The City of WOW
In October of 2015, my husband and I were fortunate to have traveled to San Diego, California for a 5-day Anesthesia Convention held at the grand downtown convention center. When I say grand, I mean gargantuan!
The number of fine hotels, eateries, Starbucks, sparkling beaches, unbelievable weather and amenities in San Diego were too numerous to entertain. The people seemed happy and carefree; the atmosphere unencumbered and relaxing–a far cry from the irritating sounds and fears normally associated with a large city.
San Diego was a whirlwind affair, every waking moment a mesmerizing and hypnotic experience. Below are the kind of sites memories are made of. We will return!
The 4-Star Memory Makers
On The Pier
What a thrill to stand underneath the 25 foot statue of one of 20th century’s greatest photos: the 1945, V-Day celebration in Times Square of a boisterous sailor kissing an unsuspecting nurse on hearing the news of Japan’s surrender. In later years, Glenn McDuffie, one of many who claimed he was that sailor, is said to have charged women $10 a picture for the privilege of capturing their kiss on his cheek. Seems like Glen’s 15 minutes of fame stretched out for a lifetime.
Bronze statues adorn this beautiful beachfront plaza reminiscent of a Bob Hope radio broadcast (actual audio plays in the background) to the troops during World War II. The statues are depicting soldiers of all races and physical weariness, life-like and war-torn, yet so illumined by his presence. Tears came with no warning. The greatest generation will never be forgotten, unique in substance on so many levels.
San Diego’s #1 attraction, located on Navy Pier, is the magnificent Midway Aircraft Carrier. Built in 1945, it stands today as a monolithic symbol of power and strength forged by human endeavor. I felt humbled and weak by its side yet some how safe.
The Midway came to retire in San Diego in 1992 but was a Naval force for 47 years before its decommission. It was the largest ship in the world when built and held that distinction until 1955. Its sheer size is inconceivable, especially when built-in 1945 when technology was in its infancy. The Midway even had its own post office, jail, and hospital as well as every other needed amenity to house and entertain over 5000 souls.
The Midway Museum on board the vessel is a thrilling expose’ of the ship, sailors and aircraft who manned it over the years, memorialized in over 60 breathtaking exhibits. Actual Midway seamen and officers mill about the ship eager to share their stories with anyone willing to listen.
The museum also boasts the largest library of naval history in the world, although it is not open to the public.
Beyond the Pier and Beaches
My husband and I wandered into Old Town, the “birthplace of California” on a recommendation from family and were instantly immersed into yesteryear; the colors, the smells, the artisans, the music, the excitement of early California.
Unfortunately we did not get to enjoy all that Old Town had to offer, but we did have a great dinner at Casa Guadalajara with real Marachi singers, margaritas and laughter setting the tone. We spent the remainder of the evening wandering around the fringes, listening to outdoor entertainment and looking into the many shops headlining various masks of “Dia de los Muertas” or Day of the Dead; a Mexican holiday of remembrance celebrated on November 1st. What fun we had!
The last site we chose during our brief visit was SeaWorld. My son and family came from LA to visit while I was here and we had a ball getting splashed and thrilled by Orca whales, talked to by dolphins, dazzled by flamingos, mesmerized by sharks, and entertained by seals, rides and hucksters, all while basking in the warm California sun. The food had a carnival flavor to it but was made delicious by the atmosphere.
Recently, SeaWorld announced, that it would stop the breeding of Orca whales in captivity. Subsequently, all their whales will likely disappear after the final population dies off. My grandchildren were lucky to be able to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal but not so for future generations. What a shame. What a sham.
The above sites are but a few of the fabulous venues available in San Diego, the city of WOW. Add: The San Diego Zoo, Coronado, Balboa Park and of course, the spectacular beaches and sunsets to the list.
5.Youtube video Welcome to Old Town
6.Youtube video response to Blackfish documentary