Friday, April 03, 2015

Hanging Out With the Seals of San Diego

We had initially planned on arriving in San Diego on Thursday, a day before Lydia's mom and sister. Our flight plan was messed up beyond repair and Southwest put us up in a hotel in Phoenix for the night. Why not? They also gave us $400 in travel vouchers which we immediately spent on trips to occur later this month. Free travel vouchers don't last long with us these days.

On Friday we drove the rental straight from the airport to Torrey Pines State Reserve. For some reason I expected a basic wooded area, but this park was pretty amazing. The beach was nice and had an eye catching mixture of black and yellow sand.

Lydia's crew.

There were big wads of seaweed sitting in the sand that we (ok, mostly I) found noteworthy. After a nice walk on the beach we drove up the hill to the welcome center.

At the visitor center they had quite a collection of cacti and other fun plants that I don't see much.

We continued on into La Jolla and had lunch. Lydia's mom and sister are both doing the vegan thing so that was an interesting twist to the culinary part of the trip. So we walk into a place that is part cafe and part yoga something studio and order off of the chalk board menu. I don't know what brought it on but I got this feeling of personal growth or growing up or something. This place was pretty "out there" and I can remember a time that I would have disdained the place as being too hippie but I ended up having a great meal.

One of the first things I saw was a pregnant lady in yoga clothing with her belly hanging out, which had a large intricate henna tattoo inscribed on it. Welcome to California.

I had a couple of really good portabella mushroom tacos, with really interestingly textured homemade shells and a smoothie with different berries and other good stuff in it.

We popped into the local Goodwill for the heck of it then headed to Children's Pool Beach for something completely different. The draw at this beach is the seals. As we approached I wondered if maybe we had come at the wrong time of day because I didn't see any seals at all. As we got nearer though I could see their little heads popping up among the waves. There were a few babies struggling against the tide which were particular crowd favorites.

After hopping up on a few rocky... rocks we found where 10-20 seals were taking naps in the sun. They were fun to watch even while sleeping. One looked like she was having a dream because her little flippers kept flapping against the rocks. If we were too loud one might briefly open its big eyes and turn its head in our direction but it would quickly doze off again. They didn't seem bothered by our presence in the slightest.

The babies were like little slippery pillows with a head. With a painful amount of cute they seemed to be almost as bad at moving in the water as they were on land. We briefly considered taking one home. At the very least we could have borrowed one and let it live in the hotel bathtub for a couple of days.

If you can think of one good reason "seal dreaming its swimming" shouldn't be a 24 hour tv channel then you sir are a monster and I bid you good day. Good day to you sir!

As we were about to leave we witnessed the most pathetic scene like ever. This baby seal was trying to get to its mother but it just sucked at moving so, so badly. The waves were too strong to swim over and it just did not have the legs, knees, elbows, or really any useful body part to move on land. It just mewed and struggled. I just wanted to pick the damn thing up and walk it over there just to end the suffering for both of us.

The real stick-in-the-eye of it all was that its sibling was over there with the mom, just gobbling up all that milk. Really just going to town within eyeshot of its limbless and hungry crying sibling. Maybe if a hawk or something came and snatched the hungry one this could have been sadder. I think that's the only way. Or if Hungry made it all the way over there and the mom was like "you're adopted" and then the hawk swooped down. I'll have to think about it.

We gawked at a stranger's wedding nearby for a bit.

Well it would be hard to top that but we definitely tried. I drove the rental to Balboa Park and we had a nice stroll. Balboa fits into the same story as St. Louis' Forest Park where a world's fair type thing was held and they decided to keep a lot of the buildings. Both the 1915–16 Panama–California Exposition and 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition were held at the park. The Panama one was held to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, to which San Diego was relevant because it is the southernmost port on the west coast and was suddenly much more important to all the ships using the Panama Canal from the east coast.

Anyway we'd come late enough that the numerous museums and attractions were all closed so we finished up our walk, dropped the luggage and some people off at the hotel, and then returned the rental car and took the metro back. One night of parking at the hotel would have cost more than the car cost to rent so it seemed like the right call.

We had dinner at an interesting Mexican restaurant and then called it a night.

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