I flew into San Diego on a Monday morning. It was overcast and cold, nothing like the Texas heat I am used to. Thankfully I had my hot pink running sweater which I ended up wearing a lot on this trip. This was my first time on a plane and I was not prepared for the ear congestion. I had packed some earplugs for the noise but was too busy looking out the window to bother to look for them. I was introduced to airplane ears the second I landed. I tried the yawning trick, pinching my nose and even had ear drops but nothing worked. However, I was not going to let this ruin my day. I picked up my rental, a Jetta, and drove off to the zoo. I have hundreds of pictures but these are some of my favorite.
Look at those eyes!! I think this is Jaguar maybe a Cheetah but it is not full grown. If you look closely by the left paw she (or he not sure) is holding on to a cow femur. The caretaker had just given her food. Right after I took this picture she got a little shy turned around to eat her food in private.
Let me introduce you to Mary the elephant. Here she is receiving the world’s most extensive pedicure. You cannot see it in the picture above but on the other side of the cage is a caretaker who gives her food in exchange for letting them give her a pedicure. Elephants in the wild walk around a 50 miles per day and wear down their nails, obviously its difficult for them to do that in captivity. These pedicures are given to them to help keep them healthy.
Another first for me, I had never ever seen a baby giraffe. This was way too cute so of course I had to share.
They had a bunch of Koalas but most of them were asleep. There was one which was eating but he was too far away from me to get a good picture. One thing I regret not taking with me was my larger camera lens. At the last minute in order to save space I left it behind. It was at this moment when I saw the Koalas that I realized how dumb I was for leaving my lens in Texas. Ugh! Anyway I thought about jumping the fence and crawling up the tree to give this Koala a huge hug but decided it was best not too.
He (or she) looked right at me!! We made eye contact!! It was so awesome and I was squealing with excitement like a little kid. Tigers normally shy away from people but he just walked right towards us and posed for his close up. By the way his eyes are not blue, that was my camera being weird. Eyes of the Tiger!!
This lioness was hanging out with a lion on a rock. The caretaker (the dude in the hat) called her by name and she quickly jumped down and walked over to him. He gave her some treats and petted her, through the fence of course, and like the tiger posed for some pictures. She had a pretty cool name I wish I could remember it. Note to self bring a notepad to the zoo. For a split second I thought about changing my career to a caretaker. How cool would that be?
The panda exhibit was so exciting. First let me say that you have to stand in line and it was about a 45 minute wait to get to the pandas but it was totally worth it. In the first picture you can see Bai Yun with her baby panda. Baby panda spends time with mom until they are 18 months at which point they go off on their own. In the second picture is baby panda’s brother, he is over 18 months and is now on his own. These guys just look so happy and squeezable!! The whole time all they did was eat their bamboo. Did you know that the San Diego Zoo has an employee who works full time whose job is to cut down bamboo for the pandas?
This was the Fern Canyon Trail, the last place I visited before I left. The atmosphere was so relaxing and peaceful almost like a mini jungle. I will be using this as an inspiration for my landscaping next year.
By the time I left the zoo my head was pounding and I still had airplane ears. I felt horrible. I was wanting to go to the beach afterwards but decided to take a nap instead.
The original plan was to wake up early and go for a run. I have always wanted to run on the beach and watch the sunrise afterwards. San Diego would have been perfect for this but alas my headache intervened and I woke up late. I quickly packed my things and loaded up the car for the drive to Long Beach.
Before I left I made sure I walked to the beach. It was within walking distance from my hotel and figured a short walk plus breakfast would be a perfect way to bid adieu to San Diego. I used yelp for the first time and found “Kono’s Cafe” by the beach. Apparently everyone wakes up early to go to the beach because the line was out the door. I skipped breakfast but there was a coffee bar right next to it called (drum roll please) “Kono’s coffee.” I grabbed a large coffee and off I went for my walk down the beach. Gardenia’s where everywhere and they smelled fabulous! Why can’t my gardenias grow to look like these beauties?
Everyone was up bright an early, some jogging with friends, others with dogs and some (like myself) just walking alone. It got me thinking about what my life could be like in California. I realize I was probably in the tourist area of SD because no way everyone is jogging at 9 AM, people have to work you know. I miss the beach and the weather.
One thing that caught my eye was the homeless people on the beach. I smiled and said “hello, how are you?” They responded back with a smile and one even complimented my camera. I didn’t expect to see homeless people at the beach. It made me sad to see that.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a fear that everyone would look at me like a lonely girl and feel sorry for me because I was alone but it was the opposite, everyone thought it was pretty cool I was going solo on my trip. I spoke with a lot people and started up conversations (something I’m not very good at), I had to step out of my comfort zone. San Diego was a success!! All in all I had a great time and would definitely go back again. Maybe next time I can visit the safari and actually make it to the beach for some surf lessons.