Thursday, August 6, 2009

San Diego: Better Late Than Never

It's a few months after my initial visit to the west coast and I am just now getting around finishing up my last blog post. But better late than never, right?

Coming from the humid, Georgia summer one thing that shocked me was the moderate climate in San Diego. In the middle of the summer the temperature on beach in the early evening was cold enough that everyone on the beach was wearing hoodies and huddling around bonfires! Definitely wasn't expecting that...
(Mission Beach)

San Diego is home to Balboa Park, the nation's largest urban cultural park. The 1200 acre park houses 15 museums, renowned performing arts venues, theaters, shops, restaurants, gorgeous gardens, and the world famous San Diego Zoo.
(Botanical building)

Being the history nerd that I am and having volunteered for three years at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History I had to check out San Diego's Natural History Museum for a comparison. The main attraction at the museum was definitely the Bodies exhibit temporarily on display. It gave a fascinating in-depth look into the marvels of the human body and all of its systems. The permanent exhibits in the museum were slightly sub par with what I was familiar with from Fernbank, but they were still definitely worth a look.
(S.D. Natural History Museum)

With my first southern California adventure wrapped up, I look forward to being able to visit my family here for some time. The scenery in the region is gorgeous with huge canyons and towering mountains in the distance. The people all seem nice and welcoming and there is a sense of happiness in the air.

Monday, August 3, 2009

San Diego: Beaches, Babes and New Homes

After living in the same home for 12 years I expected moving clear across the country into a new house to be a little bit of an adjustment for me. But after checking out the new place and seeing all of the sights and sounds of San Diego I'm starting to feel right at home.

(The new house in SD!)
(View from the back porch. Looking down into a canyon right in our backyard and mountains in the distance.)

With the promise from our new neighbors of seeing the "most beautiful girls in southern California" we made our way to the beach! After a late start and running a few errands we did not actually get to the beach until early evening which is normally fine in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. However in San Diego that was a mistake.

When we arrived at the beach at around 6pm it was packed. People were everywhere laying out, surfing, and just playing in the water. Being a somewhat overcast day I expected the water to be a little cold, but it was absolutely freezing! The water was frigid and once you got out of the water the air around you was arctic. Needless to say I didn't stay in the water very long. But once I dried off and put on some clothes on I realized that most San Diegans were better prepared than me. Everyone at the beach was wearing hoodies and they started to huddle around bonfires. My first experience in the Pacific Ocean might have been a little more enjoyable if I had adequately prepared, to say the least.

(Overcast day at the beach.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

San Diego: Day 1 & 2

With my family making a big move from Snellville, GA ("Where Everybody's Somebody") to southern California, I had to personally check out where they will be residing.

In this economy you have to save money where everywhere you can. So I decided to use a student ticket to get to San Diego on the AirtranU program. You fly at a very reduced price if you don't mind flying standby. After getting to the airport at 8am trying to get a flight to San Diego that was severely overbooked, I ended up on a flight to Los Angelos.

Arriving at LAX International Airport I stepped foot for the first time in California. My Cali adventure got underway by splitting a rent-a-car with another traveller from my flight. Also on her way to San Diego she missed her flight so we both went to LA. With the GPS in the windshield, windows down, and radio up, we took our little PT Cruiser south of LA into the heart of southern California.

With my new friend, a probation officer from Lawerenceville, GA at the wheel we travelled through some scenic California neighborhoods. Any fans of MTV reality shows would love this drive through the Hills, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach. The picturesque Spanish style homes made this drive quite enjoyable.

My first full day of San Diego started off with a walk down the harbor in the downtown region. We then embarked on a double-decker bus tour of the city with a great view from the front of the bus.

We toured through most of the highlights of the city including the historic Gaslamp Quarter Historic District, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, and Balboa Park. Balboa Park, one of the country's largest city parks, houses a number of museums, restaurants, gardens, and the San Diego Zoo. I look forward to spending the next few days exploring the park and some of the other aspects of San Diego.
(Statue in Balboa Park)

For any fans of Top Gun, I was challenged to find the place that the bar scene from the movie was shot at (Shout out to my boss, Eric Johnson! Thanks EJ!). They actually had pretty good BBQ too.