Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Last Week of May 2009

Apologies for being sporadic of late. I'm a bug magnet and was visited by another flu virus last week. We had such a good time fraternizing that I wonder if I'll ever catch up with all the emails and comments (and the unfinished articles I need to submit at AssociatedContent and other sites). Time flies when you're having flu!
Tip of Harbor Island from Harbor Dr bridge
Anyhow, I did manage to go out and walk around the last few days... enjoying the best of what the locals here call 'May gray' (morning fog that doesn't get burned off until late in the day). It's great weather to be outside if you aren't so fond of the sun. Above is a view of the manmade Harbor Island and the San Diego Bay from the Harbor Drive bridge just north of Spanish Landing (where Cabrillo came ashore and claimed the area for Spain in 1542). The park there, with the narrow waterfront pedestrian path lined with benches and coral trees, is one of my favorite quiet haunts.

Of course, this sort of weather also means a lot of homeless migrants on the downtown streets. You can pass 5 or more in a short city block! I get on well with most of them, but it is still pretty uncomfortable not having any change to give... And perhaps you shouldn't give them coins anyhow. Most of these guys have been panhandling on these streets for many years now. This year their rank has really enjoyed a growth spurt (the economic collapse of late last year and earlier this year really put a lot of people on the streets... young and old!).

Most of them are good about not being 'in your face' about their panhandling. And there are a few that even seem apologetic about it. I ran into one when I ventured up to Balboa Park who actually told me that he'd rather be given a job than small changes. I wish that's true to most of the others, too....

Balboa Park is surely the favorite place of many local San Diegans. All the gardens, museums, hiking trails, the zoo, theaters, and other public spaces. The Spanish colonial revival structures of various degrees of authenticity (only a few original structures from the 1915 California-Panama Exposition are still standing... and many of those are just facade (with much newer building annexed onto them)) are easy on the eye and provide many serenely secluded spots to hide and people-watch from.


And here is a video/slide-show clip of my favorite views there and in Banker's Hill, the uptown community just east of the park. I guess I owe a lot of appreciation to Kate Sessions, the horticulturist who planted most of the trees and flowering plants you see around San Diego today (the local flora consisted of coastal sage shrubs and chaparrals and some smallish fire-resistant trees... and, of course, the Torrey pines).

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