront,” Amy answered.
David’s laugh caught Amy off-guard. When she pushed him for an explanation as to what was so funny, he said, “Well, the Waterfront is quirky.”
“Come on, it’s not that bad,” I said. “Remember Kristen’s party there? All those newscasters and musicians? We had a blast.”
Amy adjusted the top of her white silk embroidered corset and divulged the full extent of their Waterfront adventure. They met a couple blokes at the bar and then, at closing time, walked the guys back to their hotel. We learned that Dee is the archetypical wingwoman. She led her frustrated escort (who turned out to be a local cop) on a “neighborhood discovery” walk, despite the frigid 40-degree air, to give Amy time to enjoy the hotel room with her chosen local. It wasn’t until 4 a.m. (which, according to Amy, was “just in time”) that Dee, unable to hold her bladder any longer, bid adieu to her disappointed beau and banged on the hotel door.
“Wow, you Canadians are selfless,” I said. “I wouldn’t have stayed out in that cold for two minutes, let alone two hours.” Dee assured me that, being from Canada, cold wasn’t an issue for her.
Before we dropped them in the Gaslamp (where they planned to catch a live music act), I took a detour down Park Boulevard from University Heights to Balboa Park. During dinner conversation, Dee had mentioned that she studied botany in college. “See that bridge?” I said, after pulling to the side of the road. “Inside the park is the botanical garden, but across that bridge is another garden, with all kinds of weird trees and cactus plants that inspired Dr. Seuss, who lived here.”
On Sunday, we collected our new friends from their hotel once more and took them to Starlite for brunch. “How was the music?” I asked.
“Oh, we didn’t stay there,” Amy said, somewhat sheepishly. “We went back to the Waterfront.”
“As long as you’re having fun, that’s all that matters,” I said. “Like I said, it’s a great place. I used to party there all the time. There are just so many places to see, though. You know what? You’re just going to have to come back.”
After brunch, we dropped them in Balboa Park to make sure Dee got to see all of those plants before they went back to the Waterfront for a third time. As we said our goodbyes, Dee said, “You guys are so nice…you could be Canadian.”