Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Friday, May 29, 2020

California: San Diego Life During COVID

Our granddaughter on the sparsely populated beach at Coronado on a Thursday morning in late May.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost everyone in the entire world.  We've not known any of the tens of thousands of Americans who have died of the virus, and, as retirees, Jane and I fortunately don't have jobs to lose or hours to be reduced. So the impact on us has been relatively minor. We can't travel, hug our granddaughter and are afraid to enter restaurants as they reopen. We can have socially distanced visits with our granddaughter, one of which was recently at the Coronado beach.

There's a fellow who works in our San Diego apartment building who, when asked how things are, always responds "another day in paradise." He's from Chicago but his point of view isn't that skewed. San Diego is a good place to live, even during quarantines and lock downs. We can walk along the waterfront Embarcadero, get excellent pizza to enjoy at home, and from our terrace we can enjoy the relative quiet as airlines reduce flights to the nearby airport, as traffic jams disappear and even rail traffic gets lighter. With an hour's drive, we can be in the mountains of eastern San Diego County for hiking on trails in the Cleveland National Forest at Mount Laguna. For the first time since moving here in 2017 we're aware that a neighborhood church's bells chime the hours. And, we can go to nearby beaches, including those at Coronado, a city on the west side of San Diego's harbor, and at Del Mar, a horse racing town just north of the Torry Pines area.

Here are some snapshots from May 2020.

That's Interstate 5 cutting across the top of this photo. Before the pandemic, it was
always jammed with traffic. In this view from our apartment building, you can
see that our Little Italy neighborhood also has little traffic and for once plenty
of parking. This was taken before restaurants started reopening.

It's called "May Haze" here, overcast skies almost every morning. In this view from our building's
roof, you see the harbor without all the watercraft that normally zip across it all day. That's
the county building in the lower right. It's set up a "hut" for marriage licenses and ceremonies
so that the masked brides and the masked grooms don't have to enter the building.

Zoomtails, drinking with friends on a Zoom or Skype call,
is one way to battle the isolation of the pandemic.
A drive-through coronavirus testing station at UCSD's Hillcrest medical center. It's reassuring
to be in a state that is taking the pandemic seriously, though there's a lot of debate about
whether the state is too hasty or too slow in allowing businesses to reopen. 

Plans call for beaches to start letting people sit down on the sand in early June. In April, beaches
were simply closed to the public, but in May they were opened for walking, running, swimming
and surfing, but not for sandcastle-building and sunbathing,  This is the beach at Del Mar,
a town just north of Torry Pines. It's where Bill Gates recently bought a house for $43 million. 

The day we were at Del Mar, a Wednesday in late May, the waves were barely big enough
to propel a surfboard, but that doesn't keep people from trying.

The bridge carries the coastal road over an inlet. 

Most people at Del Mar were keeping their distance.

Beachfront homes at Del Mar. The beach, of course, is public.

A snowy egret at Del Mar. We also saw flocks of pelicans in flight,
but oddly no sea gulls or even pigeons. Maybe like most people they
can't afford to live in Del Mar.

This area connects the beach with a city street where we found free and convenient parking.

A Thursday morning at Coronado with my granddaughter and her glamorous mother. 

At the tide pools in front of the Del Coronado hotel.

Renovations at the famous Del Coronado hotel were planned well before the virus. 

The cruise ship Celebrity Millennium at anchor off Coronado. It, the Celebrity Equinox and the Disney Wonder,
all gigantic ships, have been alternating between being at anchor like this, and tying up at the cruise
terminal near our apartment.  They have no passengers but are still housing hundreds of mostly foreign
crew members who are not allowed to disembark in San Diego. The plan is for the cruise
industry to restart in July or August
Sand dollars at Coronado. When I was a kid visiting Gulf of Mexico beaches,
I was told that finding a sand dollar meant that you would return to that beach. 

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