The San Diego airport is super close to the city so it was only a quick taxi ride to our hotel, the Residence Inn Marriott on 6th street in the Gaslamp Quarter.
It was too early to check-in so we left our bags and jumped straight back into another taxi and headed out to Ocean Beach. The fare was probably three times the cost of the ride from airport to hotel, but these things happen.
The reason for this journey was the South Beach Bar and Grill, a beach side pub that has a reputation for doing some of the best fish tacos in San Diego.
After showing ID we were allowed in and quickly found a table, where the hot sauces were ready and waiting.
All tacos are served with flour tortillas, cheese, red cabbage, salsa fresca and white sauce. And if you order two or more tacos, you can add rice and beans for $1.75.
I had two chicken tacos (below) and J had two fish tacos (no pic).
These weren’t the small tacos we had gotten used to in Napa, they were at least twice the size. I think these are called Baja style and while they were nice, I prefer the ones we had in Napa. And I definitely didn’t need two! The rice and beans were excellent though, and very moreish.
And then jumped into our third taxi of the day and headed back into town to the USS Midway.
The Midway was one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers and has now been turned into a floating museum. There are 60 exhibits and 29 aircraft to explore. A self-guided audio tour is included and you can check out, as an example, the crew’s sleeping quarters, the different galleys (kitchens), the laundry, the engine room, the ship’s jail, and the barber shop.
There are also docents on board, all of who used to work on the ship and they will answer questions plus some give talks on different topics such as landing a plane on the ship.
The view off the ship is also pretty nice.
A dinner and a movie, what else do you need?
Massive bowls, or pots, in one of the galleys. Crew ate in different meal areas according to rank, and each meal area had its own kitchen.
While I am not really into ships and planes as such, I found the Midway to be really interesting, and I think we spent at least two hours on board. The website recommends 3-4 hours!
After disembarking we paid an inflated price to take a pedicab back to our hotel, where our room was ready. This was a Friday and while the conference I was booked to attend didn’t start until Sunday night, J and I got to San Diego a few days early so we could have a look around.
I was booked to stay at the Hard Rock hotel for the conference but decided that for the two nights before we would stay somewhere else. I read the Hard Rock was a party hotel so thought another hotel would be quieter. We had booked a one bedroom suite, so we had lots of space, though it wasn’t the most modern room I have ever stayed in.
The kitchen and the hallway to the entrance.
The bathroom. The sink was outside the bathroom, which was a bit odd.
The lounge area looking from outside the bathroom, the door on the left is the bedroom.
We didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, and while there was no noise from other guests, we were diagonally opposite a Klimpton hotel, which has a rooftop bar, complete with DJ. Ouch. Earplugs were required both nights.
After making a booking for dinner at Nobu, we headed out into the Gaslamp Quarter for a look around and to have a drink.
We tried to get into Searsucker but it was too busy so ended up across the road at Barley Mash, a massive bar with sports on every TV.
We were lucky to score seats along one window and J got us drinks at the bar. He had a beer and I had a margarita. Including tip the bill was $10.25. So cheap! Though the margarita wasn’t that good.
We then wandered down to Nobu, which is in the Hard Rock hotel. We were too early for our reservation but sat ourselves up at the bar.
We started with a cocktail each. On the left is the Blood Orange Martini (Nobu Shochu, Campari, blood orange puree and fresh lime juice) and on the right is the mango martini, or possibly the Bellini martini. Sorry, I can’t remember what that one was! They were both incredibly good though.
For a pre-dinner snack we shared the Nobu ceviche tacos and the Wagyu jalapeño poppers.
The poppers were amazing and we seriously thought about ordering another serve.
Instead we settled for another drink each. I had the cucumber martini (citrus vodka, cucumber and fresh lemon juice). Nice, but not as good as the previous two. Nobu has a happy hour every night and these cocktails were $9 each.
We moved over to the sushi bar for our dinner.
J picked out some sushi he thought I might like.
And we had a teapot of sake.
I had to order the tamago after seeing the cool stamp on it.
Miso is a must.
While J continued to order sushi straight form the talented chefs, I ordered the vegetable tempura.
I found the choice of vegetables used to be a bit odd and did not particularly like this dish.
Absolutely no idea what this sushi roll contained.
I also ordered two chicken and two beef skewers. These come with your choice of sauce (anticucho, teriyaki, balsamic teriyaki, chipotle-su-miso or wasabi pepper).
