San Diego

20150314_084634 I took a weekend trip to San Diego on my own. None of my friends either had enough money or that weekend free. But I was determined to do something – travel – see something. So I planned to go by myself, worried, but not too worried that I’d be ok. I left on the Friday night and arrived in San Diego around 8:30. I walked to the car rental shuttle area. Every other car rental company shuttle came by at least twice before mine turned up. But I was relieved to see it when it did. The man at the car rental place upgraded me to a VW convertible Beetle in red. It was very nice. I got a GPS, just in case, and was soon whizzing on my way to my hotel. I stayed at a Day’s Inn. It was not luxury, but the room was nice and clean, and the hotel was in a convenient location. It was just before 10pm. I decided that I would go on a short walk to explore the area. I soon realised exploring is better when you know where the nice spots to go are. I had lost my Vaseline on the plane/at the airport. This was a disaster for me because I am addicted to it. Fortunately, it was nearly empty anyway and I had 2 more at home. But I could feel my lips tingling for their saviour, so I bought a Chap Stick at a 7Eleven. Walking around on my own at night was scary. The number of scary-looking/crazy/alcoholic men around is worrying. San Diego also seems to be a bit of a party city. There are lots of clubs and bars playing live music. In this way, it is almost like Newcastle, with girls walking around at night in high heels and short dresses. I promptly went back to the hotel to sleep. In the morning things seemed nicer. I had the free breakfast in the hotel and took a banana and an apple juice carton for my trip. I was going to the zoo. I was sooooo excited. I put the top down on my car, set the GPS and was on my way. I arrived just after 8am. The roads were clear and the car park was empty. This would be rush-hour at home. The zoo opened at 9am so I went for a walk. The zoo is in the beautiful Balboa Park, where there are lots of walks, museums and interesting sights. I walked along, taking in a beautiful view, before I headed in the opposite direction and saw a bit of the housing in the area. Soon, it was time to enter the zoo. I handed my ticket to the girl and walked through the gates. I took a park map and tried to determine what to do first. There was a man standing with an Eagle Owl and so I admired him for a while. The zoo hadn’t officially opened yet. I then took a look in the gift shop. I later bought a cap which I should have bought then since it was so hot. I met a nice park assistant who told me the best way to walk the park so as to avoid walking uphill too much, and he advised me to take the bus tour. So, the first thing I did was take the free bus tour. It turned out, I think, best to have taken the bus first and in the morning. This way, I knew the layout of the zoo, what to expect and what I wanted to see most on foot. Furthermore, more animals were out since it wasn’t quite burning hot like it would be later, and I got good pictures from the higher vantage point. It was interesting to get information about the plants and animals before I started walking. The zoo is really amazing. So, after the tour, I started my walk around the zoo. I saw the rhino and the giraffes first, which was cool. Then my journey took me to Elephant Odyssey. I got to touch a real Elephant tooth. Did you know that when an elephant’s tooth is worn down it is pushed forward and eventually falls out as a new one replaces it? I found that pretty interesting and it made me with that humans could grow back teeth if their adult teeth ever fall out. I enjoyed watching the majestic creatures eat and roam around. 20150314_10372920150314_103941 The lions were also great to see. The male looked so sleepy and content. But I got to see the female make a jump from the rock to the platform. My favourite area was Northern Frontier. The polar bear attraction was splendid. There were three polar bears. The male kept going in circles in the water because he couldn’t mate with the female anymore. It was funny to see. One of the females showed off, swimming and playing. She was so close to me. I wanted to touch her. She was so beautiful and magnificent. I had my Coca Cola ready to take a snap, since Coke has a polar bear mascot. I stayed watching the polar bears for ages, just in awe and wonder. 20150314_110820 20150314_111033 20150314_111234 I had planned to go down Panda Canyon next but I somehow got side-tracked after seeing the eagles and ended up in the Lost Forest. But this was fine. The monkey trail was a bit confusing though, and I am sure I went around in circles several times. I ate at the Treetops Café, which wasn’t  as shaded as I would have liked, but it had a nice view. Then I got lost trying to find my way to the orangutans. But I asked a guide and he pointed me in the right direction. The orangutans were funny and I watched them for a long time. There was one who came up to the glass, like he wanted to make friends with us but couldn’t. He made faces and tried to touch us. Then he turned his bum to us and lay face down. 20150314_131110 I took the Sky-ride back up to the polar bears so I could walk down Panda Canyon. There was a long line at the Panda exhibit, in the blistering heat. By this point I was glad I had bought my cap. But I wished I had more sun-cream with me.  I made sure to have more the next day!. The panda was just sitting there being cute. Though I feel the name ‘Giant’ is an  over-statement. It was just pretty big. Overall, the zoo was superb and I had a great day. Afterwards, I wandered Balboa Park for a while, meandering through the Art village and visiting museums quickly, and seeing the architecture in the park. Then I drove back to the hotel. . I left the top up this time because the car had complained that I’d been going too fast with the top down on the way there. I decided to walk San Diego, now I’d done some research into where to go. I decided to go to the marina via the Gaslamp district. I saw the cool old-town. The marina was gorgeous. And I got  a good view of the beautiful city. My feet ached so much by the time I got there and I just sat on the pier looking out at the sunset and taking embarrassing selfies. 20150314_183653 20150314_183807Like these …

