Point Loma and Ocean Beach, San Diego

Trip Start Apr 11, 2010
Trip End May 20, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, April 15, 2010

I didn't suddenly become adventurous a few years ago when I started traveling extensively internationally. Rather, I believe that inclination is something that's been in me since I was young and used to nag my parents to take me on road trips through the Eastern U.S. and Canada during summer vacations, trips I'd plan out and navigate years before I was even able to drive.  That desire to set out and see the world continued when I graduated from college in 1989 without a job and decided I'd set out somewhere on my own to find one.  I chose San Diego as the place, packed up my car, and drove there from New York (of course by a very circuitous route that included Toronto and Minnesota).  Well, that adventure didn't really work out and I went back East after about four months in Southern California.

I hadn't been back to San Diego since that ill-fated lark over 20 years ago, so I thought I'd spend a days in the city again seeing how the first place I tried to make home after college has changed over that time.  Overall I still find San Diego to have a beautiful setting and to be one of the most appealing big cities in America.

After checking-in at the Hostel at Point Loma I figured I'd spend my first day rather idly on the Point Loma Peninsula, the part of the city between the airport and the Pacific that hangs out into the ocean.  The city of San Diego and the larger county have numerous beach communities along over 70 miles of shoreline, each of which has its own particular quirky character.  Ocean Beach lies just south of Mission Bay Park and is mellow in mood and a bit on the grungy side.  I have no doubt real estate prices in OB are still exorbitant even after the bursting of the housing bubble, as they are in any seaside area in Southern California, but the dominant culture here is Hippie not chic.  Newport Avenue, OB's main drag is full of record stores, tattoo and piercing parlors, and head shops as well as taco stands and funky ethnic restaurants.  So much body art!  So many graybeards!

I walked out on the pier and fed the pelicans alongside laidback fishermen.  Surfers bobbed in the waves; hacky sack players kicked their little footbags on the beach; hobos slept in the grass; and some Rastas panhandled me.  I wandered along a trail through rocks and coves filled with beardy dudes and dudettes lying in the sand, some strumming guitars, and everywhere that smell!  I used to be highly grossed-out by the whole Hippie attitude and way of life but more recently have developed some respect for it as I too have come to reject the trappings of the materialist way of life.  But still, come on, do something useful!  You don't have to sell out to "The Man" and join the G.A.C.C.C (Great American Corporate Criminal Class), but does self-actualization and being true to oneself have to mean going through life stoned?

Well, Slackerville was entertaining but after a few hours of it I was ready to move on.  On a high ridge between bay and ocean and cooled by sea breezes and frequent fog, the Point Loma Peninsula must be one of the most beautiful areas in San Diego.

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