I think I had the chipotle on the chicken and the wasabi pepper on the beef.
They were nice but nothing great.
Overall, I found the food at the bar to be better (though we only tried two dishes), and would go there for a snack or a drink over eating in the restaurant. The servers seemed to ignore the people sitting at the sushi bar and it was hard to get their attention when we wanted to order a drink or something off the menu.
We skipped dessert at Nobu and instead went next door to Pinkberry for frozen yoghurt. Here you can choose your yoghurt flavour and then add as many toppings as can fit. They are generous with tastings and we were able to taste the flavours before making a decision.
I went with chocolate hazelnut yoghurt topped with chocolate gems, raspberries and strawberries.
I am now in love with Pinkberry.
We wandered back to our hotel and had a drink in the bar.
I had a raspberry martini.
The plan for the next morning was to source pancakes for breakfast. I am normally a savoury breakfast person but had been craving sweet pancakes for a while now. J did a bit of research and found Richard Walker’s pancake house on Front street. This seemed like a good option so in the morning that is where we started walking to. As we came up the cross street I could see a line of people. Please don’t let that be for the pancake place…
Of course it was for the pancake place. D’oh.
It was at least 50 people, and half a block, long. Not knowing anything about Richard Walker’s pancake house we had no idea just how popular it was.
There was no way we were joining that line. Thankfully there was a Bagel Club right where we were standing so we headed in there instead.
Here you can pick any flavour bagel and and any filling and it is made up on the spot for you. I chose an onion bagel with egg, bacon and cheese.
I can’t remember what J had but we were both very happy with this last minute breakfast, so much so that we almost came back the next day. I do think the Bagel Club staff are missing a perfect marketing opportunity with the queue of people waiting for pancakes. They should be out there with a tray of samples for people to try, this might encourage people to come and get bagels instead, or even get one take-away to much on while they wait in line for their pancakes!
After breakfast we wandered around the Gaslamp Quarter before heading over to Petco Park for a tour.
Petco Park is the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team. We got to go out onto the field and into the press box.
It was opening day in two days’ time so there was a lot of work being done so we couldn’t go into the dugout or into the visiting team’s clubhouse (the Padres only open up their clubhouse to the public one day of the year).
The tour was really interesting and I enjoyed it.
It was time for lunch and we wandered down the road and found ourselves at The Blind Burro. We sat at bar stools on the outside, looking into the restaurant.
It is pretty standard to receive complimentary chips and salsa at Mexican places.
I had a couple of margaritas, while J had a beer and a bloody mary. On a side note, it seemed that whenever J ordered a bloody mary, everyone around us took note and then decided they wanted one as well. After J ordered one at the Blind Burro, the two woman in the above photo, plus the couple sitting next to us, all ordered bloody mary’s as well!
To eat, J had two tacos, the Angus skirt steak (skirt steak, guacamole tradicional, pico de gallo and salsa macha) and the Achiote shrimp (queso oazaca, roasted pineapple, habanero salsa).
He also got a serve of the street corn off the cob (crema, tapatio, lime, queso cotija).
I had the tacos de pollo (roasted chicken, guacamole tradicional, pico de gallo).
I think this sealed the fact that we aren’t massive fans of Baja style tacos. There was nothing wrong with them, just not our preference. J loved the corn though.
While at lunch I got a text message from my team mate, Jill. She and our manager, TheBoss, had arrived safely and wanted to catch up. We met up with them on Fifth street and after a chat and a walk they needed their own lunch. We tried to get into Barley Mash but it was packed so we went back to The Blind Burro! We sat at a table inside and they had tacos. Jill and I both had a couple of margaritas while J and TheBoss had beers.
After that we went for a walk past the entrance to the Gaslamp Quarter and along the esplanade.
This is the Medusa, it used to belong to Paul Allen (from Microsoft), but I was told he has sold it. It comes complete with a covered helicopter and a BBQ that has a matching cover.
After our walk TheBoss and Jill were feeling the effects of jetlag so we bid them farewell and headed back to our hotel to work out what to do for dinner. We didn’t want to go too far but also didn’t want anything Mexican (for a change) or too casual. Donovan’s was literally around the corner and could get us in at around 8pm.
Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived so we had a seat at the bar and watched one of the March Madness semi-finals (college basketball competition) before moving upstairs.
We both had steaks, I can’t recall what cuts. I know I had a baked potato with mine, and the server brings out a tiered stand with all the possible toppings (sour cream, cheese etc) and you can add as many as you like.
