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Frank's Trip to San Diego

[a panda] I spent the week of January 7th - 14th, 2006 out in San Diego, California. Part of it was for a meeting, part was for fun, and, unfortunately, part was spent just trying to shake feeling sick for a bit.

The trip highlights include going to Balboa park, the zoo, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, Torrey Pines, and flying over the area. Since I wasn't feeling that great for part of the time, I didn't take as many pictures as I normally do.

Here are some highlights.

Click on the thumbnail images to get larger ones (around 100-300K).

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a pretty huge park in San Diego. There are a dozen or more museums, wooded areas, a Japanese Friendship Garden, and more. It's a neat place to see. I was there a couple times, as you can only scratch the surface any one time.

* [The Aerospace Museum] The Aerospace Museum is a pretty cool place. While it's no Dayton or Smithsonian, it's got a good number of planes in it, with the occasional satellite or moon shot command module. They have an SR-71 Blackbird mounted in front (to the right on the picture) but because it's up high on a mounting, you can't really see it properly, only the underside, and from 10-15 feet above you (that's 3-5 meters for our metric friends).

The coolest part is that it's right on the final approach for the San Diego airport, so there's a constant stream of planes flying low overhead, in the landing configuration (gear down, flap down). Well, constant stream until I wanted to take this picture. Then I had to wait like 10 minutes. But it's kind of cool. (Jan 2006)

* [Balboa Park] One of the old building in Balboa park. The architecture is cool. (Jan 2006)

* [Balboa Park] Looking down a corridor, outside, in Balboa Park. This is near the model train museum and snack bar. I wanted to get a shot when no one was around, but that simply was not possible. There was a constand stream of people walking. (Jan 2006)

* [Spreckls outdoor pipe organ] The Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park is the largest outdoor pipe organ. There are free concerts every Sunday at 2pm. It's pretty cool and pretty huge and when the organist lets loose, it's pretty loud and echoes off the buildings nearby.

Organ music still is groups into two categories in my mind: the bear-driving-a-mini-car-in-the-circus type and the count-phantom-laughing-menacingly type. Even so, it was still fun. (Jan 2006)

* [(Balboa?) Tree in Balboa Park] This was a pretty big, honking tree in the park. It was across the street from the pipe organ, in a wooded area near a parking lot. I believe it's a Balboa tree, though I'm not certain. I think I was alternating feeling cold and hot at that point in time, so I didn't take many more pictures of the park. (Jan 2006)

The San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is an amazing place. Huge. They do a lot of work with endangered species, studying, breeding, and trying to help them. It's quite possible that in a few decades or so, zoos will be looked on in the same light as bear baiting contents, regardless of their intent. But for now, it is an impressive place.

I was there, like +30 years ago. I was probably 6ish at the time. My only memories of San Diego are that the zoo smelled bad (I have been informed that I held a handkerchief to my nose the entire time) and that the proboscis monkeys were cool. These are the monkeys with the ridiculously huge noses. I wanted to see them again. That was my mission.

I failed miserably. Apparently, they've been dead for decades. I guess a cage full of bones just wasn't drawing the crowds, so they've long since been removed. After a little digging I found that proboscis monkeys don't do well in captivity (i.e., they all die, quickly), and Borneo is the only place in the world where they live, and of course, their habitats are being destroyed. They're very endangered. I think I shall not be seeing them again.

But I digress. The zoo is pretty neat.

* [Flamingos] ones even!...doing the kung-fu stork move. Well, I guess it's the flamingo move, by definition. Also, note the "exotic" duck to the left. I do like the lighting. (Jan 2006)

* [Some kind of monkey] It's not a probosis monkey. Its nose isn't even enormous. I need to look up what kind of monkey it is. They have a large (relatively new) area with all sorts of monkeys. (Jan 2006)

* [A Meerkat] While it looks monkey-like, the meerkat is a rodent, doing the prairie-dog sort of thing. Kind of cute in the same way a squirrel is. (Jan 2006)

* [An elepahnt getting exercise] The zookeeper called the elephant by name and it came to him and then followed him as he walked back and forth, giving it some exercise. The poles and wire are pretty sturdy, but it seems like if the elephant got it into its mind that it wanted out, it would. (Jan 2006)

