Got up early today and took a taxi to Union Station in downtown LA to catch the 9:40am Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train to San Diego. The taxi driver was the most ‘friendliest’ person I have ever met (NOT!) and the LA morning traffic was horrendous – we did manage to arrive at Union Station in plenty of time though, so that was good!
The journey was nice and smooth – we made a number of stops along the way and the train took us down along the coast to San Diego in just under 3 hours. We arrived at the Santa Fe Depot Station around 12:30pm – it was one of those platform-less stations – where you actually get off the train and you’re already on the road – you can even cross the tracks and exit the station wherever you like! This was quite good for us, as our hotel was just a couple of blocks up from the far end of the station. We didn’t have to exit from the main gates, and so it only took us about 5 minutes to reach the hotel. And what a lovely hotel it is…We have (one of) the penthouse rooms on the top floor, with a balcony overlooking the city. It’s very posh (^^)v and very spacious too!
After quickly unpacking a couple of things, we got changed and headed off for San Diego Zoo, which is at the far end of Balboa Park. We walked there and it wasn’t actually too far – we would have arrived a bit quicker, but we had our first ‘panic moment’ of the holiday. We had bought a drink at MacD’s on the way and because it was so huge, we had sat down on a park bench to drink it. When the cup had become a little lighter, we decided to drink it as we walked and carried on in the direction of Balboa Park. Suddenly, Seio said that he couldn’t find his wallet…Oh Oh! We retraced our steps back to the bench hoping that it might be lying on the street somewhere, but we kind of had a feeling that it might have fallen out when we were sitting on the bench…in which case there were a couple of people hanging around and there would be a good chance that the wallet would be long gone!! We couldn’t find it on the street, but luckily we found it behind the bench on the floor – contents in tact thank goodness!! Phew – that was close!!
We eventually made it to the Zoo and hopped straight on a guide bus that took us around the whole zoo – the driver/tour guide told us all about the Zoo and the animals and we got to see a few of the creatures that weren’t asleep!
After we got back to base, we decided to get on the aerial skylift…Both me and Seio are a bit scaredy-cat when it comes to heights, rollercoasters etc. so we pretty much sat still and hoped that the cablecar wouldn’t stop in mid air. Finally the exit point drew closer and we were both quite glad to jump off – needless to say we decided to do the return part of the journey on foot!!
We went past the polar bears and then the panda enclosure. We saw (the backs of) 2 pandas who were chomping on some bamboo leaves – apparently pandas spend 10 hours of their day eating and 12 hours sleeping!! What a life heh? I wonder how they spend the other 2 hours?? Thinking about sleeping and eating probably…
After leaving the pandas we headed towards the monkey and ape enclosure via the tropical bird aviary. We saw a variety of different birds and monkeys, but the best enclosure had to be the Silverback Gorillas – they were amazing! So huge and powerful, yet so playful at the same time – Seio and I spent most of the afternoon there trying to get a decent photo (^^)v
I think the gorillas became bored with us staring at them, and when they moved off and out of our sight we took the hint to leave them in peace. It was actually about closing time for the Zoo at that point as well, so we made our way back to the front gate, past the Caribbean pink flamingos and a lonely little peacock…I think the peacock was either lost or had escaped or something – he was just wandering aimlessly around the benches at the front of the park…he’s probably still there now!!
We left the zoo and walked back to our hotel, picking up some food supplies on the way…we were both very hungry after all that walking and gorilla-watching we did today!!