The restaurant was dark and a little stuffy but the food was good. We only had a main dish as we weren’t that hungry.
We walked back to the hotel and I got a night shot out the window.
The next morning we checked out and stored our bags and headed out in the direction of Bagel Club. However, we stumbled across a small farmer’s market and decided to get breakfast there. We ordered crepes and watched the guy make them. I did not take any photos of the process but this guy was skilled. He had two round hot plates and was cooking on both. The crepes were so thin. There was a menu with fillings and all could be changed (ingredients added or subtracted) if required. I can’t remember what J had but I had turkey, spinach and cheese on mine.
I also got a cup of fruit for $5. The fruit could have chilli powder or lime juice added to it, I chose lime juice.
I am not a mango fan but this was the best mango I have eaten. I don’t know what the white fruit was but neither J or I liked it. I had to spit it out, it was not good, it had a sort of a raw potato like taste.
We walked over to the convention center and to the ferry behind it. The ferry to Coronado leaves from the main ferry terminal down past the Midway, or there is a smaller dock behind the convention center. It leaves less frequently but if you time it right it can be more convenient than walking the 20-30 minutes to the other terminal.
This is the view of San Diego from the ferry.
It is only a 5-10 minute trip and we were quickly disembarking on Coronado.
The main attraction of Coronado is the beach and the Coronado hotel. The ferry docks on the opposite side of the island to the hotel. The options to get to the other side include taxi, bus, bike or walk. We chose to walk and it took about 20 minutes. We passed a lot of nice houses and it gave us a good look at a suburban neighbourhood.
We had a look around the hotel, including the herb garden and pool.
We then headed to the Sun Deck Bar & Grill and pulled up a couch for a late lunch.
The bar is right on the beach and offers great views.
I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that I ordered a margarita. J had a bloody mary, and after seeing his, the couple that sat on the couch next to us also ordered bloody marys! The waitress that was looking after us was really good. The guy liked extra olives in his bloody mary and when he ordered another one, she brought over a bowl with more in it for him.
And when we ordered one hot dog, she asked if we wanted it cut in half.
It doesn’t look very appetising but it was pretty tasty, and I liked that patrons were left to add their own mustard and ketchup.
We could have settled in for the afternoon, it was very pleasant. But we had things to do, people to see and so on, so we had to make a move. We went for a quick walk on the beach. Two different tour guides mentioned that Coronado beach was voted the best beach in the US by someone called Dr. Beach! I think it was quite a few years ago so I am not sure how long you can keep telling people about it?
We got a taxi back to the Marriot, crossing the bridge that connects Coronado to the rest of San Diego. It has very low barriers and was a bit nerve wracking.
We collected our luggage and walked around to the Hard Rock hotel. I already spotted people walking around with conference t-shirts on, and I have to admit I was a bit excited!
The conference was called MadWorld and it was organised and hosted by MadCap Software. I loved that the MadWorld logo was prominent around the hotel, including on the video screens behind the check-in podiums, and the room cards.
We checked in and then headed up to the Float Bar for a drink with TheBoss and Jill. The opening function for MadWorld was being held at Float so they were closing in 45 minutes to prepare for that but it was time enough to have a quick bevvie. The waitress was very sour though, and that put us off a bit.
If you plan to stay at Hard Rock and want to use the pool area it might be worth checking if there are any events on. The pool is next to the bar and when the bar closes for private events, so does the pool.
J had booked us in for a massage at Rock Spa so we headed to the third floor. When we entered I was a little surprised by the setup. It was basically a retail store with a small counter. There was nowhere to sit and we had to stand and wait for someone to serve us as there was no-one to be seen, and no bell or anything to ring. A girl finally came out from the back and gave us the standard health forms to fill in. We had to stand and fill those in, which was a bit awkward. We were then shown to separate locker rooms, which were really nice and well fitted out. After we changed into gowns and slippers we sat in the lounge area while we waited for our therapists. My massage was excellent, really enjoyed it. As there were no other appointments we were told we could both use the men’s steam room if we wanted to steam together. We had a quick steam but as I was expected upstairs it wasn’t as long as I would have liked. So apart from the reception area I really liked Rock Spa. I was told that as I had had a treatment and was staying in the hotel I could come back and use the steam room whenever I liked. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance.
