There's something weird about the wallpaper in our hotel bathroom. It's patterned with small leaves and if you look at it for any length of time, the leaves start to swim and swirl. I feel like I am in the Overlook Hotel from The Shining when I am in that bathroom.
But San Diego is an incredible city. There is a surprising depth of cultural diversity and a deep history in this place, of which I was previously unaware. But it is, after all, the birthplace of California.
Today we took a trolley tour throughout the city. We left the hotel just before 10 and got home at 6. It was a long but very full and satisfying day.
With this tour, you are able to get off at 10 different places throughout the city and board again whenever you are ready. And as you are bombing along in the trolley, windows wide open, careening around corners, not a seatbelt in sight, the drivers/tour guides (all retired dudes as far as I could tell) regale you with snippets of history alongside cornball jokes and musical moments. It's an oddly surreal mixture of fascinating history, tacky tourism, and NASCAR racing.
Highlights of the day:
- Coronado Island - I kept having visions today of myself at age 75, living in Coronado, puttering around in my motorized scooter and bitching about the tourists. I have no idea where this comes from.
- dipping my feet in the Pacific
- Balboa Park - home to the San Diego Zoo and something like 13 different museums and galleries all in a beautiful park setting. The architecture is fantastic, reminiscent of the grandeur of buildings I have seen only in Europe.
- the restored hacienda at the historical park in Old Town. It was a stinking hot day today and inside the hacienda, it was deliciously cool. The walls are a good two feet thick, they knew how to build back then.
- the yachts and tall ships at the harbour, especially set against the backdrop of the San Diego "toolbox" skyline.
- the US aircraft carrier, Midway. The flight deck alone is 4 acres in size. This thing is insanely huge, I can't even begin to tell you what an awe-inspiring sight it is.
- fish and shrimp and fries and beer at the pier
San Diego is all tall sharp points of sail masts and palm trees, low flat roofs of adobe buildings, new luxury highrises and lovingly preserved historical mansions. You need to see it to believe it.