As a 'not to be missed' tourist attraction we headed to San Diego's SeaWorld, mostly to see the famous Shamu. The 25 minute killer whale show was impressive and thankfully when Gareth had saved our seats he'd been kind and opted for seats away from the 'soak zone', later we would come to realize that in the long run it wouldn't matter
. SeaWorld was a surprisingly small park, even more so for the animals/mammals housed there. In comparison to their size and the number in some areas their space seemed comparative to a family of 6 living in a two bedroom apartment. One of the fascinating mammals were the white whales (Belugas). It's hard to believe they are real and not a creation of Disney. On a polar scale the pink walrus has got to be the most disgusting beast you've ever seen slithering it's way along land, I feel sorry for the lady in the show who had to grin and bare it's what I can only imagine as stomach churning breath! We finally got to see a Puffin, something that had eluded us so far on our travels. The highlight of the day had to be shooting people with water canons as they rode down the Shipwreck tube ride. I spent a lot of quarters and time perfecting my timing and aim and laughing so hard with enjoyment as people were shocked as the water soaked them even more than the ride had managed to. However karma does truly exist. Gareth decided it was only fair I had my turn on the ride, braving the 'rapids' in a tube like ride. Karma paid me back ten fold and more. The first corner the water came rushing in all directions and I was soaked head to toe to the shear delight of Gareth and everyone else on the ride. Thinking I had braved the worst I was again surprised as we rounded the corner and greeted by fellow water canon shooters only too glad to use their quarters to soak me even more. Let's just say karma is cruel and the water never stopped coming till we got off the ride
. I evoked fear in all the people waiting to board the ride as water rained off me from head to toe. I was pretty keen to leave the park and go back to the hotel and get into dry clothes but we still had a few areas to cover. Our final stop of the day was the Atlantis ride where I managed to get wet again, I definitely want to go now. For such a small park we were surprised that we had spent 7 hours there - got your money's worth yet honey? After a change of clothes we enjoyed watching the sun set from Tower 23 at La Jolla beach, yet another spectacular sunset.
Wednesday was a great day, haircut and waxing, bring it on! After a 5 hour session I feel fit to join the groomed human race again and hit the beach! Gareth sorted out shipping back our ski gear and other excessive items - Bec a 23lb box is coming your way ;-). Later we went out to the funky American Firehouse for drinks and dinner, couldn't let the hairstyle go to waste (Gareth's too ;-).
We went to check out the Americas Cup village and marina area and also took the scenic drive to Cabrillo national monument at Point Lomo. The views over San Diego were incredible. Ocean beach was a far cry from the Ocean beach we love in the Bay. It's very 'bohemian' and even though only a pier separates Ocean and Pacific they are worlds apart. The farmers market we went there to specifically check out was disappointing, I guess I had been expecting markets like in Amsterdam or London
. We gladly made our way back to Pacific beach to enjoy some wine on our balcony.
The rest of our week in San Diego we spent musing about how easy it would be to live here whilst enjoying time between the beach and the rest that the city had to offer. We spent time looking round downtown and Gas Lamp Quarter and did an audio tour of the USS Midway. The USS Midway was the longest serving aircraft carrier and was used in Desert Storm and Vietnam. The sleeping quarters make backpacking look luxurious. (Gareth just commented that I have a distorted view of what backpacking is anyway as I am yet to experience it)
We spent our last day taking in the attrations of Balboa Park; Shakespeare's Globe (well a copy of the original in London), Museum of Man, the Sports Hall of Fame and the International Houses. The ranger on the trolley service told us there was a New Zealand house, not sure what country he got us confused with as there was no NZ house. The international houses promote the multicultural make-up of San Diego and every Sunday they showcase the national traditions. In the end we had to go to suffice with the House of England instead. We rounded off our day by dragging Gareth to the much anticipated movie 'Sex and the City' - if you haven't seen it yet girls you definitely need to go and take tissues (the shoes and handbags are fab)!
Arriving into San Diego, nearing the end of our Pacific Coast Highway journey, we went in search of accommodation around Pacific Beach, an area a local girl we had met in Napa had recommended. The task was harder than we had thought a combination of college summer holidays and a marathon taking place the coming weekend. We had decided we wanted to spend a week here to enjoy the beach and get ourselves sorted for the start of our real backpacking. We finally settled into the Beach Cottages on Pacific Beach and went in search of a much needed vino. Pacific Beach has a great vibe, filled with college students, miles of golden sandy beach and a great promenade lined with some amazing beach front homes and some that are in need of a little TLC. An added bonus was that the sea was the warmest it had been so far along this coast.