I quickly got dressed and headed back to Float for the MadWorld welcome reception. On the back of our name badges there were check boxes for the complimentary drinks we could have at each event. For the welcome reception there were three signature MadWorld themed cocktails, but you could also order anything you wanted.
I met up with TheBoss and Jill and we had quite a few drinks and chatted with other conference attendees.
We then walked down the street to Searsucker where we were having dinner with J. It was quite dark so I have only included a few photos.
I think these were the scallops.
Jill and I thought it would be a good idea to end the evening with tequila.
TheBoss had a cognac.
For dessert we had doughnuts and chocolate (malted dark chocolate cream and cinnamon sugar donuts).
And the milk chocolate mousse (fudge brownie, coffee ice cream, candied almonds).
We staggered back to the hotel, ready to start learning lots the next day.
J and I were in a standard room on the seventh floor. We looked over the trolley line and also the train tracks. The building below also pumped music day and night so earplugs were again required.
This is the massive convention centre, probably most famous for hosting ComicCon each year.
Looking the other way.
The minibar was very well stocked with snacks and alcohol. J commented he has never seen so much alcohol in a hotel room.
I loved the double-shower head.
The do not disturb sign.
While we were at dinner, more MadWorld goodies had been delivered to our room.
I found a bottle opener, a $5 voucher for Pinkberry and MadCap M&Ms.
It was an early start the next day, with breakfast being served from 7:30 to 8:30, and the conference starting at 8:30. I farewelled J, as he was going back to Napa that morning, and headed downstairs.
Breakfast was included both days of the conference and was held on the Woodstock terrace, next to the pool and the Float bar. It was buffet style and included hot food, pastries and fruit.
The MadWorld logo was projected onto the wall outside the session rooms.
I am not going to go into details about the conference itself, but it was excellent, I loved every minute of it and learnt a lot. If you are a technical writer than you should definitely try and get to next year’s, being held at the Hard Rock again in April.
Lunch was in the 207 bar, off the lobby, buffet style with a decent range of options.
After more great sessions in the afternoon, it was time to head back to 207 for a bevvie or five. Jill bailed on us, claiming jetlag, but I suspect it might have also been the effects of the tequila the night before.
The MadWorld logo was again evident on all the TVs and screens.
There was a trivia game (all questions about MadCap and their products) and I won a glass for tweeting about the conference throughout the day.
We also had a bit of fun with Jill’s drink pass. Everyone had three complimentary drinks per event, and the bar staff marked them off on our passes. Jill had given her pass to our university lecturer, Harry, who was at the conference to present three sessions. He didn’t need the extra pass as MadCap were very generous with the drinks and kept announcing extra drinks on top of the three already on the pass. So what Harry and I did was borrow a pen from the bartender and mark off a few drinks of our own, to make it look like Harry had put Jill’s pass to good use!
Not one of the marks under Monday night were actual drinks, but you should have seen the look on Jill’s face when Harry gave her the pass back at breakfast the next morning! Bahahahahahaha
The finals of March Madness were on during the evening.
TheBoss and I ended up joining another five people, Harry included, for dinner. We had both said we wanted an early dinner but by the time everyone was sorted and had finished their drinks at 207 it was later than expected. At one stage I went upstairs to put the glass I won safely away before heading out, but when I got downstairs everyone had a fresh drink, MadCap had just announced a fifth beverage on them so everyone had happily obliged. By this stage the bartenders weren’t even bothering to mark the passes.
We eventually headed around to La Puerta, a Mexican place on 4th avenue.
I am not sure if someone had booked or not, but we managed to squeeze the seven of us into a booth at the very back, passing quite a few other conference attendees and speakers seated at other tables.
Someone ordered a frozen sangria and that created a trend and all of us ended up with pink, very cold and very alcoholic drinks.
Bowls of corn chips and dip were brought out.
I had been told by one of the MadCap staff members before I got to San Diego that one the cities specialties was carne asada fries. This dish is french fries topped with beef mince, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. This was going to be my only chance to try it so I ordered it, as did a few other people. Actually, when those sitting across from me asked what it was and I said it was a specialty I got into trouble for not telling them beforehand!
It was bloody good, just what I needed to help soak up the margaritas and sangria!
After explaining why I was taking photos of my food, it was insisted that I take photos of the other dishes as well! Not sure what everyone else ate but it looks like variations of burritos and the second photo has mole sauce on it!
