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San Diego: Walks on Two Kinds of Wild Sides

February 6, 2013

We are pretty sure we are going to be one of those old couples that one day just walks off into the desert. Hopefully into a gloriously setting sun.

We love to walk somewhere. Anywhere. No earbuds in our ears - bring on the sounds of everything around us - traffic, jackhammers, horns, crying kids, tweeting of cell phones - or better yet, the pounding of ocean waves, the calling, chirping and tweeting of birds, the roll of thunder, the wind in the pines...

Not all walks are divine, but in San Diego, we took two swell ones.

First we did a 4 mile walk along the ocean to Mexico. I say to Mexico, not into Mexico; because, yes, there really is a wall on the border, out in the middle of nowhere (on the US side) running right into the ocean.

San Diego: Walks on Two Kinds of Wild Sides

Halfway into our trek along a “trash-filled1” beach, the border fence came into view with a stadium and the hills of Tijuana rising beyond. The wall, newly rebuilt, extends 300 feet into the ocean. Families used to meet up and picnic together through the older fence, but now the Border Patrol discourages visiting the fence and the beach has been allowed to become contaminated and the adjacent park is not longer maintained.

Having been appalled years ago when we leaned our government would be spending billions to build and maintain a barrier between the US and Mexico, I walked across the wet sand expecting an emotional uproar of negativity to stir within my soul. It didn’t happen.  Patrols in siren-topped government vehicles parked on giant berms above the barriers and watched, but no one interfered as we walked up to the fence.

Almost empty on our side, we could see families picnicking, soccer games, and surfers on the broad white beach beyond.

At the wall, we met a young couple taking photographs. We joined with them - shaking hands and posing for pictures with each other... smiling through the language and steel barriers.

San Diego: Walks on Two Kinds of Wild Sides

Our age may have shown, the Mexican couple were in shorts and she was wearing a tiny camisole, while we were in sweaters and windbreakers.

San Diego: Walks on Two Kinds of Wild Sides

The Next Day:
It was all about Otis

The San Diego Zoo It was an overcast, drizzly day when we set out to walk around the uncrowded San Diego Zoo. A zoo is a zoo we figured. You’ve got your basic lions and tigers and bears with an occasional elephant thrown in for charm.

However, The San Diego Zoo is more, much more. It is really a botanical garden with a remarkable zoo inside of it.

We ended up walking about four miles over hills, through valleys and amongst wild animals in a place that deserves all the accolades that come its way. Home to some of the rarest and cutest animals in the world, like the giant Pandas and Koala bears, it was the old standbys that we enjoyed  the most:

Best of all though, was Otis, the Mellow. Otis is a 36 year old Hippopotamus who hails from Africa. 

Otis enjoys herbivore pellets, alfalfa, Bermuda hay, and lettuce. But his biggest turn-on is melons.

And while he has never visited the Playboy Mansion, he feels he could really spark up activities in The Grotto.

We were totally unpreparedto be seduced by this apparently smiling guy, resting close-byunderwater in his glass-fronted river. For us it was our first interspecies love-at-first-sight!

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I want to know if Zebra's require a farrier to trim their feet if they are kept in captivity?


Kate - I spoke with Elaine, who works with the zebras at the San Diego Zoo. She said they run around enough on a special surface that they usually don?t need trimming. There hooves are checked as part of the ongoing health-watch and occasionally they will need a little shaping.

We're heading to LA and SD in 2 weeks so your update was so timely!! We too are heading to the World Famous SD Zoo (always been on my to do list!). Will also hit Lego land and Universal Studios while north in LA. Can't wait to get out of this god forsaken NY weather!! Four of the five of us were just laid out with the flu for over three weeks so I need fresh sunny air to feel degermed.

Anyway, always love the updates and hearing what and where you guys wander.......


How fortunate for you that you are able to walk that far. I can go 1/2 mile on good days before pain of arthritis gets to me.


Don - When we left New York City, we hadn?t owned a car for over 20 years. We just kept walking... I have some pretty gnarly digits, but no pain. If I go for a day or two without walking 2-4 miles, I get all bent and start to hobble. :>D

When John and I visited George and Doug when they were living in Rancho Mirage, we drove to the San Diego Zoo’s animal park and rode on the back of a pick-up truck into the middle of the combined exhibit. We hand-fed rhinos and giraffes and got a close-up look at other species. I don’t know if they’re still doing that (I think you had to become a member, and reserve in advance) but it was definitely a treat.


Jon, Lucky you! At $99 per person(behind the scenes), plus San Diego Zoo admission($44.), for two people, we felt we just couldn?t spend $286 for the two of us without a few cocktails and appetizers thrown in and served by Otis. Of course if Calli had been with us...

Loved your picturesque description of the San Diego Zoo--It's a place I have long wanted to visit, having heard so much about it!

Also so sad to see that horrible wall on the beach--what have we become? A fortress nation?

We need more friendly and open-to-embrace-the-world travelers like you two to help bring us to our senses!


Hey you two! Great piece, and so true! Aren't Hippos amazing? Saw my share when in Africa, and have some great pics (somewhere!)of them breathing...when all but the slightest part of their body is underwater! They send up this plume of spray when they exhale. You can see the plume, but that's all... Amen on the last walk into the desert, one great idea!

Keep up the great work, give Sully a pat for me.

Got out yesterday in the kayak on a beautiful day here, and watched a HUGE flock of Cormorants that I counted to 380 before giving up, my guess maybe 450. Trying to find mates. In the afternoon before leaving for the trees, they go into this washing routine that sends water shooting upward. From a distance, it looks like a fountain as everyone takes a turn. Beautiful!

Your friend and fan,


Bill - I used to love all the waterfowl on the lake...Your description of the cormorants was beautiful... your writing makes us miss Austin more than ever.

"Before you walk into the desert, call me to you...."


Actually, when I think about it, it is more like we will hobble into the desert. :)


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