These are some words about our brief family summer vacation. ORCAS refers to our day at Sea World. Overall, the family had fun. We did get a bit sunburned in exposed patches, but I bought some aloe vera gel which helped the burn feel better and heal. I was not impressed with the quality of customer service at several places that collect money at Sea World. At lunch, ( at a cafeteria style eatery) they tried to charge us almost $20.00 too much. I commented on this to the young, perhaps not too well trained cashier. He called over a supervisor, deleted whatever he'd rung up, and did it again. What really has me in a "state of being upset" about our visit, is getting charged double for the aloe vera gel and having an extremely difficult time getting in contact with any living person at Sea World to deal with it. Partly on my fault for not paying close attention to the transaction; heaven knows the "supervisor" who was ringing up my purchases was not paying attention. He was too busy talking and joking around with the other cashiers. Normally I pay attention to what I am being asked to pay, but at this time, I was also trying to pay attention to where my boys were as their Mother was not with us in this gift shop. So now, I am trying to get in contact with a live person at Sea World who can fix this error. The "Mystery of the Haunted Lighthouse" 3-D movie was cool ( staring the comical .....ah, brain freeze...."Jim" from Taxi, the professor from the "Back to the Future" movies....OH, Christopher Lloyd. The Cirque d'Sol style aquatic show as cool too.
We visited the San Diego Maritime Museum, which features the old immigrant ship, STAR OF INDIA. I think old ships are cool. The museum also featured, for a mere $3.00 more per person, a neat little SD harbor tour on a restored pilot boat.
We visited the place known for its swallows; Mission San Juan Capistrano. It seems to be much more of a museum than many of the other California missions we have visited. It was well worth spending a couple of hours visiting and finding out more about this old mission. One thing that I didn't know, was that they built what was the largest church building in early California. This structure held seven domes was only used for a short time due to it being destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. The earthquake hit during mass and killed almost 50 native worshippers. The first metal works in California were also located here. There was a notice in the church that this building was the only surviving structure in California where perhaps soon-to- be sainted Padre Junipero Serra said mass. We didn't see any swallows, but we did see a few of their mud nests attached to some high beams.
No, we didn't play polo, or shop at any Polo brand name outlet store. But, we did see the polo field built by the most famous Okie in California history, Will Rogers Jr. He went from a wandering Oklahoma ( actually Indian Territory ) cowboy to performing in NY to making movies in Hollywood. According to our tour guide, he gave away thousands of dollars to people who wrote to him asking for help, and to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. He raised a large amount of money to help the people of Nicaragua after a big earthquake in that Central American nation. It seems that his philosophy was to use what money he and his family needed to get by, and use the rest of it to help people. He used some of his money to buy a big chunk of property in what is now the Brentwood area of west LA and made it a family home and place of sanctuary for his friends, such as Charles Lindbergh and his wife. The Lindbergh's stayed at the Rogers Ranch waiting for news about their kidnapped ( and subsequently murdered ) son. He had a polo field, a number of stables and lots of room to ride the hills and canyons of west LA, all the way down to the beach. Rogers furnished his home in a "western" style, complete with some fabulous Navajo rugs, artworks by such famous friends of his as Charlie Russell and comfortable rooms for his family and guests. In addition to his acting and charity fund raisers, Rogers wrote a popular, much syndicated newspaper column. Sadly, his life was cut short when he was killed in an airplane crash with Wily Post in Alaska. There is a museum near his "home" in Claremore, OK., but much of his LA home was just like it was when he died. The property was left in the care of the State of California and it is now Will Rogers State Park.
In the west central part of "downtown" LA, are several pools of asphalt. This is the remains of Rancho La Brea and the site of the world famous La Brea Tar Pits. We spent the afternoon checking out the museum, watching museum volunteers down in pit 91 extracting ice age animal bones from the tar and enjoying the little garden in the midst of all this "city". If you ever find yourself in LA, the La Brea Tarpits are well worth a visit, especially if you have never been there. It is fascinating !
Yep, we went to the beach too. You can't go to San Diego / Southern California without going to the beach. There are some great beaches in Southern California; one we like in particular is South Carlsbad. We have been luck to always find a place to park and it just doesn't seem to be as crowed as other nearby beaches such as Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Windandsea, Torry Pines, Del Mar......and we like the Carlsbad area.
We also visited with a few assorted relatives but that is not something to blog about. Except to say that we had a good time with our kin.
Thanks for reading my blog. Tomorrow, I head to my classroom to begin putting my room together for the upcoming school year.