My mum came to visit me for about a week, arriving last Tuesday (10th) and she left this morning. I love having visitors! Even if my place is a mess (which it is), it’s nice to have another familiar person around. We had a great time; we went to the San Diego Zoo, Catalina Island, and yesterday mum went ocean fishing (by the nuclear plant). It’s been really fabulous!
Friday we headed down to San Diego to take a gander at the zoo. Prices were about $32 each person, and mum pulled out her visa to pay with, and lucky she did! We got a $16 Canadian discount cause she used a Canadian visa! That’s unheard of! Well, I felt very lucky. So we went on a 40 minute bus tour of the zoo to get our bearings, which was quite enlightening. We got a good view of the two polar bears playing in the water with each other (pushing/shoving/etc), which was really cool. Those things are massive! Their head is about the size of my torso. Huge! Then we went down a road called ‘Cat Alley’ or something like that, where all the big cats were. It was very cool – we saw a black Jaguar, Siberian Tigers, Lynx, and a couple others. It was neat – they were all in view when we went by on the bus, and active and the like, but when we walked by later they were all taking cat naps (hahaha, I’m so clever). What else..what else..erm, we saw lots of pigs. For whatever reason, they have many wild pigs there. And lots of deer. Different varieties and such, but I didn’t find them as interesting. Though they had a species of deer that was the rarest in the world, and one weird thing about them was that the herds or whatever you call them generally don’t have males in them. The reason is that when trouble/danger enters their world, the females warn each other, but the males just go run and hide. So they’re isolated from the herd (or whatever). I think that’s how it was explained to us. If I’m wrong, maybe my mum’ll comment and correct that. I thought it was funny. If you’re not community oriented, you’re kicked out! And all the kicked out ones happen to be male. :D. Anyway. Too amusing.
We also saw giraffes! I love giraffes. And that word looks funny in the plural. But they’re so cute!! There was a newborn baby there, only 2 months old. It was born 6 feet tall. Ouch. That’s all I have to say about that. Ouch. They were eating leaves while we saw them. I think that’s about all they do. And lick the poles. I think their tongues are the coolest thing about them. They’re like Odie tongues but black. And we were told that their tongues are really soft. On the weekends visitors are allowed to feed them, but by the time we were there, we missed the feeding by about a half hour. It was sad. I’ll just have to go back. Maybe. If someone else comes to visit me…. :). I love giraffes. There was a teenager-looking-like one who decided to try his/her hand at the palm leaves (cause all their regular leaves food was eaten by then), and he/she was really munching on it for a very long time. Looked like it had peanut butter or something stuck in its mouth. Like, 2 jars of it or something. It was funny. Typical teenage thing to do. I love giraffes (Andy, we should invest in one).
We also saw the elephants, which was cool. They had 2 varieties, Asian elephants and an African, I think. They’re rather big. And bulky. Their trunks are really neat. The guide told us that the tip of their trunk is so sensitive that the elephant could pick a single blade of grass if it wanted to. Well, the ones we saw didn’t want to. But it was nevertheless pretty interesting. And we saw a rhino. Those things are neat! Really big. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Eeyore. No idea how that connects, but there you have it.
We didn’t get to see the monkeys, unfortunately. I’d like to see them next time I go. We did get to see the snakes, though!! I like snakes. Though most of these were poisonous, so they weren’t cute. And I wouldn’t want to hold any of them. I want a corn snake or two.
That was about it. We then headed up to Colette and Pat’s place in Huntington Beach for supper and had a grand ole time there. Great day.
Saturday we headed out to Catalina island, which was pretty an hour and a half-ish ferry ride from Dana Point. Though we had to leave on the 7:45 ferry (ouch) and were required to be there a half hour before (ouch). And mum had us slotted to come back on the 7:00pm ferry. 12 hours was a little long for me, but it was nevertheless pretty good. The city that is on the island, Avalon, is the only city on the island. It’s a rather big chunk of land out in the sea, but Avalon is nearly the only place you can visit without paying a hefty price for a tour. So we wandered. And wandered. I bought a couple Christmas pressies there, and a book and a magazine, and coffee. That was about it. We went up to the Wrigley’s memorial. Wrigley owned the whole island at one time (like the guy who’s name is given to Wrigley’s gum), and then he loaned? sold? i can’t remember, but part of the island was somehow given over to a conservancy, which is what most of the island consists of. Avalon also has a huge, huge, huge building called The Casino, which mum and I found out, isn’t a casino at all. The bottom half is a movie theatre, and the top floor is a ballroom. There was a Jazz Festival going on that weekend, and we managed to swindle some free tickets (that actually was a lot of luck). It was pretty cool, but I wasn’t in the mood for a jazz after an hour or so. Mum was, so I wandered a bit and she enjoyed it. It’s a huge round building, when you see the pictures below.
That pretty much sums up the main things we did. We tested out a bunch of new wines. They were pretty good.
So yeah. It was a fabulous visit. I really enjoyed myself, and I think she did too, which is uber awesome.
In other news, today was the nuclear alarm testing day. That doesn’t mean the nuclear attack alarm, but San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is just south of San Clemente, and so this city, along with 2 others and Camp Pendleton, have alarms to sound if there’s a threat of a meltdown. They’re required to test them once a year, and today was the day. I sent a video of the sound to a number of you, I’ll see if I might be able to post it somehow onto this site, but I think it’s probably rather big.
1. Mum and the wild pigs
2. The massive Polar Bear
3. The cute (but huge) Panda Bear
4. Me and an elephant (or oliphant, as Sam would say)
5. Mum and a zebra. She said it was the first time she had ever seen a live one
6. Me and a giraffe (I think they’re really cool)
7. The start of the Catalina Island pictures. That’s mum in front of a restaurant, but we didn’t actually eat there.
8. One of the piers for the smaller boats. Has a restaurant at the end, I believe, but I didn’t walk down that pier
9. Main street on Catalina Island
10. Mum reading about the Botanical Gardens in the Wrigley monument area.
11. Coolest thing ever! It’s an aloe tree!!!
12. The view from the monument. Really pretty. Avalon is down that valley more.
13. The plaque to Mr. Wrigley-dude
14. The Jazz festival that was happening in The Casino (that isn’t a casino)
15. View from the north side of The Casino on the top floor (which is also the ballroom, which is where the Jazz fest was being held)
16. View to the south of the island from The Casino. I overheard some people saying that Nicholas Cage owns one of the houses on the side of the mountain. I have no idea how true that is.
17. A view from the hillside of The Casino (the thing’s massive!!)