* [The San Diego Zoo] At points in time, the zookeeper would have the elephant do various things and give it some goodies. He made the trunk gesture with his arm, and the elephant did that. It sort of looks like the elephant was about to go on a rampage or something, but really seemed rather content. (Jan 2006)

* [A giant panda] A giant panda posing while munching bamboo. They have a few on loan from China. Any offspring (and the San Diego Zoo has been able to breed the reluctant species) belong to China and go back when they're 3. (Jan 2006)

* [A giant panda] MMMmmmmmmm...bamboo... A giant panda doing his job. (Jan 2006)

* [peacock] A peacock was wandering around. At one point it was on top of a building. He didn't go into full display mode, so this is as dramatic and colorful as I could get him. (Jan 2006)

* [Sunset on San Diego Bay] Driving back from the zoo, I stopped at the top of a hill overlooking San Diego Bay and the airport (looking south) to watch the sun set. (Jan 2006)


For photos and a description of my flight over the San Diego area, look here.

La Jolla

I went to La Jolla (pronounced "Lah Hoy-ah"; I'm such a gringo) which is just north of San Diego.

* [The beach at La Jolla.] Some palm trees in a row at the beach at La Jolla. (Jan 2006)

* [The beach at La Jolla] A park bench by the beach at La Jolla. (Jan 2006)

* [The Mormon temple at San Diego] There's a big-ass Mormon temple in La Jolla. It's visible in the distance. I wound up driving by it, but I didn't take a picture because I wanted to get back to San Diego and avoid the traffic. After driving for 10 minutes or so, I passed the temple again. It's located in this configuration of streets from which escape is nigh-impossible. Amazingly enough, I eventually managed to find a way out, but it was a tiny street that didn't look like it would be the one and only way out. (Jan 2006)

Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Reserve is just north of La Jolla. I didn't actually go to the park, as it was getting late and I didn't want to pay the entrance fee since they were closing in 30 minutes. Instead, I just parked my car in the neighborhood and wandered around by the beach. There were numerous people carrying surf boards and wearing wet suits, so it seemed to be the right direction.

Torrey Pines grow natively only in this area and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. While endangered, they have been cultivated elsewhere. The trees "battered by the coastal winds" (as mentioned here) tend to grow in weird, funky shapes. Upon reflection, I realized why they seemed familiar in their strangeness. Theodor Geisel lived in La Jolla for some time. The trees clearly inspired some of the trees in the Dr. Seuss books.

* [Torrey pines beach] I parked on a dead-end street and then followed the surfers. There are, of course, houses with ocean views. To the right of them would be the dead-end road. To the left are (commuter) train tracks and then the beach. (Jan 2006)

* [A nice house with a nice view] A beautiful house with a beautiful view. As I walked from the dead-end street to the water, there were amazing houses with amazing views. (Jan 2006)

* [Torrey pines beach] Looking from right to left: The beautiful houses, the railroad tracks (the path I was on branched off from the train tracks), and then the hill going down to the beach, with the Pacific Ocean beyond it. Wee little people can be seen on the beach below, by the water. (Jan 2006)

* [The Pacific Ocean down below] Looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, down below. The sun was getting low, reflecting off the water (though not directly in the shot), since it was getting late in the day. The wet rocky surface by the water looked like it had a really cool texture to it. (Jan 2006)

* [Torrey pines on the right side of the tracks] Dr. Seuss trees! Torrey Pines along the path. This is not on the beach side of the railroad tracks, these very cool trees are in people's yards. (Jan 2006)

* [The beach way down below] The beach way down below. You can see a few small people. It was high enough up that I didn't feel like taking some steep trail down and then back up again. I was still not at 100%. (Jan 2006)

* [A Torrey Pine] Another Dr. Seuss tree! A Torrey Pine. I was standing on the railroad tracks to take it. Yes, I looked both ways to make sure it was clear. A train did pass once I had left. (Jan 2006)

* [Hot air balloons in La Jolla] As I was leaving, I stopped for a view of the valley. There were two hot air balloons aloft, visible as small specks in the picture. The traffic on the highway is also visible. Fortunately, it wasn't really that bad, once I managed to find and wind my way back to San Diego. (Jan 2006)

This page last modified Jul 08, 2009.
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