It was a fun, and cheap, night. Including tip, dinner and a drink cost me $15. I called it a night after dinner, walking back to the hotel with TheBoss. The others went to an Irish bar (and tried to convince me to go by telling me there would be bagpipes, what the?) and told me the next morning that they were the only ones in there (and there were no bagpipes), but as it was a Monday night this wasn’t too surprising.
Breakfast was again on the Woodstock terrace, as was lunch.
Haagen-Dazs treated us to afternoon tea.
MadCap had two guitars made and these were given away at the farewell event.
Before we knew it, the last sessions ended and it was again time to head to the Woodstock terrace for last drinks.
Speeches were made by MadCap staff, and then the attendees and speakers had a chance to say anything if they wished. Everyone was full of praise, as they should be. It was a very well-run conference, with great speakers and social events. The guitars and other goodies were given away, sadly I did not win the Kate Spade handbag.
I did get to eat more tacos though! Along with the bar, two do-it-yourself taco stands were available. These turned out to be the best tacos I had in San Diego.
Jill and I said goodbye to TheBoss as he was flying back to Melbourne that night and we sat and had one last drink and then called it a night. Jill had checked out of the Hard Rock and was moving to another hotel as she was staying on for a few more days and I was exhausted. The tacos ended up being my dinner and I was in bed with a book by 7:45pm!
There is rock memorabilia throughout the hotel and while I did not take any pics of Madonna’s bra or Jimi Hendrix’s guitar pick, I did take a photo inside the lifts.
After 10 hours sleep I was feeling pretty damn good and ready for my last day in the States.
Breakfast was had at Maryjane’s, part of the hotel complex.
I had an orange juice, and the Slammin’ hamWich (two eggs over easy or scrambled with Black Forest ham and your choice of cheddar, pepper jack or Swiss on griddled sourdough with seasonal fruit).
After checking out and leaving my bags with the porter I went for a walk. The Gaslamp Quarter is so quiet on a weekday.
I walked around to the Suki day spa to see if I could get a pedicure. I had tried to get into the Rock Spa but they were booked out and recommended Suki. After getting my feet looking, and feeling, pretty again I hopped on the trolley bus.
These hop on and off buses do a loop of San Diego, taking tourists past the major attractions of the city. There is a stop on 4th street just down from Suki and I luckily only had to wait about 10 minutes. The major start and end point is in Old Town, and this is where I had agreed to meet Jill for lunch.
After I got on the trolley we went over to Coronado so I got another look at the city and the island from the bridge. (I do believe Coronado is not technically an island as it does connect to the rest of San Diego somewhere?)
This is a park on Coronado.
Looking across to where the Navy Seals train. You can see the low barriers on the bridge.
Going across the bridge.
It was then onto Balboa Park where there are museums and different gardens. I would have spent a few hours there if I had the time but I stayed on the bus.
Everyone has to get off the bus in Old Town and if you want to continue on then you hop on the next bus. I had a quick look around Old Town in the hope of spotting Jill as my phone had run out of credit, but in the end I managed to find a public phone and was able to call her! Those of you with Telstra pre-paid will probably know that it is quite hard to recharge when overseas. Once I got to LAX I did some research and good old Google provided me with a number I could ring to recharge and I was good to go again.
Back to lunch. We picked somewhere at random, and this brightly coloured place was called Fred’s Mexican Cafe.
The waitress did her best job to confuse us by telling us about the Tuesday taco special. Pity it was Wednesday.
Chips and salsa were provided.
I had the a Crispy Chicken taco (crispy fried chicken breast with ranch dressing, melted cheese, salsa fresca and lettuce) and I think the second one was the Carne Asada taco (marinated steak with salsa cruda, cheese and shredded lettuce). If you get two tacos they come with rice and beans.
It was a pretty decent lunch.
We then walked back down to Old Town, passing Whaley House on the way. This house has been certified as being haunted.
It was then into Old Town and a look at yesteryear.
We then got back on the trolley and rode it back to the Gaslamp Quarter, getting off at the same stop I got on at.
Our first stop was at Pinkberry where we used our vouchers from the conference. I ended up with the strawberry frozen yoghurt, but stuck with the same toppings.
Jill wanted to get some bottled water and snacks so we popped into a supermarket. I bought some Chuao chocolate. To be honest, I started off with two flavours and then decided I might as well try all five available.
I wasn’t brave enough to buy this super hot sauce.
