Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park are a must-visit if you ever happen to be in San Diego. I am not really fond of the idea of animals behind bars, but in these two cases, the animals are given as much room as possible and much is done to educate the public to wildlife and plant conservation. The Wild Animal Park is a 100% Non-Profit and all proceeds go right back into the park.

During the summer months, it can get quite warm, but the zoo’s botanical gardens and rainforests are cool, damp, and dark. At the Wild Animal Park, misters are cooling you down from overhead. The exotic grounds at both parks have really matured in the 30 years that I have been visiting them and it almost feels like you are truly in a rain forest when strolling along fern canyon. Every time I go, I find new and exciting exhibits and the use of free-flying bird aviaries makes for wonderful photographic opportunities.

I am healing well from cervical surgery but won’t be able to travel or bike again for at least another month or so. We are making the most of it by visiting places locally that we usually ignore when we are on the road. A movie we went to go see yesterday, an independent film called: The Farewell, is a touching tribute to the differences in handling a terminal illness diagnosis from the east and the west. In China, for instance, the family shoulders the responsibility of someone having only a few months to live by carrying the burden of sorrow themselves and not telling the one who is sick that they are going to die soon. The movie manages to portray a touching tribute to death while laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all. The main character, Billi, a young woman of about 30, flies from New York to China to say goodbye to her beloved grandmother, and the conflicts that arise in her by not being able to say goodbye that leaves her confused and bruised. A fake wedding is planned as a ruse so that the matriarch is left in the dark about her prognosis when the entire family visits to pay their respect. All the players that participate in this lie are touched upon in very sympathetic ways that make the characters very real and so believable. I highly recommend it.

We also drove to Balboa Park and explored the rose gardens across the street from the zoo. We usually park in the parking lot, but this time we left the car on the street and strolled around the gardens enjoying the well-tended flower beds. June Bugs flitted about above us and ground squirrels dashed along the rows of sweet scented flowers, getting up enough nerve to eat the blossoms whenever the crowds dissipated. They are so cute to watch until you try and grow plants of your own, then they become the pests and vermin any gardener will tell you they are. Michael and Lara were kind enough to carry my camera around with the super heavy tripod and would hand them to me when I wanted to take photos. Talk about being supportive. They have both been great. Lara thought she was going to have to spoon-feed me…. so at least she didn’t have to do that.

Lara, my daughter, can stay until Monday morning before she has to fly back to Vegas and we are going to try and have as much fun as we can until then. Today, for instance, she and her dad went to the aerospace museum to check out airplanes, something that I wasn’t interested in doing with my neck brace on. It isn’t comfortable standing around with this thing wrapped tightly around my neck. I have discovered Benedryl Gel though for the rash that developed right after the surgery and it has improved my quality of life a lot. There is nothing much worse than intense itching in my humble opinion. I should almost be half way through this ordeal though. At least I hope.