San Diego, California: Population = 1,406,630 (San Diego – Tijuana metro area = 4,922,723), elevation = 62 feet, Average January low temp = 49º, Average July high temp = 74.6º, Average precipitation = 10.34”, average annual rainy days = 41.5
We are staying in San Diego for a couple of extra weeks after Brother Father Bill’s retirement. On the way here, I broke a chunk of tooth off, so I need some dentistry and, reportedly, Mexico is a great place to get it. My vague memories of a ragged, sketchy Tijuana back in the 1970s are, I hope, obsolete.
I am hoping I can get everything done within the two weeks in San Diego we have booked so far. My first appointment is on Tuesday. The light rail takes us to the border and a taxi drops us at a modern high-rise office building. The exam is thorough, and includes a complete set of X-rays. The technology is new and impressive. A small, minimally intrusive probe is placed, I hear a little buzz, and up there on the flat screen, an X-ray appears. The verdict is root canal, post, temporary crown today, a permanent crown next week. (Total: $800) They use a team approach. Each member of the team is specialized on part of the treatment and they all perform their tasks together with careful precision. About two hours later, I am tired but not really too sore.
Back across the border. The worst part of the whole day was not the dentist, but the interminable trek across the maze that is the border crossing. At least we did not drive. The line for cars entering the States is long and wide. The train whisks us back to the park-n-ride. We find a brewery nearby to relax in for a while. Mexico is a strong influence here in the Barrio, and I have a Horchata stout for starters and a michelada for dessert. It is taco Tuesday but, even though they look and smell muy delicioso, I am going to have to wait for soft pasta later.
The rest of our time in San Diego is pretty low key. We get caught up on a few things, we have lots of great food and beer, we visit some local attractions. Our rental is just a few blocks from Balboa Park, home to 17 museums, lots of performing arts venues, gardens, trails, and an enormous zoo. On this visit, we see the Natural History Museum. Southern California is home to an incredibly diverse population of plants and animals. Used to be lots of dinosaurs too.
Way, way back in my youth, I decided that I wanted to join the Navy and see the World. A few signatures and a physical and I was on my way to San Diego. Boot camp was mostly a huge expanse of asphalt that we were constantly marching on. Along the sides, in neat, military order were rows of barracks and a big mess hall. Some time after my Naval Adventure — saw the world, mostly water — the whole boot camp was taken over by San Diego and converted to shopping, restaurants, museums, and so on. It became a Destination. Out of curiosity, and with Brother Father Bill as our guide, we stopped by to see what they have done with the place. Big improvement!
Back when I was in the Navy, I loved San Diego for the climate and for being so green and exotic, compared to Minnesota. This time around I am not impressed. San Diego has grown huge, overcrowded, and clogged by freeway after freeway criss-crossing the city. Off the freeways, the city streets are narrow and crowded and lack parking even in the residential neighborhoods. The homeless are camped everywhere. The airport is right downtown, with the flight path and noise right overhead. We will be glad to get out of San Diego.
Next up: Oceanside again