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September 25, San Diego

    So, San Diego is the sixth largest city in the US and the second largest in California, with a population of over 1 million people. It is called a giant playground for both children and adults, and therefore is considered an ideal place for a vacation. It has an excellent climate with warm, sunny days when the Pacific breeze dispels the heat. Rains are rare, frosts never happen. And, most importantly, there is a huge variety of different attractions and interesting sights, and many of them are unique.

  We started the day with the most interesting thing - the SeaWord water park. It is also called the water analogue of Disneyland.


   SeaWord opens at 10:00 and before that time we have time to stop by the office of the AAA - American Automobile Association. We received an AAA membership card along with an international driver's license. By the way, a very useful thing. With this ticket, we got a whole set of beautiful road maps of California completely free of charge.
  Already by 10:00 we were at the SeaWord box office and, having paid $ 65 for each of the three tickets and received an illustrated map of the park and the schedule of attractions, we began to think about how we could embrace the immensity, because the territory of the park is huge (something about 55 hectares), and the number of attractions - a few dozen.
  We did it quite simply: at 12.30 the most interesting Show Shamu starts - the killer whale show, and the rest - what we have time - we watch BEFORE and AFTER this show.
  First we moved to the Wild Artic Interaction pavilion. A decent queue has already lined up here, but after a few minutes we enter a small hall.

  Here we are faced with a typical organization of American attractions.
  In the hall, dots (sometimes stars) are clearly drawn on the floor, the manager encourages visitors to take (stand on) free points. When all or most of the points are occupied, many doors are opened, each of which is located opposite a certain row of points. Visitors enter the main hall and take seats in a row where the number of seats is exactly equal to the number of those points. As they say, simply, without noise and dust!
  The attraction itself is very impressive! You are tied to a chair, as if in an airplane, as if in a helicopter cockpit. In front of you is a huge panoramic screen.
  The command is on the radio: fasten your seat belts and prepare for takeoff. There is a characteristic whistling roar of spinning helicopter blades, your seat and everything around you begin to vibrate and in a moment you are literally breathtaking from the feeling of flying. Here the helicopter soars up sharply and rushes over the endless snowy expanses of the Arctic. Here is a flock of polar bears. And here you are flying over the Arctic station and the people below are waving their hands at you. Suddenly your helicopter plummets down, impact! And you are carried along the icy slope. Another hit! The helicopter breaks through the ice and ... turns into a submarine and you contemplate the underwater (under-ice) kingdom. Again, a rapid leap upward and the helicopter breaks out of the ice captivity. A few more circles over the ice hummocks and we are going to land.

  We leave the "helicopter" and find ourselves in the ice corridors of the Arctic scientific station, everywhere there are racks with equipment and various devices for research and life in the ice of the Arctic.
  We go down the corridor and suddenly we come across a huge white whale - a beluga whale, cutting through the ice hole behind the glass.


    And here is the polar bear. He, too, behind the glass, very close. And then another one, fiddling with a box, in which, probably, something edible.


   Exit Wild Artic Interaction and go to the next Penguin Encounter pavilion, stand on a moving path that stretches along a glass partition. On the other side of the glass there is a piece of the Arctic and a penguin rookery, and you, like in a cartoon, are watching pictures from their life. Here is a big penguin daddy, a plump fat mother penguin waddles next to him. And there the naughty little penguins spread their wings and plop into the water.


   But it's time to move on to Show Shamu. It's on the other side of the park. Along the way, we have time to admire pink flamingos, sea lions, and dolphins.


   And here is the round Shamu Stadium. There is still half an hour before the performance, but we need to have time to take better and higher seats. In front of the entrance there is a shield with a warning that in the first six rows there is a high probability of falling under the splashes or even minitsunamis of the killer whales that have played out.


