This is the journal of Nicole Bertola's trip to visit her uncle and watch
the 1999 Women's World Cup in California.


Tuesday, June 29th

My trip started when my Dad dropped me off at Denver International Airport. From there I flew on Delta Airlines to Salt Lake City where I had a layover. The airline people took me to a room where I ate cookies and watched movies. After an hour, it was time for my next flight to San Jose, California. That was a great flight. The clouds looked so big and puffy that I felt like I was flying through heaven.

My Uncle Drew met me at the airport. It was already late, but we were both hungry, so we went to Denny's for a grilled cheese and coke. By the time we were done, it was really late and I had to go to sleep.

Wednesday, June 30th

We started the day with breakfast and Nintendo. I like Mortal Kombat, and I'm getting the hang of it, but Uncle Drew can kick my butt. After that, we went for a long swim and played volleyball in the pool. That was really fun.

In the early evening we went to Spartan Stadium in San Jose to see the Women's World Cup Soccer quarterfinals. There were two games. In the first, China defeated Russia (3-0), and in the second, Norway beat Sweden (3-1).

We went back home and grilled up T-bone steaks and corn for dinner. After dinner, I went swimming again with Uncle Drew's roommate, Alex.

Thursday, July 1st

Mostly, we just screwed around today. I spent a lot at the pool with Marissa. She's a neighbor. We had lots of fun. Afterwards, we watched the USA play Germany on TV. The US team is great, and they won, but the game was close. It ended 3-2. The second game was Brazil - Nigeria. Nigeria scored 3 goals in the last 30 minutes to tie the game, but Brazil scored in sudden death to win 4-3.

For dinner, we went to Seto Tempura House. I met Uncle Drew's friend, Mami. She has to wear a kimono when she works there. We had shabu shabu, ika rings (squid), and unagi (eel), as well as miso soup, rice, and salad. After that we went back with Mami to watch Men In Black.

Friday, July 2nd

We started the day with more Nintentdo. I finally beat Uncle Drew at Mortal Kombat. He says it was just luck because his controller didn't work. We went swimming, and after lunch, we drove the MGB to Malibu Grand Prix to race carts. There really fast and the course is all twists and turns. I raced the F-40 cars; Uncle Drew raced the Formula cars. He took me on a two seat Formula car for three laps. They were a lot faster. When it was over, I didn't want to stop.

From there, we headed to the Stanford Shopping Center. It's an open air mall with some very cool stores. I liked the Disney store best. They had lots of stuffed animals. I got two Tiggers, one stuffed and one that's a finger puppet.

Saturday, July 3rd

We went to the beach in Santa Cruz today. We took the scenic route through the mountains (Rt. 9). That was a lot of fun, specially because we were in the MGB and had the top down. Along the way, we stopped to see a giant Coastal Redwood forest. A few of the trees were so big you could live in them.

Santa Cruz is really nice, but by the time we got there, the waves were pretty small. In the evening, we saw a sea otter swimming along the shore. (It was too dark for a picture, though.) She was floating on her back with her head and flippers sticking out of the water. She was feeding herself with her small hands. Every two or three minutes, she would dive down for more food. That was the coolest thing.

For dinner, we ate at a Thai resteraunt. I never ate Thai before, but it was ok. Uncle Drew says it grows on you after a while. I liked the satay chicken, and the ice teas were the best. When we got home, Mami came over and we watched A Bug's Life.

Sunday, July 4th

Today we went to see the USA v. Brazil semi-final. Uncle Drew and I dressed in red, white, and blue soccer outfits. We wanted to paint our faces and color our hair, but we couldn't find anyone to do it. The day was very warm and the sky was clear. We had to walk two miles from the car to the stadium and were worn out by the time we got there. It sure does show you what good condition the players must be in to run for 90 minutes under those conditions. There was a huge crowd of more than 73,000 people.

Everyone did "the wave" and a huge double flag made from the flags of both countries was passed all the way around the stadium. It was a very exciting game, with a lot of great saves by the US goalie, Briana Scurry. She was chosen as player of the game. The US team scored on a header and a PK. The final score was USA 2, Brazil 0.

After the game we went back for a swim and something to eat. Before too long though, it was time to go see the Fourth of July fireworks. We watched them at Great America, and had really great seats. They were amazing.

Monday, July 5th

Another day starting with Nintendo. By now, I can beat Uncle Drew almost every time. We ate a late breakfast and went swimming before heading to San Francisco in the afternoon. This time, we left the MGB at home because the city can get pretty cold.

Once we got there, we parked and then took a pedal powered taxi to the cable car line. We got on the cable car and headed to Lombard Street. We got off there, but were too far away to see the famous winding part of Lombard Street.

Our next stop was at Pier 41. We could see some sealions sunning themselves on one of the docks. We had a hot chocolate and waited there for the Alcatraz ferry. I love sea gulls, and there was one on the radar mast the whole time we were on the boat. That was a good sign.

The boat took us out to the far side of Alcatraz and let us off. That was really fun, but very cold. We got a good view of the city along the way, but it was too foggy to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Alcatraz tour was great. I really liked the audio tape part of the tour. It has two guards and a former inmate describing the prison and the people who were there. They also talked about the most famous escape attempts. After the tour we went to the bookstore and picked up some postcards and a book. On the ferry coming back I saw a lot of pelicans. They were all flying in a straight line just above the water. We also spotted a sea lion swimming along out in the bay. She was a big pup and she popped up and down through the waves.

Later, we met Mami at an Italian resteraunt in San Francisco and ate spaghetti. The waiter told us some funny jokes, and the food was delicious. I had vanilla gelato for desert. Afterwards, we drove down the winding part of Lombard Street - twice! - before we headed home.

Tuesday, July 6th

Today is my last day in California. I went back to the Disney store to get Simba, but they didn't have him, so I got Kiara instead. After shopping, I had a quick lunch with Uncle Drew, Mami, and Alex. We're just about ready to go to the airport for my flight back home. I hope its a good flight.

© 1999 by Nicole Bertola and Andrew Bertola