The next day was our day at the famous San Diego zoo and it was my turn at the wheel. We actually got to Balboa Park fairly easily and managed to park free of charge. However, as we didn’t know exactly where in the big park the zoo was, I for some reason decided just to follow the car in front and ended up miles away. It was no big deal really, it was a clear blue, sunny day and the park really was something else. Apparently it was originally built for the World Fair when it was in San Diego and is now filled with around 13 museums. It definitely deserved a return trip.
The zoo was much more expensive than anywhere else (as was the onsite food) but we were set on going. I’d heard a lot about the zoo, mainly from Friends and Madagascar but also from people recommending that we go there and it didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to believe a place like that could exist in the middle of a city. We saw gorillas, orangutans, elephants, tigers and all the animals from Madagascar, although we never found Ross’s monkey. I was particularly excited to see my first ever koalas. They were very cute, one woke up, walked a little way, ate something and fell back to sleep. I think that’s why I like them so much. I can relate. We have much in common. The meerkats were also very cute.
On the way back to the car, we tried to take a shortcut but were stopped by someone who worked at the park who could tell we were tourists and started to tell us about the park. Apparently it was not named after Rocky Balboa like we thought. Eventually we found ourselves back at the house before all heading out to dinner at Vietnamese restaurant, Pho. I had bbq beef, noodles, vegetables and beansprouts in a sauce. If that was Vietnamese food, I couldn’t wait to go to actually go to Vietnam. Tasty and reasonably priced.
When we were back at home, we watched a movie called Almost Famous which quickly went high on my list of great movies. It was about a kid who worked his way into writing an article for Rolling Stone magazine and goes on tour with the band he is writing about. Worth a watch.
In the morning, we were taken on a tour of San Diego’s beaches. After a quick breakfast, we started at Moonlight State Beach, which was big and sandy with volleyball nets and surrounded by snazzy houses. We hopped back in the car and went for doughnuts. We ordered so many that the guy behind the counter threw in a free cinnamon roll. I was pretty happy by this point. We then drove through Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, through spouts of rain, and stopped off at In-n-Out Burger, which everyone had told us to go to. There we found good quality fast food and a small menu, which meant we didn’t have to spend half an hour trying to make up our minds.
Finally we made it to Ocean Beach, the best beach we’d been to on our tour. We wandered up and down the quirky main street, through the farmer’s market, and I bought myself a Deep Purple vinyl for $2. Perhaps not the most practical buy at the beginning of a three month trip (I got it back in one piece).
Afterwards, we drove up to the Sunset Cliffs, with its array of very nice looking beach houses, and onto Cabrillo Park where we saw the monument and the lighthouse on Point Loma. The views of San Diego were amazing, especially as we seemed to have managed to shake off the rain finally.
Dinner that night was Mexican food. People in California seemed to love it but the restaurants we’d been to so far were not great, however that night we realised why it was a big deal. I’ve been hooked ever since that pork burrito. We settled down to the Big Lebowski and popcorn. It had been a foodie’s dream day.
Stay classy San Diego.