Day 49: Strange creature overload

pandabear

DAY 49: San Diego, California
Miles traveled: 7,100
States visited: 20
Weather: 63, cold and rainy

I sacrificed one of my L.A. weekends to swing down to San Diego. I’d been wanting to see this city for a long time, and I wasn’t disappointed.

On the way, I stopped in La Jolla, at a beach that used to be for children but then got taken over by seals, who camp out there every evening. This was my first time seeing these animals in the wild. They do very little except waddle out of the water and find a spot to lay for seemingly hours on end.

seals

sealclose

San Diego has one of the world’s most famous zoos, so I had to fit that into my budget. I’ve only been to the zoo once, when I was six years old maybe, so this experience was spectacular. I spent almost 5 hours there and saw a ton of strange creatures. Click on the thumbnails for closeups.

The hippo nuzzled up against the glass wall of his pool, giving passers-by an extreme close-up.

hippo

Mitch Hedberg says, “Koalas are so cute. Why do they have to be so far away from me? We need to ship a few over. And I will apprehend one. And then I can pet him.”

koalas

An elephant throws dust all over himself.

elephant

Zebras are always cool.

zebras

Most of the animals seemed to have comfortable living environments, except for the rhinos. I don’t know how they could be happy in this little pool of water.

rhinos

I’ve been desperately wanting to see a bear on this trip. I still haven’t seen one in the wild, but a brown bear at the zoo is a start.

brownbear

Baby tigers slept while their mom paced angrily out of sight, near the door of her enclosure, waiting for the keeper to feed her.

tigers

The monkeys played with the kids.

monkeys

The camels never stopped eating.

camels

This giraffe says Who are you looking at?

giraffeface

And my favorite animal, the vicious, man-eating komodo dragon. I think he wanted to eat these children.

komodo

After the zoo I spent some time in Hillcrest, one of my favorite neighborhoods I’ve seen so far on my travels. The neighborhoods in San Diego have big welcome signs. It’s a nice touch.

hillcrest

Hillcrest has a ton of affordable restaurants and bars, some good shopping (the Buffalo Exchange had an incredible selection), nice residential streets, bike lanes, and a great park, Balboa Park, where I did some hiking. I went to a bar called Nunu’s, which reminded me of Dee’s in Pittsburgh, just slightly more upscale. I also went downtown to the Stout Public House. It’s the only bar in Southern California I’ve found that is dedicated to hockey. I watched game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals there, though Red Wings fans outnumbered Penguin fans 2-to-1, and the outcome of the game was disappointing.

After being in L.A. for a week, San Diego was a total breath of fresh air. It’s such a laid back place, with a lack of pretension, great shops, and residents who don’t drive like maniacs. I could live in San Diego in a second. Perhaps someday I will.

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3 Responses to Day 49: Strange creature overload

  1. Keilan says:

    Glad you enjoyed San Diego and were able to work in a Hedberg quote. No pick up volleyball in Balboa Park?

  2. Scott says:

    Nope, I couldn’t find the volleyball court driving around, and it wasn’t on any of their maps.

  3. Donna Vizza says:

    Hi, Scott! Hope you had a great Christmas! I’m going through your recent updates and I had to laugh at myself; a quick look at the camel picture at first showed a rare 3-humped 6-legged camel. A reminder that I need to slow down!!

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