California - San Diego Zoo, Latino Ricky

Saturday July 14

We hauled our sorry butts out of bed early to go garage sailing in San Diego. Last time we were here, great garage sales. We used Craig's list to find the sales, we were discriminating into which areas we actually went. We didn't leave our campsite until 9:45 which for anywhere is late for garage sales. We mostly hung out in the University Heights area. Generally the sales were a bust because we took so long getting out and about even thought we were up early. We walked around University Heights area and ate East Indian Food. We arrived at the Balboa Park area and I went to the Spanish Village Art area for the third time. There is so much art to view. I talked to an animal painter who wanted to get out of the rat race of San Diego. We went back to the zoo for our final animal experience at the San Diego Zoo - more view, more pictures. Saw great polar bear, zebra, etc. posses. I was very sad that it was our last day at the zoo.

Friday July 13
We had to leave our little campground at Sweetwater Regional Park. They were booked for Friday and Saturday night before we even arrived last Sunday. We had a huge Papaya for breakfast which we believe was a little off or something. I felt a bit sick all day. We finally ate fish tacos for lunch, a food San Diego is famous for. That did not help me feel anymore special than I did before the tacos, in fact I felt worse.

I decided I wanted to become a member of the Visions Art Quilt Gallery. They had a member's call for entry juried show closing date tomorrow. Ken is such a darling! We, as you know, brought our laptop on holidays. He got pictures for two quilts, their artist statements, etc. ready to go so I could get it all burned on disc to be taken in and enter the show. I got to go back to the Visions Quilt Gallery and show Ken what a wonderful building they were in. I thought maybe he would want to see the quilts (I wanted to but he wanted to go off toward our next adventure - the Wild Animal Park in Escondido.

We were off to Escondido on a one and a half hour road trip because of backed up traffic. The one and only time we were involved in a traffic jam in the San Diego area. It was very hot! When we got there I know I was not interested in even being there I was so hot, tired, grumpy and miserable. We started walking and discovered the safari ride.

It is like an open air train which takes you around the main part of the park where the animals are free to roam. It is like getting to see African animals as they might be in the wild. It is well narrated and very interesting to see. The animals perked up my mood. The elephants seemed happier here. In fact, they swap out animals from the zoo to here to get more exercise. We saw African dancers- Masaii. They were dancing to raise money for their cause, that of saving the endangered lion. In their culture, if a lion kills a goat or a cow they are supposed to chase the lion for ten days and then kill it. They now have a program in place to assist those nasty lions. Instead of killing the lion to make up for the death of his goat or cow the African Lion Conservation Society will pay him two hundred dollars to replace the animal. They were invited by the San Diego Zoo to dance and raise money for this worthy cause. We all need to support this or there will soon be no lions.

It took a lot less time to return to our hotel in El Cajon then it had on our trip out to the Wild Animal Park. I was so tired when we returned that I was practically in tears getting ready for bed.

Thursday July 12

We heard snoring all night long. We had to close our skylight it was so loud. By morning we were a bit testy and Ken went out looking for our tablecloth. He did not have to look far as our snoring neighbor had in on his picnic table. Ken went and retrieved it for our breakfast table setting. Heavy set with a beard we dubbed the guy Latino "Ricky" from the TV show the Trailer Park Boys. I wonder if we will run across Latino "Bubbles" or Latino "Lucy"?

We returned to the Zoo again, my favourite San Diego adventure. We rode the sight seeing tour bus on the top level. Great view - HOT- what were we thinking - sitting on the top level of an open roofed tour bus at lunch time in southern California? We both survived the sun without incident.

Next we thought we would head out to La Jolle. Lunch time again came quickly and we spent it at Vons. When we come down to the States we always have trouble identifying the grocery chains - no Safeway, no Thrifty's, no Save-ons.... it is hard to find a food store. Well, here Von's is one of the big ones. We ate light because we have been eating so much lately. Passing by an interesting fabric store is not something I usually do. Well, we came across a great one just a block from Von's. We were told about La Jolle Fibre Arts just across the street. I went there and was amazed by the wall hangings and unique surface designs of the art to wear. La Jolle is a unique and well off area close to the ocean. Tall palm trees line the streets.

After exploring La Jolle and all it had to offer we moved on to Pacific Beach. It had the unique offering of thrift stores which we frequented in 2001. They had changed and were not special anymore. Pacific Beach seems more of a surfer type place on the ocean. Our day ended as we walked the promenade above the actual beach. It was crowed with little shops and condos.

Wednesday July 11
Shannon McDavid's birthday. Happy Birthday Precious!!!!

