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San Diego, California, USA: The wet side
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Rain was playing spoilt sport. But what the hell, why worry about the water when one has to visit SeaWorld and the Harbor Cruise?
After a hearty breakfast at Huntington Beach, we drove directly to Lego Land in Carlsbad. The drive was just about an hour along the Pacific Coast Highway. What can small, colourful blocks do? Well, one has to visit Lego Land. Using millions of small blocks, a Mini Land has been created. You will be appalled by how locations like Las Vegas, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, San Francisco and many others have been brought to life. Lego Land also has many rides and creative centres to attract the grey cells of young and old. Since it was drizzling, we couldn't take any of the rides. Well, there's always another day.
Adjoining to the Lego Land is an aquarium - 3 levels of sheer fascination. Visitors can buy individual or combine their tickets for the Lego Land as well as the Aquarium. Hundreds of species of marine life can keep visitors busy for hours. The aquarium reminded me of equally good aquariums in Singapore and Shanghai. You may want to refer to my note on Shanghai in pages elsewhere in this web site.
For lunch we were at Twenty20 a restaurant at Sheraton Carlsbad, a few blocks away from Lego Land. Small portions of amazing delicacies just kept coming to our table. Outrageously delicious.
Post lunch, we left for SeaWorld, San Diego about 30-minute drive away. Thankfully, the weather Gods became a bit generous. Sun came out giving us the opportunity to explore SeaWorld at leisure. With weather being good, I could have easily spent a day out here. However, I had just 2 hours to wander around for I had to catch the Shamu - The Killer Whale - show at 5 PM.
SeaWorld is nicely divided in zones. Make sure to take a map that will help you plan your route. Explore the zones of sharks, seals, penguins, flamingoes, antics of the dolphins, polar bears, walruses and more. The highlight, of course, is the performance by Shamu. Check for the timings. Usually, there are 2 shows every day lasting for 25 minutes. I will let the pictures do the talking.
At 6 we left Sea World and drove downtown San Diego and checked into Embassy Suites. I was lucky to get a room on the higher floor that overlooked the ocean and the famous Coronado Bridge. It's a 2.1 mile long bridge that connects Coronado and San Diego. The bridge gains a height a of 200 feet and takes a 80 degree curve towards San Diego. It was world's largest bridge featuring a box girder until 2008 when a bridge in China overtook.
At 7:30 we boarded the Hornblower Dinner Cruise. The two and a half hour cruise takes you along the famous landmarks along the harbor and under the Coronado Bridge. Champagne and a delicious 3-course dinner is part of the game. There are other cruises offered by Hornblower in the mornings too. When in San Diego, do try them out.
A day in San Diego is not enough by any means. Holiday Magazine described San Diego as "the only area in the United States with perfect weather". Relaxing resort accommodations, diverse array of artistic and cultural offerings, fine dining, world-renowned attractions and 70 miles of spectacular coastline. On my group we had a lady from Orlando, Florida who told me many times that she would have moved to San Diego but the high cost of accommodation and living kept her away.
Since we had a tight schedule, we left the next day to California's another wealthy County - Palm Springs.
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