Neighborhood restaurant mural: Better is Possible.

The East Village restaurant Neighborhood closed for renovations earlier this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have yet to reopen.

I walked past their boarded-up windows this afternoon and saw a mural had been painted on them. After a little searching on the internet, I see that artists Joshua and Ezra Andrade created the artwork last month.

Positive messages in the mural, which includes images of fighting, a knife and brass knuckles, include Ego is not Your Amigo, Better is Possible, Regulate Impulses, and Hood Must be Born Again!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

More street art on San Ysidro Boulevard!

I’ve photographed more great street art!

Last year in December I walked around San Ysidro and took photos of street art near the Mexican border. See those images by clicking here.

During a walk in the same area this morning I headed farther up San Ysidro Boulevard and found even more colorful art. All of the following photos were taken between Willow Road and Cottonwood Road.

Except for the very first photo above! That fun artwork was painted some time after my earlier walk. It’s beside the Burger King near the intersection of San Ysidro Boulevard and Camino de la Plaza.

These images capture the life and spirit of San Diego’s bustling border community!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Walking east along the Sweetwater River.

A couple weekends ago I walked a very short segment of the Sweetwater River Bikeway, from Hoover Avenue west to the Pier 32 Marina. You can revisit those photos here.

Today I returned to the Sweetwater River and walked east along the bikeway from Hoover Avenue all the way to Plaza Bonita.

I was struck by the contrasts.

The rocky-sided river channel, as seen looking down from Interstate 5, appears almost barren, but when you walk along the bike path you notice many plants among the broken rocks, and the ones that are deep-rooted were very green in the summer sunlight.

During the day bicyclists and runners passed me by as I slowly walked, and the nearby busy westbound lanes of U.S. Route 54 sometimes came into view. But late at night, the scene is obviously very different. There was graffiti which increased as I progressed east to Interstate 805. There was trash and frequent evidence of homelessness. As I came into the vicinity of Interstate 805, I passed several active homeless encampments. And the graffiti spoke of gang activity, with references to drugs and death.

But as I headed east, the river also became more alive. A marshy wetland appeared with discarded shopping carts and happily paddling ducks. Trees began to flourish along the banks, and eventually grew so thick they concealed a river full of reeds and lush greenery.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A handful of problematic photos!

I didn’t know what to do with these photos!

They were taken all over San Diego–some recently, some years ago.

This evening I’m purging hundreds of old files from my computer. And I thought it would be a shame to not share these!

So now, for your viewing pleasure, in completely random order, I present this handful of problematic photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A strange mixture of sights downtown.

Go on any walk through downtown San Diego and you’ll see a strange mixture of sights. Sometimes you have to stop in your tracks to look again.

Many of the visions that rise before your eyes seem contradictory. Urban hipsters drinking coffee and listening to live music . . . a few steps away from people who are homeless. The boarded window of a looted Gaslamp shop . . . and spray painted messages of empathy and kindness.

And there are the sights that are wonderfully odd. Downtown’s reggae dog. A surprising tree in a surprising place. An insurance company for sharknados.

So much strangeness is mixed in the ordinary life of a city.

The mysteries appear everywhere.

I took these photographs during several walks the past few days.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Another colorful walk down Tenth Avenue.

One morning last week, I went on a walk through San Diego’s East Village. I headed south along Tenth Avenue from A Street to Petco Park.

I simply took photos of anything that delighted my eye. I believe all these sights are new to my blog, with the exception of the one above. I remember taking pictures of that fantastic tile mosaic years ago, but not up close.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amish in San Diego, postcards, and Mexico.

I learned something interesting yesterday.

I was downtown inside the Santa Fe Depot, waiting at the train station’s kiosk for my microwaved chicken burrito, when I noticed a stand containing postcards. I wondered, in this digital age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, where anyone can instantly post photos to social media, who would buy postcards? I asked and received a surprising reply. Amish tourists love postcards!

Which makes sense. The Amish tend to live much more simple lives, remaining largely “in the past” and shunning many of the conveniences of modern technology. And it seems to me that in some respects this might be wise. Less distraction. More eye to eye human contact.

I’ve often wondered why I sometimes see Amish folk walking around downtown San Diego, gazing about in wonder at the tall buildings and hustle and bustle around them. It seems a very odd place for these people to be. One thinks of the Amish driving pony carts in the rural Midwest or Northeast, not walking about urban California in the extreme southwestern corner of the United States.

I was told by my friend at the kiosk that the Amish come to San Diego to seek medical treatments in Mexico. I did an internet search and found this page with some explanation.

I asked my friend what Amish “tourists” were like. He explained they tend to be very quiet, but if you initiate a conversation they are surprisingly friendly and open, and in many respects much like you or me.

Next time I see these plain-dressed folk walking about, I think I’ll smile and say hello.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gaslamp restaurants make a comeback!

Restaurants in the Gaslamp have set up outdoor patios right into Fifth Avenue.
Restaurants in the Gaslamp have set up outdoor patios right into Fifth Avenue.

Many restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter are making a slow but steady comeback during the coronavirus pandemic. When I walk up Fifth Avenue every weekend, I notice that more and more tables are out on sidewalks and the street, and that more and more diners are filling them!

San Diego’s city leaders have taken extraordinary steps to mitigate an extraordinary problem. Dining indoors is not permitted in California, because indoor settings are where most people become infected with COVID-19. So eateries around town have been given permission to move their dining rooms outdoors!

In the Gaslamp Quarter, the extended patios of restaurants go right out into Fifth Avenue. It’s a concept that is growing, and the people I’ve spoken to say diners really enjoy the unique experience!

Gaslamp Quarter banners show workers at eateries pledging to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gaslamp Quarter banners show workers at eateries pledging to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
El Chingon always seems a popular destination in the Gaslamp.
El Chingon always seems a popular destination in the Gaslamp.
Outdoor tables throughout the Gaslamp were filling up this Saturday mid-afternoon.
Outdoor tables throughout the Gaslamp were filling up this Saturday mid-afternoon.
Sevilla was just beginning to set up their outdoor patio as I walked by.
Cafe Sevilla was just beginning to set up their outdoor patio as I walked by in the mid-afternoon.
The hostess at The Butcher's Cut Steakhouse greeted me with smiling eyes. I had already gotten some takeout for dinner down the street.
The hostess at The Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse greeted me with smiling eyes. I had already gotten some takeout for dinner down the street.
Diners enjoy the unique outdoor ambiance of the historic heart of San Diego!
Diners enjoy the unique outdoor ambiance of the historic heart of San Diego!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Interesting sights as I walked to the trolley.

The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark no. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.
The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.

Early this morning I photographed a variety of interesting things as I walked west from Cortez Hill to the Little Italy trolley station.

An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.
An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.
Bougainvillea against a wall.
Bougainvillea against a wall.
Another person on another journey.
Another person on another journey.
We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.
We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.
The Circus Girl in another window.
The Circus Girl in another window.
The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.
The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.
Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.
Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.
Half-covered smiles.
Half-covered smiles.
Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.
Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.
A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.
A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A tale of two San Diegos.

Many of these photos aren’t cool. But they represent reality.

There is a tale of two San Diegos that can be read every day.

One San Diego is optimistic. The other is bleak.

We are all participants in this tale of two San Diegos.

The story is complex and heart-breaking, and has uncounted pages.

There are many ways to help San Diego’s homeless. If that’s something you’d like to do, click here.