I waited with Jill for the next trolley and after she had left I went back to the Hard Rock to collect my luggage and get a taxi to the airport. If you are flying to LA from San Diego don’t go to either of the main terminals, go to the Commuter terminal. All airlines operate their LA flights from this terminal. I only knew this because TheBoss had sent me a text the night before when he left. He found out the hard way as his taxi took him to the wrong terminal.
It was very quiet and I was super early for my flight, but I was hoping to get on an earlier one. Now you know when you are in line somewhere and the people in front of you all have issues and questions and hold the queue up? Those people annoy me. But today I sort of became one of those people.
BUT, it wasn’t my fault. The lass that was checking me in had no idea how to work her computer. She was happy to put me on an earlier flight (for a $75 fee), but she could not for the life of her figure out the whole process. She had to ask the guy next to her for help, so then he couldn’t serve anyway either. Thankfully, as I said, it was very quiet, so there weren’t too many people being held up.
Once the flight change was locked in, I put the heavier of my two suitcases on the scales, knowing full well it would be over the 23kg/50lb weight limit for premium economy. However, that morning I had received a text message from Qantas saying that my request to upgrade to business class using frequent flyer points had gone through. That meant I had 32kg/70lb limit.
I thought the girl hadn’t noticed the weight of the suitcase but at the last moment she did. When you have a connecting domestic flight either before or after an international flight, you get the weight limit that applies to the international class you are flying. However, she couldn’t see it on the computer that I was flying business. I told her I had a text message and she kept looking and eventually had to call her supervisor, who was much more clued in and found the correct screen. So after all that I got both suitcases checked through to Melbourne, but for whatever reasons she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, issue me with a boarding pass for the international leg. Ah well, I will deal with that when I get to LA.
I cleared security and it was only a short wait before boarding was called. The gate was packed as one of the other airlines was having issues and disembarked one of their flights just before take off due to mechanical issues. There were a lot of cranky and stressed people around, as most had connecting flights in LA which were going to be missed.
Our flight was called and we filed through the doors and onto the tarmac, where we were stopped by a rope. Everyone had to wait until the plane we were getting on had disembarked the previous passengers. Why they corralled everyone into this holding area I don’t know, we stood there for quite a while. I did receive a text message before we boarded saying that my flight to Melbourne was now leaving the next day, which made me panic until I read the rest of it and it meant instead of leaving at 11:30 that night, it was now leaving at a bit past midnight, which made it the next day! *sigh of relief*
The flight to LAX was 24 minutes and we taxied to the American Eagle satellite terminal. It was fascinating to watch at least five planes coming into land next to each other as we taxied along.
I got on the bus and transferred to terminal four and then had to get over to the Tom Bradley International terminal.
There is a bus that will transfer connecting passengers from T4 to TBIT and therefore allows you to skip another security check, but I followed the signs and ended up outside T4. It didn’t matter, you need your international boarding pass to get on the bus and I did not have that. I walked over to TBIT and to the Qantas check-in counters. I stood in the Business Class line and a staff member checked to make sure I was in the right line. She then realised I had no luggage and asked if I had come in from somewhere else. Yes. OK, she will get me sorted as soon as possible. I was then directed to a First Class counter as it freed up before the Business counters. I handed over my passport and was asked for my luggage tags, which I took forever to find in my travel wallet. That sorted I was issued a boarding pass. No directions to the lounge or anything.
Security took a bit of time, and I had to have a left side pat down after going through the body scanner. Then it was up the elevators to the fifth floor and the OneWorld Business Lounge. I could not be bothered taking any pics but this long narrow space is known for getting extremely busy. Hopefully the renovations will make it more user friendly. While I was there announcements were being made to ask people to remove bags from seats and from walkways.
I headed straight to the back of the lounge to the podium where a staff member will give you access to the showers if you give her your boarding pass. There can sometimes be a wait if the lounge is busy and as I handed over my boarding pass I asked if there was a wait that evening. A male staff member was standing next to the podium talking to the female attendant and he snapped “of course there’s a wait’. I opened my mouth to ask how long (not that I cared, just wanted to know so I could determine whether to get settled and have a drink and a bite to eat before a shower) and before I could say anything I was handed a metal disc and told I could use room 5. There either was no wait, or the lady felt bad because I was snapped at. Either way, someone has an attitude problem!
I felt much better after a shower (though the fittings clearly need maintenance) and found a seat about half way down the lounge where I settled in to wait for my flight. I made myself a ham roll and got some noodles and a glass of bubbles and read a book until it was time to board.