Sunday, March 3, 2013

We Arrive Alive to Thrive

This is likely to be a bit of a megapost, so I thank you in advance for bearing with me until the end. If you find it boring and move on to more interesting divertisssements, I assure you the fault is mine and not your'n. We have a lot of ground to cover. Alright then settled in. here we go!

When last we spoke, we were preparing to leave Las Cruces NM heading to Yuma AZ for the night. Since the time kept changing in our favor, and fortified with a meal at Johnny Carina's, I decided we should try to push on to San Diego. Accordingly, exhaustedly we arrived after a journey of 606 mi.

We checked in to a Quality Inn on Hotel Circle and booked 3 nights. Here is the driveway entrance to the hotel. Polar bears seem a little out of place here, but there you go.

After breakfast the following a.m. we headed for the SD Metro station a couple of blocks from the hotel and purchased day passes for the metro. Here they are. They advertise the pass for $5 and don't tell you that there is a non-refundable $2 fee for the card......oh well it's a $2 souvenir I suppose.

Here is my beloved holding her Compass Card, excited to find out what the day holds. Well let's all see together shall we?

We arrived 2 stops later at the San Diego Old Town transit Center. Old Town San Diego is actually a State park comprising 29 acres, with many historic buildings, costumed guides and opportunities to revisit San Diego of the 1850's. For those of you wishing further enlightenment her's a link

Having traversed the  burning desert and freezing great plains for the last 2 days, It was pleasant to be welcomed by these palms adjacent to the gates.

This is the main square in Old Town, where they have the flag pole and a gentleman leading a tour of school aged children through history. The re-enactors were very well versed in their historical lore, and told their stories with enthusiasm and panache.

This is the side yard of Casa Wrightington. This dwelling was occupied by a gentleman who married a Spanish senorita of a good family. After his death Dona Juana de Dios Machado Alipas de Wrightington maintained the house and served meals to visiting dignitaries and notables, and supplied food from her garden to other San Diego residents.

In this house is currently located an art store with many Spanish influenced crafts and art from local artists. i though you should see a tableau of Spanish Jesus and the 12 Spanish apostles. I found it interesting, as a previous post featured Black Jesus and the 12 Black Apostles. I have yet to see Oriental Jesus and the 12 Oriental Apostles, but I will not be surprised when I do.

One of the things that continuously impresses itself upon me is the flora of these parts. It is so unlie either Squamish or Oklahoma. I like it here and the weather is always sunny and warm.

Here is some more local flora. You will recognize it. it is geranium. That which we grow in pots on balconies in the north, grows knee high and flourishes here.

San Diego house was the restaurant attached to Casa Wrightington. This sign describes it a little better than I could. Fascinating...

Here is a tree which you may recognize from the pear-shaped immature fruit on it....That's right it's an Avocado. I don't know how long these will take to ripen, but they are slightly larger than my pinky fingernail at present.

This is the view across the square from San Diego house.

This is a shot of a typical table setting from the 1850's. This represents the period after the Spanish American War, when California was claimed by the United States. Not much variety, but lots of food.

Here is a tree growing out back. I couldn't tell if it kumquat or cutie oranges. I didn't try one.

We stopped inside a store where they sold a bewildering variety of cigars and pipe tobacco, along with every type of tobacco smoking paraphernalia. Here is Scooterchick making the acquaintance of the mascot.

The next building served as the Wells Fargo office. Wells Fargo got their start by providing transportation service for mail, gold and passengers, and shortened the transit time from East Coast to West Coast from 6 months to 32 days, as stage stops were set up and fresh horses were available every 20-25 miles.

Here is a docent talking about the Wells Fargo history. Very informative and entertaining.

This is the first judge in San Diego. His name was Oliver S. Witherby and he was appointed to the bench by John B. Weller a friend who had been assigned to set the border between California and Mexico in 1849.

Here is a picture of a shop selling glassware and windchimes. The colors were fantastic.

Another picture of the shop exterior. Notice that mariachi band. Even the donkey is joining in.

This is the mining recorders office and gold assay. All claims were registered and gold was weighed here. Accurate scales were necessary, or the assayer could find himself ventilated.

This is a picture of a succulent garden at the entrance to a courtyard that had shops and a restaurant. We got a helado (ice cream) and carried on.

The nearest is a blue agave.  This is the cactus from which they make Tequila.

Once out of Old Town San Diego. we see the second church. The first was made of adobe brick and served the residents starting in 1858, and is located 2 blocks away. This one was dedicated in 1917.

A kind lady named Maryanne from Manitoba offered to take our picture. We reciprocated with one of her outside Cold Stone Creamery. I guess that's a novelty in MB.

This is a Mexican restaurant called the Coyote Cafe. It looks like they started in one section and continued expanding until they have almost all of both floors, but for about 400 sq. ft. right at the back.

This is a Creole Cafe adjacent to the Whaley House. We didn't eat here.

This is yet another Mexican restaurant . They are in plentiful supply. The only other options appear to be burgers. Ah well....

We visited Campo del Santo (field of the saints) graveyard. It was interesting. They sure died young back in the day. It seemed like they all died before reaching their 50's. Looking at the architecture one thinks, one good rain and look out!!!

