We usually plan for our vacation, way ahead of time. This time was an exception. We planned for a trip to San Diego and Los Angeles just little over a week before our trip. We wanted to go out somewhere warmer and take a few days’ reprieve from cold and the location was purely based on that.
Flight, hotel and car booking happened overnight . For the first time ever, I did book tickets before informing Work about the vacation. I took 2 days’ vacation (that will expire by end of this year) and combined with Christmas weekend. So, off we went.
Flight was around 6 PM and due to Holiday weekend travel plans we reached Airport ahead of time (almost by 4.15 PM we were there). For the first time in my travel, TSA allowed everyone to keep liquids and gel in the carryon and did not ask us to remove that. They allowed with shoes, belts and did not ask to take out anything. I thought it may be due to Holiday rush planning. Flight started at 6 PM and after 4 hrs travel and gaining 2 hours, we reached San Diego at 8 PM. Out of 4 hours travel, Adhruth was awake for around 3.5 hours and had dinner and enjoyed watching his iPad. He slept when it was time to land.
Car Rental was not inside the Airport arrival area and Shuttle took us to the Car Rental. From there, Residence Inn (where else will we stay) was hardly 15 mins. Settled in to the hotel and our room was partial Bay facing room. Good view to enjoy.
San Diego Sea World
It was a beautiful 50F day but winds made it colddd.
I have seen Dolphin show in movies and it was our first real life experience. It is amazing to see the training given and how they respond. It was nothing less than being another human in understanding the instruction. Positive reinforcement works tremendously. Whales jumping out of water hearing the trainer was a sight to watch. The final act of 2 whales coming out of water was excellent.
It was drizzling a bit but did not last for more than 5 minutes. Sea Lion comedy show was fun. Cannot believe these mammals were such trainable creatures.
Then came the highlight of the day. Dolphin interaction where we get to touch, feed and communicate with Dolphin. Softtttttttttttt skin and they felt like touching eggplant (brinjal). There were 2 Dolphins and it is an experience interacting with them. Adhruth was so excited and he ran towards the pool and was happy interacting with the Dolphins.
After that we walked around the Sea World and looking at the shops there. The additional $ for preference seating was worth it and don’t have to be in the line longer.
San Diego Zoo
The next day was Zoo time. This day was not as windy as the previous day. This zoo is very different. Not only had huge population of animals but lots of greenery and trees around. We did the Discovery cart tour where we had a private tour in the cart with a guide who explains a lot about animals there and lots of history. We got chance to pull over and get into some exhibits. It was an hour of tour and certainly worth it.
After the tour, got a good perspective of the places to see and started walking. By this time, Adhruth finished his lunch and slept. We walked through Monkey area (this alone was so vast). Then looked at Leopards, Cheetah, Lion and Tiger. This is the place I have got the best picture of a Tiger.
After more walking and taking much more pictures, we thought we were done and wanted to do some shopping.
Carousel here is much faster and longer duration (of course, first activity is to entertain Adhruth so that he is happy and lets us shop). Lots of small shops with amazing unique items. The best thing here is the excellent view of Sunset. We did not carry our camera thinking it is just shopping, but got some good pictures with our Phone (hmmmm, ugggg iPhone commercial time).
The next day, we went to Las Americas outlet and explored that place. Did not realize how close it was to Mexico border . From there, we headed to Los Angeles. My Sister’s friend Lakshmi akka lives in Irvine and invited us home. Meeting akka after more than a decade. Spent good time with their family. Adhruth found a gread friend there and was ready to climb over him.
Reached Los Angeles that night and settled down in the hotel. We now have one full day at LA. We decided to skip Universal Studios as Adhruth was too young for the rides there. So, headed to Citadel outlets and after some shopping there came to Walk of Fame and Downtown area. Spent some time there till it was dark and all lights were on. Took a long walk in the streets and lots of pictures. We remembered our walk in the Times Square. After some more pictures and locating some more names in the Walk, headed back home.
Oh, some new experiments this trip – Adhruth loves Skittles and Cheese pizza
Flight next morning was at 7:30 AM and landed in Minneapolis at around 1:15 after losing 2 hours. Adhruth this time, slept for half of the duration. It was a great experience but we felt we needed more days of vacation.