"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Saturday, April 24, 2010

One more day!

Well, today was the beginning of the end of our California trip. We made it as far south as we're going and tomorrow we backtrack up the coast from San Diego back to Los Angeles and dip our toes into Hollywood, Beverly Hills...the insanity of the glitzy world that has created American cinema and then cool off with a fabulous cousin-heavy BBQ (Latin style I hear....carne asada all round!!! Wooohoo!!!). I am really looking forward to this big reunion. The downside of living across the country is that when the family starts rapidly expanding (which seems to happen with impunity in this stage of life) there's suddenly about twice as many people and most of them are people I don't know. Blast. Am making it a goal to get rid of strangers and fit names and vague relationship titles with real individuals and personalities.
                              Ru thinks this cousin and I are unspeakably twin-like...waddya think?

Today we had what sounds like a more low-key kind of day but, honestly, it was one of our most hard core plans so far. We got up and had breakfast with our kind cousinly hosts and then the plan was:
  • See Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • Eat an In n' Out burger
  • Go to the San Diego Zoo
That's about it. But, remember people...the San Diego Zoo...is...um....immense. We were there for about three-ish hours and we didn't even see half the exhibits. We picked what we wanted to see before we went in and just hit the star attractions on our list and breezed past the rest. Sanity requires this approach. Truly. 

The zoo was great though. We had zero meltdowns and A was very gracious and handled both boys completely on his own so that I could just walk with the camera and take my time. I stopped, a lot. I drank a lot of water. I went really, really slowly. And I made it...after we left and I got back to the car I fell asleep instantly and was comatose for about an hour but hey...that's healthy!

The animals at the zoo all seemed pretty happy, some amazingly so...which always makes me feel good. One of the things about zoos that often makes me cringe is the sight of some magnificent animal (often admittedly, endangered in their native space), pacing obsessively back and forth across the space of their, clearly too small, concrete cage floor. There wasn't a lot of that at the SD Zoo. I think it helps to have the climate to create real rainforests for the animals to live in and not lean so exclusively on concrete and plastic substitutes. The orangutan came right up the glass, palms against the window and stared each visitor down thoughtfully, cocking his head and looking in our eyes before loping off, the big male gorillas were taking lazy naps in the sunshine right up against the window and the mama and baby sat happily in full view for a good while too and the flamingos had built themselves nests and were pridefully standing up from time to time to let us all see their giant single egg on the mud mounds where they incubate (super cute). But there was the polar bear, pacing mournfully in front of the door in the back of his cage where his keeper comes and goes, bellowing over and over in wretched misery. I wished I had a big block of ice I could give him. I wonder how much the California climate causes those guys trouble and how much was some other cultural concern. Hard to know as a bystander why the animal appears unhappy. Captivity sure isn't all its cracked up to be, even if it is in some cases better than extinction. All that to say, the zoo was really a fabulous experience and the boys trekked through very energetically...like I said, we didn't have even one meltdown point which is saying a lot for a two year old who is totally off his schedule and being asked to run non-stop. They even kept going through their normal nap-time.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was good too, although I think I liked Carmel-By-The-Sea most. There was a lot of pretty sculpture in the Carmel mission and although it was smaller it seemed more intimate somehow and less production style. San Juan Capistrano had a lot more going on in their space:  a tannery, a wine press, olive pressing, herb gardens, a hospital...etc.etc. That's all once upon a time of course, today there are just a lot of docents everywhere, explaining loudly how this pit was used and what that stone area over yonder was called. It was still pretty, still had historic gravity, a beautiful chapel, lush gardens...the whole package but, somehow it was just, not quite as romantic as my first introduction to the mission idea had been.

And how was my In n' Out burger? Um. Amazing. How could it not be? If you haven't been....go. I think its the best fast food on the planet today! Straight up.


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