Thursday, August 09, 2001

More trip highlights:

After a brief trip downtown to Horton Plaza, we spent most of the afternoon hanging out at the hotel pool. It's a vacation, dammit. You don't need to be running around doing something every minute. Besides, they've got this bar next to the pool, and they'll bring you rum drinks and appetizers. I like vacations.

In the evening we went to a free concert in Balboa Park, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. This is one of those giant organs that is part of the building and, apparently, one of the few that has it's own outdoor concert pavilion. Organ music is an interesting beast. When the performance is of J.S. Bach's fugues, it is as highbrow as you can get. When the performance is of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm," played without any rhythm, it's as lowbrow as it gets, and kind of silly. Monday evening's performance was of the second variety. We left at the intermission.

From Balboa Park we went to Old Town, which during the day is a tourist trap of the highest order. It's supposed to be what San Diego was like back before the gringo's arrived. What it is is shopping-a-plenty, with plenty of photo opportunities. At night, once the shops have closed, one can go to the restaurants undisturbed. We had heard that Casa de Bandini was one of the top Mexican restaurants in the city, so we gave it a shot and were quite pleased.

After a quick bite at the hotel, it was off to the World Famous San Diego Zoo. This is a huge zoo which nobody should attempt to do all of in one day. We started with a 35 minute bus tour which didn't even cover half of it. While in line for the bus we thought we were idiots for doing it, but by the time it was over we realized that it was the only way to go, and realized it may have even been worth the extra few bucks for the 60 minute tour.

Once off the bus, and on foot, we covered about 60% of what we didn't see on the bus, and that took another five-and-a-half hours. The Panda's, which are a big draw, were actually a bit of a disappointment. The highlights, for us, were the polar bears, one of whom was doing back-flips in his pool over and over again, and the orangutans.

We got to the orangutans at a slow moment, only Leslie and I and one other couple. We sat quietly against the glass to their environment, and watched for a few minutes. Then, one of them decided to come over and join us. He sat right by us, just a foot away, for several minutes, until more people showed up and started making noise, chasing him back to his tree-top perch.

Other cool animals included the porcupines, the leopards, and some of the birds in the walk-through aviary.

Later, we had another nice dinner at Reuben's, on Harbor Island, by our hotel (the Sheraton Marina).

More again later...

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