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A visit to San Diego

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A visit to San Diego

Postby Graeme » Wed 14 Sep 2011 05:22 GMT

I just got back from a very nice trip to San Diego; granted holiday vacation trips can make the places you visit seem wonderful as you are away from work and just concentrating on having a good time. San Diego is an interesting place with enormous contrasts and odd contradictions. I arrived just before the worst/longest power outage that San Diego has ever had, the power was off for about 9 hours. There were people stuck in elevators (lifts) for hours, there was no light at all in my hotel and the emergency lights were extinguished within the hour. The people of San Diego pulled together and I was given food, water, and advice. I was shown to my room by flashlight reminiscent of some old movie where the guest is shown to his room by a candle lit shaking handed butler. It was hot that day, which probably added to the power draw and the subsequent outage, the air conditioners were off and the humidity was high creating a stifling condition on the sixth floor where I was lodged. Fortunately the power was restored and my exciting introduction came to an end. The next day I toured the Maritime Museum which consists of several ships, an old soviet submarine from the cold war era, a hunter killer class of diesel/electric design. A sardine can from Hell I'd say, you couldn't have paid me enough to live and work in those conditions. The American submarine was a slightly newer version and was fitted with all the modern conveniences absent from the Russian sub. It was a small sub, but in good shape and on the surface (forgive the pun) quite livable. There are also a tall masted ship (The star of India) which is a Bark class schooner and a smaller yacht, a small steamship and a huge ferry which also serves as the gift shop. Nearby is the USS Midway a large aircraft carrier turned museum which has hours of fun hidden away inside and on the superstructure. I whiled away several hours wandering around this city of the sea, complete with it's own laundry, airport, medical and dental units and a canteen complex to feed over 2000 men. I managed to make a fool of myself climbing into and out of numerous aircraft and trying out the simulators. I even persuaded the operator to let me go on one alone so no one could here me swearing when I inadvertently tried to fly it upside down.
I traveled over to the small island of Coronado (although really it`s a peninsula) and enjoyed a walk through the stately grounds of the Del Coronado Hotel, the beach front there is amazing. At sun down there were over 8 weddings taking place on the beach by the sea and a lone piper skirling mournfully on the rocks while the sea crashed around them all. I'm sure the good food and alcohol helped to make it seem a bit more magical than it really was, but nevertheless it was enchanting.
Against my better judgement I was dragged to Sea World, an enormous zoo for fish and watery mammals. I liked the river raft adventure although getting soaked to the skin might be better left to the younger crowd. The dolphin show was interesting although I felt sorry for the poor creatures, they are well trained and well looked after but as I said it`s not my cup of tea. The sea lion show was clever and the performing otter was delightful, again I felt they might have been better off in the wild, but there again at least they are working for their living. The exhibits were good, but I am left with the enduring smell of penguin poo suffusing my sinuses and even after numerous shots of bourbon it still hasn`t gone.
I finished up with a trip to Balboa park, site of the 1935 grand exhibition or exposition. There is a museum of space, automobiles, art of numerous types and styles. Museum of man, museum of science (Reuben Fleet museum of Science) and museum of natural science. There are exhibits of plants and insects and everything of interest to the inquisitive mind. There is even a central stage with an organ made in the 1930`s which thunders out across the wide open spaces, the trees (Balboas and pines) tremble like spindly aspen with the tones and reverberations of music splashing the leaves like a strong shower.
I dined and drank well enjoying seafood and wines; I left with my head full of new and old ideas, stimulated by the wonder of what man has created and impressed by mans power. I was also struck by mans fragility and the reliance on systems that can easily break, of infrastructure sorely in need of repair but who wants to pay the taxes to fix it up. I was struck by the wealth and the poverty, multi million dollar yachts moored side by side with homeless people clustering together along the wharf trying to keep warm. Hotel rooms costing $200 a night while outside people begged for a dollar for a coffee or some food.
I had a great time in San Diego and I`d certainly go there again, next time I will take a flashlight just in case.
Graeme
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Postby Trev » Wed 14 Sep 2011 07:05 GMT

That was interesting Graeme.

Actually, I didn't realise at first it was you posting, I started to read it waiting for the 'spammy link' to appear. :D It was only at the end I saw your name. So I went back and re-read it properly.
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Postby Dave » Wed 14 Sep 2011 07:53 GMT

Great post, Graeme - makes me feel as if I'd like to go some day if I ever make it to California. :-D
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Postby Kay » Wed 14 Sep 2011 10:17 GMT

Great post! Thanks, Graeme. It would make a great article for the main site. D'ye mind if I copy it over?
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Postby ruggie » Wed 14 Sep 2011 13:44 GMT

I have a Facebook friend who lives in San Diego and was there during that power outage. He seemed unsurprised...
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Postby Graeme » Wed 14 Sep 2011 15:05 GMT

The majority of the people I met seemed quite amazed that the power could go off for so long, they'd had 'brown downs' there but no actual power off before. It was completely dark in the hotel as the power went off before sun down and all the emergency lights were expired before the sun went down. The staff did have a couple of flashlights to hand so I guess they were a little prepared.
Kay if you want to move it, edit it etc feel free.
I did have fun and the blackout got us off to a jolly good start to an adventure, I'd go back again as there were a few museums I just didn't have the time to get too.
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Postby Kay » Wed 14 Sep 2011 18:59 GMT

Thanks, Graeme. We'll not move it. Just copy it over to the appropriate section of the site.
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Postby Dave » Thu 15 Sep 2011 16:14 GMT

Here it is in all its glory. Many thanks, Graeme!

http://britishexpat.com/americas/usa/a- ... san-diego/

I see someone's commented already. ;-)
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