Sugarland & the Pandas

Trip Start Aug 10, 2007
Trip End Dec 27, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, November 2, 2007

We arrived at San Diego Zoo at about 10am and were really looking forward to a morning of fun as we had heard that this was one of the best zoos in the world.  We started off by doing a bus tour around the zoo which aimed to familiarize you with the layout and let you know about some of the animals and shows which they offered.  This was really useful and helped us to decide which route to take around this really amazing place.  We started off with the lazy koalas and were quite surprised to find them quite frisky (in complete contrast with the Australian koalas we saw in Sydney!)  Perhaps they were happier on this side of the Pacific!  They were full of energy - climbing and munching away happily.  They fascinated me and have become one of my favourite animals as they just look so cuddly and cute!  We then moved on to the elephants (which weren't that impressive) and the camels which were amazing - massive Bactrian camels with loads of hair all over.  We saw lots of other great animals which I won't go into detail about, but must mention the really amazing Pandas.  This was the first time Greg and I had seen Pandas in real life and they were so cool.  They sat munching big sticks of bamboo and it was just awesome to see these big black and white bears in real life.  Two baby pandas have just been born at the zoo and they were in incubators still, which meant we couldn't actually see them.  But the adults were fascinating nonetheless...we just stood and watched them for quite some time and then moved on to see the big cats and the monkeys.  We also took a ride on the sky rail, which goes high up across the zoo and takes you to the polar bear enclosure.  We were really excited to see the polar bear in action, but were disappointed to find it sleeping up on the hill and not in its really amazing pool.  We watched it for a while but decided to move on as our morning at the zoo seemed to fast be turning into a whole day!  We had planned to get to our hotel and rest a while before the Sugarland Concert - whatever!?  With a crazed photographer at my side I had no hope of getting any rest and I soon resigned myself to this fact when we hit the reptile section and Greg found it a challenge to get the perfect picture of the Komodo Dragon - with it's tongue sticking out in mid-hiss!!! An hour later I was tramping at the bit and had seen enough animals to last me a year.  Greg decided that he needed to get some better shots of the flamingos!!  Of course!  So - we finally left the zoo 15 minutes before it closed at 16h45!  It may sound like I didn't have a great day - but I really did - the zoo was awesome and I would highly recommend it to anyone!
So - we were back in the car and heading off to find our hotel which was just the other side of San Diego.  "just the other side" really meant 5 minutes from the Mexican Border - as we soon discovered when we saw signs saying "Mexican Border - 1 mile"!  The traffic was horrendous and we eventually parked our car when we thought we were in the right area and walked around until we found exactly where we needed to drive.  The same investigation by car would have taken a hell of a lot longer.  We got back in the car and headed for our Knights Inn room in San Ysidiro (which is basically in Mexico!).  We checked in and asked the lady at reception if she knew where the San Diego Sports Arena was as we had to be there in 2 hours for the Sugarland Concert.  She said it wasn't far but couldn't tell us how to get there.  After leaving our bags in the hotel room (rather reluctantly when you looked around at the people staying in the hotel - oh andthere was also an RV park next door with some parties getting started) - we drove off in hope of getting to see Sugarland!  We asked for directions at a petrol station and got some idea from a lady who didn't seem too sure but decided to head off in that direction.  After driving for while we decided that we should probably check with someone else.  I saw a "visitor's information centre" signposted from the highway and decided that might still be open.  We took the exit and drove up onto tram tracks and almost into some people waiting on the sidewalk!!  Fortunately we were able to ramp over a small pavement and into the car park next to the tram station without injuring ourselves or anyone else!!  We saw some taxi drivers in the car park and got some really GREAT, detailed directions from them and raced off again....arriving just 20 minutes later at the SAN DIEGO SPORTS ARENA ....and the concert was only starting in 20 with time to buy a hotdog (actually it was called a 'puppy dog' - how disgusting is that?) and some kettle corn - my new food love.  It is salty and sweet all mixed together and tastes GREAT!  So - we settled into our pretty good seats and waited expectantly....
....before long Jake Owen appeared and performed some really good country songs.  Having not heard him before I thought he was great and rather handsome too I might add.  Then it was 'Little Big Town' who were absolutely amazing....I had not heard them before either and was stunned by the amazing harmonizing and really good songs....I even went off in the interval and bought a signed copy of their first CD....that means I must really have liked them!  But the best was yet to come and after returning to our seats Sugarland hit the stage with an awesome opening song and some really good light effects.  They had two big balls on either side of the stage which they used as screens during the show which was a really cool idea.  They sang all their great hits and Greg and I were having a wail of a time.  At the end Jake Owens and 'Little Big Town' came back onto the stage and they ended the show with an awesome rendition of the Deff Leppard song: 'Pour Some Sugar on Me!' - a strange country choice - but it sounded phenomenal and really got the place rocking.  We left there on a real high and didn't even mind heading back to the Mexican border and sleeping in our slightly skanky motel room - with our new 'Little Big Town' CD blearing on the CD player the drive was 'all good'!  We slept well and woke early - eager to blow this joint and head back toward LA to see Redondo Beach before starting the long journey toward Yosemite.

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