A bit of an admin day to start – I made the most of the free breakfast at the hostel, then went to the gym, then had a haircut. It’s nice to have my hair cut by someone that speaks English.
After that I headed to San Diego Old Town. It’s a reserve and a bit touristy but I’m sick of authentic travel experiences! Touristy is great! First I went to the Mormon Battalion museum. It had some good reviews on Tripadvisor so I had a look. It’s about the Mormons’ trip west to California. They start with a video about the battalion, then you go on a guided tour. The exhibits are very modern, and you go through a series of rooms made to look like different stops on the journey West. They have videos projected on to screens – some are a bit disguised like sides of tents, and some are timed so that the guides interact with them, like a TV screen in a window. It’s very good. At the end they have some artefacts
and you can have an old-timey photo taken.
Then they try to convert you!
“Would you like to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints?”
“Would you like to receive a Book of Mormon?”
“Would you be willing to have a representative visit you at your home or place of business?”
Outside they have fun activities for children, like brick making, using a washboard and gold panning.
Up the road a bit are some 19th century houses.
Next I went to the official Old Town. It’s a tourist trap, but I found it quite nice.
Some of the shops sell touristy crap, and some are more specialised – soap, candles, sweets.
The paper doll selection was extremely comprehensive – glamourous film stars of the 1940s, high fashion of the 1960s, or The American Family of the 1980s?!
I caught a tram back to town and then a bus to Balboa Park for the Christmas Festival. Everyone else was also heading tot he festival so it took 1hr to move about a mile. They had a lot of ethnic food stalls set up, a large Christmas tree, and a section of stalls showing random things – radio stations, CPR courses, solar water heating, and Robitussin. The museums were all open for free so I went in to Mingei International. It’s a folk art museum. The bottom floor was about Californian 20th century design.
Balboa Park has a large village with a random selection of countries represented.
It seemed very 1970s. They were all serving food and the queues were very long. I went to one selling funnel cakes – a Pennsylvania Dutch thing.
Then I went to the Air and Space museum.
Most of the displays were a bit dusty – a bit like the Smithsonian.