I walked along the marina before the sun went down and found The Kiss:

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I continued walking, headed for my destination: Little Italy, where I planned to eat. By this time I was in agony. My legs and feet hurt so much. I hired a pedlo and the nice lady biked me there. It was so worth it. When I got there I headed for the first restaurant I saw, Mimmos. Inside, it looked like a village, with the walls painted as houses and fake windows and even mini gardens coming out into the restaurant. Of course, I ordered a pasta bake. It was really yummy. I tought about getting dessert but knew I’d have to walk back to the hotel and I was already pretty full, so I passed.

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The next day, I went to Sea World! I thought it opened at 9am, but it opened at 10am, so I was really early. Luckily, there is a national park right next door, with a lake. I took a walk and decided I would stop at the picnic tables I could see across the way and read. Unfortunately, I was plagued by black flies when I sat down for more than 5 minutes. I think they were attracted to my sun cream. So I stood and wandered back and forth, kindle in hand (thank you again Jenny!!).

Eventually it was time to enter the park. At the entrance there were pools with fish that eat your skin and sharks that we could touch. I looked around the gift shop, scouting things I may buy later (I did this at every gift shop around the park to check which ad the best merchandise for later buying). What I did end up buying later was a chance to open an oyster and get my very own pearl. It was cheap to do and inside of the oyster could be and size or colour pearl. I got a cream with green which was quite large and very beautiful. I was happy. I had it set into a dolphin pendant so that I could always have a reminder of this trip. It’s beautiful. But I’ve gotten off track with my day…

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I first went up the Sky Tower. This gives a 360 degree view of the park. Then I heard a talk about otters. Next, I went to Dolphin Point. I watched the dolphins and was thinking of leaving when the trainers came to give a demonstration. We saw the dolphins to some tricks and I actually got to touch them! I never thought I would ever get to touch a dolphin. It was fantastic. Her skin was smooth and slippery. I loved that experience. I could play with dolphins all of my life and never get bored. I then went to the Shamu stadium as a show would be starting there soon. I watched the killer whales in their tank. They were showing off for the diners who were eating at the Shamu restaurant. The show started with some over-dramatic videos about the rescue of a baby (blue) whale. Then a lady in a green shirt started us off, answering commonly asked questions and being really cheesy. I would have preferred more trainer talk if there was going to be talking. But the whale demonstrations were awesome and I couldn’t get enough of watching those huge creatures jump out of the water.

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I ate a quick lunch before going to the dolphin show. This was unbelievable. I am not joking, my eyes were tearing I found it so beautiful and amazing. I could not believe that I was actually watching this. The show included birds, dolphins and orcas. I took a video of the whole thing (check out facebook!!! haha). I was over-awed. I actually love love love dolphins. The one critique I have about the show is that they could have done more with the birds. All the birds really did was fly once in a straight line. I know those parrots can do much more than that. There were also some incredible divers who did not fail to entertain. Seriously, if you get a chance to go to San Diego, go to Sea World and the zoo.

I travelled the rest of the park, touching sting-rays and star fish, riding the rollercoaster (which was exhilarating after not having done it in a lone time), taking the cable car over the bay, looking in aquariums and meeting penguins and polar bears. Finally, I went back to the dolphin show. I couldn’t get enough. This time, I just sat and watched, rather than take videos or photos. It was slightly different this time, but ten I guess it probably is every time There was also a baby dolphin who joined in.

After Sea World, I drove to Mission Beach. This is a fun place. I got a definite party vibe. And it is true that people roll skates, ride bikes, just basically roll along the sore path. I was concerned that I may get it. I saw some beautiful parrots. The sun was setting and it gave the beach a gorgeous light. There were so many beautiful people – men with muscles and women in bikinis. There were bars and seafood restaurants and queer little colourful buildings packed with people. I got a hot dog and some ice cream for $7. Not the healthiest of things, but scrummy. While waiting in line, we saw a guy who had driven his car over a curb and couldn’t get it back over. The wheels weren’t even touching the ground/sand. At first no one would help him, and some guys just laughed and took pictures. But soon it became a spectacle of manly bravado and a pile of guys heaved the car back over the curb. Before this happened, one of the women in line shouted out that they should pile in the back seat so the weight would tip it back over the curb. But they didn’t listen and we girls discussed how men don’t listen to women.

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It was time to go home. When I got to the car rental place, there were road spikes in the entrance. I didn’t realise you could just drive over them in that direction. So I became a spectacle while traffic built up behind me and the car rental guy looked on. Furthermore, my flight was delayed until 10:25 from 9:30. But I made it home safe and sound and didn’t really have much to complain about. I loved my trip and had the most wonderful experiences that I will treasure forever.

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