Today we decided to do our own thing. We again had a late start and arrived at the Toyota dealership at about noonish. Ken stayed here and took care of the van's up keep (tweaks and repairs) - oil change, etc. The shuttle drove me all the way to the north west end - Visions Art Quilt Gallery. This is a recently opened gallery in an area of other galleries. It was well laid out, new and fresh. There were member quilts in the foyer and the Thompson Collection of Art Quilts in the main gallery area. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take pictures. Some of the quilts I was fortunate enough to see in person were completed by these talented artists - June O. Underwood, Carl Bryer Faucett, Sue Brenner, Coan Colvin, etc. There were two Canadian artists - Pamela Allen and Laurie Swim. I didn't want to leave but had to go eat. I walked, caught a bus and took the trolley to the Zoo.

When I arrived at Balboa Park I thought I would take advantage of the time to go to the Spanish Village and check out the artist's studios. I even got to talk to a few and found an exhibit of "cats" in different media. Ken and I were to meet at the Zoo at 5:00 pm. There he was right on time. It was very nice to see him although he has been the only one I have really talked to for weeks. We went to the zoo for a short time.

We went to Old Town for supper. Old Town is another trendy district with lots of restaurants.

When we returned to Sweetwater our picnic table cloth which marked our site had disappeared. Now this table cloth is a vinyl number that we bought to go camping with on our first trip together back in '83. It is blue with brightly coloured vegetables printed across it, very tacky. I always said that if someone wants that ugly thing they can have it. Somehow I felt very upset that someone came into our camp and took the tablecloth.

Tuesday July 10
We left our campground at 9:00 am, a personal record. We found an AAA to find out about Mexican insurance for our vehicle. We also got more maps, etc. Now to go to Mexico you also need a tourist card to enter the country for any length of time. We decided to go to Little Italy to the Mexican consulate. This felt very unusual as we were the only gringos in the place and everyone was speaking Spanish (what else would we expect). Several times I had to go up to tellers to ask where to next. There were matter of fact and got us through the procedure quickly.

That experience deserved lunch in Little Italy - pizza at Mona Lisa Italian Foods.

Even though we got out early from our campground we did not get to the San Diego Zoo until 4:30. I enjoyed myself so much, the animals are great for the soul. I went crazy and took lots of pictures especially of the giraffes. We went and ate at Balboa Park again.

We wanted to be informed and needed WiFi. We drove downtown to outside the Westin Hotel for a connection. While trying to find a campground for the weekend we were e-mailed by Motel 6 with discount prices in El Capon. We booked it. Driving back to the campground we downloaded out zoo pics and lost track of our freeway. We drove south almost to Mexico. San Diego is really easy to drive, the freeways are well marked, plentiful and strategically placed.

We walked lots today - 15 023 steps on the step meter.

Monday July 9

This day we took it easy in the morning after travelling for over a week. We remembered our great thrift experiences in San Diego back in 2001 so we decided to try it again. But this time it was very unproductive. Ken wanted to get a few things done on the van so we went to Frank Toyota in National City, CA. - great WiFi connection. Unfortunately they overcharged and attempted a double bill, Ken was a bit ticked off. Once done there we went to Hillside, Normal Heights, North Park and University Heights. We went to our favourite grocery store from when we lived in San Diego - Whole Food Market on University Avenue. They were sponsoring a drumming circle. I felt it was not as lively or good a one led by either Voodoo Dave or Rose T.

At night we had a snack in Balboa Park then went on to eat in the Gaslight district. We ate at Royal Thai in the Gaslight District. This restaurant is one of the places we ate for our fifteen wedding anniversary. We had an early night and returned to Sweetwater Park.

Sunday July 8
In the morning Ken reluctantly shaved off his now lengthy whiskers.

We drove through Oceanside and quickly came to Carlsbad, CA. It seems to be a little artist community. Then we drove on to San Diego for a week of touring. Great to be back, I love San Diego! We spent much of the day trying to find reasonably priced (inexpensive) accommodation for the week. We looked at a few rooms at 500 Broadway. It was reasonable but a single room, down the hall bathrooms, no air conditioning, shared kitchen, etc. Just not a gut reaction, but we decided to pass and camp instead. We found Sweetwater Regional Park. It is a park that allows horses if you have them. There were corrals for horses at most of the campsites.

In the evening we drove downtown to the Gaslamp district and walked around. There were lots of restaurants and bars open even on a Sunday night. By evening it was quite cool. There were lots of open air restaurants with heaters on (need Planet Buster stickers). When we drove home we got lost. No wonder; we drove so much that day and we were tired.

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