San Diego is certainly a pleasant place to be. Although being the place that's infamous for year round 72º F weather, it was a little hotter than I expected. I stayed with Jim and Reta, who are family friends from back when I lived in Saudi. I call them "Uncle" Jim and "Auntie" Reta though, even though they are of no relation to me. They are completely vegetarian, so I was able to eat everything from mock duck to veggie wraps to hummus sandwiches. It's not as bad as it seems, although I don't think I could live my whole life as a vegetarian. Thursday, I met up with Keiwing, a friend from Texas who's currently in the Navy and stationed in San Diego. We met up at the Festival of Sail by the San Diego Bay, which is a procession of 20 or so tall ships from all around the world, you know, the old kinds with the sails and the masts. We only went on one ship, and the inside seemed to be renovated with modern tiles, so I didn't really get to see what an old ship would look like inside. Later, Keiwing gave me a tour of his Navy ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, which is a LHD 6. Although not an aircraft carrier, the ship was still huge, and I could easily get lost in it. Dinner was at L&L Hawaiian BBQ, which was quite good in my opinion. We capped off the day going to the beach at Coronado. It was very calm, very relaxing, and there was a bunch of kids and adults decked out in their karate uniforms practicing their moves in the sand and the water. It was a pretty cool scene, especially with the sun setting in the background.
The next day, I met up with Keiwing again, and we went to the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which is a separate branch fro the famous zoo, and focuses more on a Safari-like experience. They had everything there from photo caravans, to hot air balloon rides. We just took the regular tram around. I think my favorite part was seeing the gorillas. I know I've seen them before, but it's been a long time, and they're not like what I remember. It's probably because of all the movies and television I see that brainwash me to believe they're very primitive, but gorillas are incredibly human-like. They're movements are so smooth and... how do I say... normal? It's almost as if they were just humans inside gorilla suits. There were two gorillas playing around, and slapping each other with towels, it was just like a scene from the locker room. Dinner was at Bucca di Beppo, which is labeled as an "Immigrant Italian Restaurant," whatever that means. That's just the beginning of the weirdness. When walking in, we were given a tour of the kitchen, and meeting the chef. There was even a table in the kitchen that people could eat at, as long as you call to reserve it. We were shown to our tables, and on the way, I saw a big family table that was already occupied, and had a 3d paper maché model of the Pope's head in the middle. Now, I always wondered why pizza was only made with tomato sauces, and I vowed to one day invent/create a pizza that was based on alfredo sauce. Well they beat me to it, because we ordered the Pizza Angelo, which has alfredo sauce, chicken breast, roasted corn, mushrooms, and homemade potato chips. The weirdest combination, but very very good. I highly recommend a trip to this place, just for the quirkiness of it all.
My last day in San Diego, I went to the beach/cove at La Jolla with Jim and Reta. It was definitely a different type of scene, almost like a bay. Parts of it were rocky bluffs, with spots of beach along the way. We set up a tarp in a grassy area and had a picnic while we watched and listened to the waves crash against the rocks. A leisurely walk along the coast brought us to two interesting places. One was a little cove filled with people snorkeling. I unfortunately did not get to do that, but I will in the future in some place nicer, maybe Hawaii. The other place, was another little cove/beach, that apparently used to be called the "Children's Pool." Well, one winter, a bunch of seals decided to breed in this very spot, and made it their home. It became a seal colony, but many citizens of San Diego felt like this place belonged to the people. There was an ensuing war amongst animal protection rights people who felt the seals should be left alone, and people who felt that the seals should be moved. Well, it's currently a public swimming area, and there are signs around the area stating that anyone can swim there. Right next to these signs are signs from animal protection organizations stating that people should not swim there, as it scares the seals away, and they have no place to rest. So it was interesting seeing this little place where seals and people were "swimming together."