   Let me give you a brief encyclopedic reference about this unique creature. So, a killer whale (namely a killer whale, because a killer whale is a species of swallow) is an aquatic mammal of the dolphin family. The killer whale got its English name killer whale because of its reputation as a dangerous predator. Killer whales differ from other dolphins in a contrasting black and white color: the back and sides are black, the throat is white, and there is a white longitudinal stripe on the belly. The dimensions of killer whales are impressive: males - length 9-10 meters, weight - up to 7.5 tons, females - length up to 7 meters, weight - up to 4 tons. By the way, after the trip I watched a program on TV, where the exact weight of one killer whale from Show Shamu was called - 3865 kg.
  5 killer whales and 5 trainers participate in the show, incl. 2 girls, each trainer works with one killer whale. The motto is Believe. trust. Create (Believe, Trust, Create). Duration - 25 minutes. During the show, killer whales rush around the huge pool with glass sides at a tremendous speed - 30 km per hour. Sometimes with a trainer on the back or on the nose. They rotate around their axis, and the coach, standing on his back, runs in place. Vertical jumps from the water are impressive - the huge black and white body of the killer whale completely leaves the water, freezes for a moment and, with a fountain of powerful splashes, again goes under the water. A special effect is jumping with a trainer who either hugs the killer whale's nose, or - this is aerobatics! - stands on it. Synchronized jumps of several killer whales are very spectacular. It is beautiful when a killer whale is thrown onto the platform and rotates around its axis with a two-bladed tail bent upwards. The little dirty tricks of killer whales are taken very cheerfully: with their powerful tail they begin to splash water into the audience. In all these exercises, the coherence and mutual trust between trainers and animals is striking. At the end of the show, killer whales applaud the audience with flippers.
    Leaving Shamu Statium, we thought that we had already seen the most interesting thing in SeaWord, and decided to go to Balboa Park.
   This park is more densely packed with cultural attractions than anywhere else in California. In addition to the world famous Zoo, there are about 20 museums alone, as well as an arts and crafts market. We didn't go to the Zoo - that's enough for us today. We wanted to take a break from the hustle and bustle. The ideal place for this is Japanese Friendship Garden - Japanese Garden of Friendship. We walked along the winding paths in the shade and cool, rested in a tea house.


    We began to decide where to move on. At first, they set out to see a museum, then they lined up in a row. But then we decided to see something else interesting from the planned and, once again glancing at the map of San Diego, we moved towards the Coronado Peninsula.

  Coronado is almost an island and is connected to the mainland by a long and narrow strip of sand called the Silver Strand. Until 1969, the only way to get here was by ferry or a long car ride. But after the construction of the San-Diego Coronado Bridge - from the city center you can get here in a matter of minutes. So we did not fail to drive along this unique engineering structure 3.5 km long, which curved at a height of more than 60 m and makes a turn of almost 90 degrees over San Diego Bay.

  Coronado has the atmosphere of another era, it looks like a fairy-tale village.

  The main attraction is the Hotel del Coronado, one of the world's famous hotels, built in 1888. It is one of the few "living" examples of American Victorian wooden architecture. In addition, it was one of the first hotels in the world with all-electric lighting. Thomas Edison himself personally oversaw the installation of electrical wiring.

  Numerous celebrities have stayed here, incl. 16 American presidents, including the current Barack Obama. In 1977 the hotel became a National Historic Landmark.

  A significant share in the popularity of the hotel was also made by the fact that it served as a film set for several dozen films of Hollywood film studios. The most famous film "Some like it hot" with the legendary Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the lead roles. In the Russian box office, this film was called "Only Girls in Jazz".

  So we recognized the hotel from far away by the characteristic outlines of the main building - a kind of red and white cone-shaped tower, which was remembered precisely from the film "Only Girls in Jazz". It was very interesting to wander around the hotel, remember the scenes from the film and try them on, so to speak, on the ground.


    At the end of this day, we visited another wonderful place - La Jolla. By ear, we heard three variants of the pronunciation of this name - La Jola, La Jolla, most often (in the Spanish manner) - La Hoya.

  In order to get here from Coronado, we had to take a freeway, cross the whole of San Diego and go to its northern outskirts, but in time it took no more than 20 minutes.

  La Jolla is a charming place famous for its picturesque steep banks with idyllic beaches. One of the beaches, which stretches in a narrow strip along the Coast Boulevard, is very popular with deep-sea divers. There are many underwater caves.

  We are not divers, but we watched with interest as a large group of deep-sea divers put on special suits and went underwater for a long time.

  It was also interesting to wander through the winding streets that do not fit into the usual American chessboard-like topography we have already noticed in the center of San Diego.

  So, in one day we saw quite a lot in San Diego, but very little compared to what else can be seen. Let's leave it for next time.

 Los Angeles is waiting for us tomorrow.

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