One of the things we noticed in San Diego was the ample amount of public art around the city: statues, installations, paintings, multimedia work ... once I started looking for it, it always seemed to be there. I've already noted the moving tribute to Bob Hope and his volunteer work for the U.S. armed forces, which is near one of the most interesting statues in the city: a recreation of the famous VJ Day in Times Square photograph. (Martha and I copied or at least imitated that pose for Nick right here.)
This is one of the statues built along the waterfront. If you look carefully, you can see Nick through it, having a close look at how it was erected.
We saw the most interesting memorial in San Diego. It's called the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, and it's really striking. It features life-size statues of Hope surrounded by U.S. service personnel (from various parts of the 20th century, from WWII to the first Persian Gulf war). While you look at the statues, you hear one joke after another as Hope entertained different generations of personnel ... often making quips that showed enormous empathy for the conditions they were in.
If you ever go to San Diego, take the time to have a look. It's remarkable. You'll find it near the U.S.S. Midway, the former aircraft carrier that is now a floating museum, and near a series of monuments honouring "The Greatest Generation."
This is one of the koala bears we saw at the San Diego Zoo. You may have heard that they spend most of the time asleep (and the rest of it looking cute, and/or appearing in commercials). They certainly do sleep a lot; as we strolled around the zoo, this was the typical sight ... a wee bear, sleeping and clutched to a tree.
Koalas spend as much as 18 hours a day at rest, all due to slow metabolism.
If you go to San Diego (and I really think everyone should, at least once - it's a beautiful place), particularly soon, take time to see a remarkable statue called Unconditional Surrender, which should look familiar. It's based on the famous photograph called VJ Day in Times Square (you can read about the photo's remarkable history and after-life here), and it's currently standing in San Diego near the U.S.S. Midway, the former aircraft carrier that has become a floating museum on the city's waterfront. The statue recreates the moment when a sailor smooches an unsuspecting nurse.
The statue is several times life-size, and easy to spot from a distance. When we went by one morning, Nick asked his parents to recreate the pose.
The San Diego Zoo is an amazing place ... and it's also huge. It's fun to walk around the zoo's many corners, but it's also time-consuming, and hard on the feet. (If you go, take advantage of the Skyfari, which is a trolley in the air, which runs from one corner to another with stunning aeral views. It also can save time, and provide a relaxing break.)
We noticed they had these little foot massaging machines in various parts of the park. You pop in a quarter, sit down and put your feet on the platform ... and then feel a massive amount of shaking on your toes.
My reaction is above.
I got used to it, and actually found them really helpful indeed. They get the blood circulating in the feet and legs, and that tired, aching feeling just vanishes. I'd recommend them to any attraction where walking is expected.
Nick and I took in a Padres game last week, during our visit to San Diego; Martha was off to the convention that brought us there. It was a great day in the sunshine, and we had a wonderful chat with four of the folks who hold season passes in the outfield area where we sat in Petco Park. One of them was kind enough to snap this shot just after the game ended.
The Padres, incidentally, lost to Washington 2-0, after a scoreless run through the first eight innings. The funniest thing I heard that day was one of the fans saying to his buddies on the way out, "Someone should tell the Padres baseball has nine innings."
Ouch. Nonetheless, we had a fun time. It was Nick's second MLB game.
The former U.S. submarine USS Dolphin is docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego; it was active until recently, so it's interesting to see how crews lived and carried out their work on this research sub.
I found it curious to see at least a couple of these stations, which indicated both the risks of the work they were doing, but also the very limited access to emergency care on board.
One of the things we took in during our visit to San Diego was a stop at the Maritime Museum, which is downtown and consists of several vessels (including not one but two submarines, including a Russian one dating from the cold war).
The star attraction, though, is the Star of India, which the museum bills as the oldest active sailing ship in the world. The ship doesn't sail often, mind you; in November, the largely volunteer crew takes it out in San Diego's harbour for a spin, and it returns to service as a floating museum.
To keep the Star of India ship-shape, maintenance is an ongoing challenge. The morning we were there, this volunteer was removing laquer on the top deck, in preparation for a new application to come later. Not the easiest work, and it shows the dedication of the people keeping a slice of maritime history on top of the water.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.