Friday, January 2, 2009

Around the World . . . in 80 days

The last day of this year (2008) proved a very exciting one for us. We are participants in a world-wide event--the mailing of a Jules Verne book, Around the World in Eighty Days, around the world in under 80 days. We were the west coast stop and the book came into our hands at 10:30am on December 31, 2008.

Our first stop was Balboa Park, the premier central park of San Diego. The book had just been in Yokohama, Japan (which is San Diego's sister city) so we first took a photo with the Japanese Friendship Garden sign commemorating that fact. We also took photos with the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs); built for the 1915 Panama-California Exhibition, it has a wonderful sound when we attend concerts there.

One of my favorite sights in the world is the California Tower in Balboa Park, so we naturally took photos there too. Here is James holding the book and my Little Will Shakespeare puppet (which posed for pictures all across Britain in September).

After that, we went to the Star of India (gorgeous ship) and then the Hotel Del Coronado. It was a beautiful day.

Before heading home, we stopped at a small local restaurant themed to the book, called Phileas Fogg's Restaurant. It has pretty good British food and we have eaten there several times since it opened. We love the mural representing the journey in Verne's book.

Nearby is the Poway-Midland Railroad where my husband and I volunteer. We run a 1907 Baldwin Steam Locomotive around the park there, at least two times a month. Although the train is currently down for its annual maintenance, we will be running either the 1894 Los Angeles Trolley or the 1950 Fairmont Speeder this Sunday, during our normal volunteer day.
James has been collecting Verne books for awhile now and here he is proudly posing with his books and the Portuguese copy which we mailed out at 4:45pm so that it can reach Illinois (its next stop on its way home to Portugal).

The blog detailing the whole trip is:

The post relating to our stop (with more pictures) is:

Note that it starts in Portuguese but if you scroll down, you will find each entry in English as well (and eventually he has been adding French translations to these entries with the help of another fan, I believe). Originally, when James agreed to be part of this event, I thought the copy being mailed was an older, vintage copy, but it turned out to be a very nice 2003 copy which happens to replicate the original french cover design and have copies of the original interior illustrations. We signed the book and dated it, like the other participants, and mailed it off with a San Diego postcard as a souvenir of its time here.

This was a fun way to end the year and let us visit a few of our favorite spots, too.