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San Diego is a beautiful city, there's no doubt about it, however, I must admit that I found it a little... disappointing. Maybe cause I've heard so much about its beauty. Maybe because I expected much more from the Zoo and maybe because from the low altitude before landing, San Diego looks like a tiny heaven. The magical, green valley, the small, beautiful white Spanish houses with the green, manicured backyards and the round shiny swimming pools. And above all - the majestic palm trees everywhere. It all looks a little different from ground level.

Balboa Park

Casa Del Prado
Driving to the Zoo I crosses Balboa Park in the middle of the city. It's a very nice park with surprises on every turn (I know since I made at least three wrong turns to what I thought would be the zoo entrance). On one of those turns I found a couple of beautiful buildings. It was an early morning hour and the Casa Del Prado Theater glittered in the morning sun.

San Diego Zoo
The zoo is probably San Diego's main attraction. It's been a while since the last time I've been to a Zoo. I thought of going to the Bronx zoo more than once, but it never really happened. I guess the last time was years ago. Many years ago (I have a picture in the Tel Aviv zoo when I was 3-4, I suspect that was the last time...)
There are three pricing options when entering the San Diego Zoo. I bought the cheapest one ($18, 'hefty price for a zoo' I remember myself thinking). The more expensive tickets include the bus ride around the zoo, and some other feature that weren't appealing to me at that moment.
The zoo is beautiful. You walk a lot! There are some escalators and special conveyor belts, but for the most part you have to walk. The bus tour, in my opinion, is a waste of time. You can get the same experience, more or less, from a 'National Geographic' videotape.
Other zoo attractions include the colorful birds locked in a huge birdcage, the various species of deer (some of them extremely rare, as I read in the signs (another thing you miss when taking the bus tour). There are lions and tigers there as well, although I couldn't find them (I didn't keep the map they gave me at the entrance) and the only predator I saw was a nervous black jaguar pacing back and forth in his cage.

The main attraction in the zoo, evident by the special red signs and long waiting lines, are the Panda bears. Their cute and playful and just gave birth to another baby Panda, but, If I correctly read the facial expression of most of the observers, they're just... well - bears...

San Diego Bay
The San Diego Bay is wide and beautiful, especially at sunset. Friday evening there weren't too many people there. One girl sat staring at a big ship that was departing the bay with a loud honk. There's a nice Fish Restaurant and a sort of pirate boat for tourists.
There was a slight gloominess at that small promenade that Friday evening. From the other side of the road I could see the hotels, bars and restaurants. Some people were sitting at the small balconies of their hotel rooms (extra charge for a room facing the bay)

San Diego Mall
The San Diego Mall is one of the most beautiful commercial structures I've ever seen. The architecture is simply amazing, with countless levels and colors. The only problem is - it's really easy not to find it at all. From the outside it looks just like any other building but when you step inside you discover a world of marvel (OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, it's just a mall after all).

The Old San Diego
The old city of San Diego is also very recommended. I just passed by, rather late, but the place seems nice with Wild West ambiance.

Bottom line: San Diego is one of the nicest places I've ever been to. There's a lot to see and do. A good place on the web for additional information about San Diego would be Yahoo San Diego Metro page
Alon.
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