San Diego  9/21 – 10/7  (Part 2 – dentist)

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.

Past the McDonalds, around the corner and onto the Path
Welcome to Mexico

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.

A little ways away from the border, the buildings area tall and modern. Up on the hills, homes cluster together to share the view
Whatever you need done to your teeth, these guys can do it

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.

Driving into the USA takes a while
Interesting beers and great tacos

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.

Cali critters
Gotta really love birds to love a condor
A very large frog
A dire wolf and a saber-toothed tiger
Giant sloth

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!

Sounds a lot better then “Boot Camp”
The food got a lot better too
A tall glass of Arrogant Bastard and some tuna poke after a hard day of marching around the mall

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


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We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

6 thoughts on “San Diego  9/21 – 10/7  (Part 2 – dentist)”

  1. Bob and I were in San Diego around 19 years ago and enjoyed it. Nothing stays the same does it!
    I’m really impressed with the cost of your dental work!! Wish I’d have known this 2 yrs ago. My exact same treatment cost close to $10,000 here!!! Hope it all workes well for you.
    Stay well you two…miss you as usual!


  2. Alan didn’t mention that the photo of the jet was taken while seated on our patio. From about 3pm to 11pm, lots of jets in the same flight pattern. They started up again about 4:30 am along with barking dogs! Not a quiet neighborhood, but great for access.


  3. Wow, I live in San Diego and love it. I’m sorry to hear that your impression has changed so much. I guess it matters where one lives, but “the city streets are narrow and crowded and lack parking even in the residential neighborhoods. The homeless are camped everywhere.” doesn’t describe where I live. I am impressed that you ventured into Tijuana for your dental work, though. I haven’t had to do that, but the prices are tempting.


    1. San Diego is an enormous city with a variety of neighborhoods, so I am sure there are parts of it that are great to live in. Our first stop was Chula Vista and that seemed to be a nice suburb. Our next stop was in the South Park area. Driving around there, I was constantly worried about losing my rear view mirrors because the streets are so narrow and cars are parked everywhere. Midday, we might find a parking spot on the block we lived on, but never after 5:00 PM. Even the nicely gentrified Fern Street, with all the great restaurants and breweries has no off-street parking. South Park, North Park, Barrio, Gaslamp, even Coronado; all packed and no place to park. Maybe I am just really tired of big cities but, for me, it was a relief to leave San Diego behind.


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