This is the Best Western Hacienda Hotel. It is terraced up the hill and has 200 rooms.

This is a veranda that is covered in Wisteria. It looks cool and inviting.

Here are some flowers growing outside a house belonging to one of the locals. Pretty...

Time for some chow. We stopped into the Coyote Cafe, since it seemed very popular. We got fed up on Carne Asada, and Scooterchick had an Enchilada and a Fish Taco.....yummm!

This is the courtyard I alluded to earlier. The restaurant occupies pretty much the entire building.

Here is a wall mural of Mariachis. The local mariachis will come to your table and serenade you for tips. They are well mannered though and will move on without delay if you say No Gracias!

Here is another section of wall painted in bright color....also nice!

This is the sign at the parking entrance to The Immaculate Conception church. As you can see they are still drawing a flock. At least a flock of birds of paradise anyway.

This is another mercado area with colorful wares for sale.

Okay, so this one is a little out of place. This donkey lives at the stables. He and his compadre are the only animals that live in the park, except for a few feral cats.

This is another picture of the mercado area. There are many opportunities to divest oneself of your cash within the park and adjacent.

Another opportunity to spend.

The Seeley Stable was used to quarter horses, repair and outfit wagons and supply horses, mules and feed to the locals. It was extremely well equipped and is now a very informative museum.

This is the Continental Hotel, which is still in operation today.

Bougainvillea climbing on a trellis was easy to spot at the end of the street. We got a picture here and found ourselves at the entrance to another area of shops and restaurants.

One of the buildings has been adopted by an order I have not heard of previously. Evidently it was founded when this type of language was still in vogue.

Another turn another beautiful garden. They have put a lot of thought into the placement and design of these gardens, and they are altogether pleasing.

Fiesta de Reyes is another market that has shops and restaurants. Here are more mariachis....andale!!

Collonaded walks are nice to see and cool to walk under during the heat of the day. More gardens and more to see.

Got a used wheel barrow? Fill it with succulents.

Got a nook?  They have cactus to fill it.

Need flowers? They have em.

All shapes and sizes.

Will you just look!!!

Even donkey art can be used for flower bearing.

By now our java-o-meter was reading empty, after all the walking and seeing and reading about the area. We stopped at this place to refill caffeine tanks.

Viva el Cafe. I couldn't agree more by this time. We coffeed up with a great deal of satisfaction.

Wall paintings decorating the collonaded walk past Viva el.

I don't know if this is designed to keep the Mexican women in their place, but it shows the archetypal senorita doing all that important "women's work." Art disguising chores. Hmmmmmmm.

Just outside one of the gates you can see more post colonial architecture. As you can see the sun is sinking low by this time.

Here is one of the shopkeepers dressed in period costume, while texting on her cell. Seems incongruous but there you are.

This was one of the gates to the Fiesta de Reyes. Nice...

Here is a set of stores that had many flags hanging outside. We recognized most of them.

Pictures of stairs leading to balconies are always intriguing. What's up there?  Does someone live there? Can I live there?

Here are 2 statues masquerading as marionettes. States made of tin are very popular here.

Here is an old wagon. The driver was subject to the vagaries of weather. Not so the grandee who rode inside. He apparently had a soft ride, and the driver had to shift for himself.

Here is a close up of the bougainvillea that was on the trellis on the previous picture. It is very colorful and robust, but I have recently been informed that it is an invasive species in California.

Here is another flourishing succulent planting. These are everywhere in Old SD.

Another example of succulents and cactus planting.

We left Old San Diego with tired feet and decided to explore around a little. We got on the Blue Line train which goes south from there, towards downtown and points south. Here is a picture of downtown San Diego, all modern and hi risen.

Another high rise basking in the evening sun.

This is American Plaza that is a changeover for the MTS Line. This is where we caught the blue train.

This is the old Santa Fe station where we got off the Green Line. You can see the empty space where it used to read Atchison, Topeka and now only the Sante Fe is left.

Here is a picture of Scooterchick, taking a picture of me. What a kidder....hahaha

Here is a night shot of Chula Vista. sadly we didn't get there before the sun went down, so we missed the sunset. We will remedy that situation in an upcoming post.

The train was full of Spanish speakers, and one lady pulled out a box of Whoppers. I said facetiously "si por favor." I was surprised when she gave me a handful and said " Yo bloggar su generosidad ce noche y muy gracias por este!" I'm sure that I completely mangled the Spanish translation completely but she understood what I meant.

I had two Whoppers left, as Scooterchick had helped me with them and I offered one more to her. She took both and then showed me her obvious glee.

We arrived at San Ysidro station and heard them announce the end of the line, and the frontera internacional (international border). At the back of the station was a large wall separating the US from Mexico. As we caught the train back the town of Tijuana was clearly visible and quite large. Apparently the Tijuana metro area now has 1,650,000 residents.

We switched back to the Green Line and went back to our hotel arriving at about 11:00. This is the last picture in a long day.

I reclined on the bed and attempted to blog. You can see from the date that this is actually 3 days later. That is because my eyes started to close and I had to put my head down and sleep. And goodnight to you.

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