Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We spent the rest of the day at the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The place is about 100 acres, but seems much larger. It's also a botanical garden, so we spent almost as much time admiring the landscaping as the animals. The parking lot outside was nearly full, but the crowds were not large; the only waits we had were for the guided tour at the very beginning, and to see the giant pandas. By about 3pm it felt like we were the only people there, as all the visitors who had arrived earlier than us had taken their squalling brats and gone to the ice-cream shop, or whatever.
If I had to complain -- and of course, I do -- the only things I can think of to criticize are the prices ($4.20 for a soft drink!), the cages which, in some places, made it very difficult to get halfway decent pictures (I don't know what they can do about that; probably nothing), and their nannyish no-smoking policy. I'm sorry, I understand the "danger" of second-hand smoke, but there are plenty of areas in the zoo where smokers can be set apart to eliminate entirely the grave risk we pose to others. Banning smoking outright in a wide-open area like that is morally (and probably legally) wrong. The only rational reason for it is that those people who are making the rules don't like to see it done, even from a distance, which puts them in the same class as people who object to gay guys holding hands on the street.
Afterwards, we went for dinner to a restaurant that my friend Rick saw featured on the Food Network, the Blue Water Fish Market and Grill. We got there just in time: the line was back to the door by the time our food arrived, and that's not counting the large party of elderly people from Houston who had reserved several tables in the patio; they just had one person go through the line to place all their orders.
Jeff had blackened mahi mahi on the salad, which he thought very highly of. He took about half of it home with him, but it didn't survive until the morning light. Nancy had the grilled shrimp plate with a garlic butter sauce that she says was really good. Sherry had a calamari sandwich, also "really good" -- I can't get these people to be more descriptive in their praise -- with a lemon butter marinade. I had two fish tacos, one with mahi mahi, which was a little on the bland side, and one with shrimp, which was excellent. They were served on corn tortillas, which seems normal to me, although everyone else's experience is that fish tacos are usually on flour. I don't really get them often enough to know, but I don't recall ever having one served on flour.
Back at the condo, we made reservations for our stay in Anaheim starting Thursday. It only took us an hour and a half to decide that the best deal was the one we had found after about 3 minutes on line.