Chaldean Family Christmas in Balboa Park.

Today during my walk through Balboa Park I stumbled upon a special holiday event in the Hall of Nations. Families were celebrating a Chaldean Family Christmas with traditional music, dancers in folk dress, tables overflowing with food, lots of smiles and the arrival of Santa Claus!

The Chaldean Family Christmas–From Babylon to Balboa–was brought to life by the Chaldean American Family Foundation, an organization that aids the local Chaldean community.

I took a few photos of the festive event. That above first photograph was framed perfectly, but came out much too blurry. So I ran it through GIMP’s oilify filter. The joyful image really captures the Christmas spirit.

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!

Mosaic at God’s Extended Hand building.

There’s an elaborate, quite beautiful tile mosaic mural outside the old God’s Extended Hand building in San Diego’s East Village. You can see it at the corner of 16th Street and Island Avenue.

The colorful mural is overflowing with compassionate messages and religious imagery, including Christ as a shepherd carrying a lamb.

The God’s Extended Hand ministry endured for 96 years, feeding the homeless and hungry, until it closed down a few months ago. Father Joe’s Villages will be redeveloping the site, creating more affordable housing and support for the homeless downtown. I don’t know whether these mosaics will be preserved.

I walked past part of the artwork this morning and took these photos. I only photographed the wall along 16th Street. Some people camped on the sidewalk were by the other wall on Island Avenue.

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!

Big gathering of Azteca dancers in Chicano Park!

A group of about a hundred Danza Azteca-Chichimeca dancers filled Chicano Park today with life and color and tradition and joy!

To the rhythmic beat of drums, strummed lutes and rattled gourds, families danced within and around Chicano Park’s central gazebo, or Kiosko.

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mexican Concheros ceremony and dance, other than it’s a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian symbols and rituals. You can learn more here.

Additional elements in today’s dance I believe come from San Diego’s local Native American Kumeyaay culture–including the blessing of participants with white sage smoke, which purifies minds and hearts. Please write a comment if I need correction.

I do know that the energy of the performers and the spirit that emanated from their dance was uplifting. Even as I kept a respectful distance, the infectious beat made me want to dance, too! Perhaps because a human heartbeat is a thing we all have in common.

I hope these photos do justice to what those watching and listening experienced.

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!

An unusual Old Master mural in Normal Heights!

An unusual mural was painted in Normal Heights this year. It can be viewed on Adams Avenue, in a nook where this Prince mural used to be, and across from this Kobe Bryant mural. It was painted by local street artists Hasler and Shark, who also created the nearby Kobe Bryant artwork.

I say this mural is unusual, because street art is usually more like graffiti or contemporary artwork–abstract, extremely bold, and with a typically rebellious vibe. One doesn’t expect to see the recreation of a traditional Old Master painting.

The image that dominates this mural is of Italian artist Caravaggio‘s religious painting Saint Jerome Writing, 1605–1606. Words spray painted in the background are the Caravaggio quote: “All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing better than to follow nature.”

Caravaggio usually painted realistic human forms, with dramatic lighting that emphasized emotion. His very popular work would influence other famous Old Masters like Peter Paul Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Rembrandt.

I wonder what Caravaggio would think if he visited San Diego today and looked around. Probably that he’d been transported to an alien world!

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Two amazing Buddhist temples in City Heights.

Last Sunday, during my walk in City Heights, I admired the exteriors of two amazing buildings near the corner of 52nd Street and Rex Avenue, one block south of University Avenue.

As far as I understand it, both beautiful buildings are Buddhist temples, and together they are called Wat Sovannkiry, Cambodian Buddhist Society San Diego. The head monk of Wat Sovannkiry is Reverend Father Khian Prom Attaguto of Cambodia, Abbot of Wat Suwan Khiri, San Diego.

I’ve tried to ascertain more information concerning Wat Sovannkiry, but there is almost nothing online, and not all of what I read, including names and spelling, is consistent. I didn’t venture into either temple building because I didn’t want to intrude. But I did take photographs of the highly ornate exteriors.

Hidden San Diego has an article about Cambodian and Laotian temple Wat Sovannkiri which you can read here.

My first photographs are of the truly amazing building on the east side of 52nd Street…

The following photographs, also taken from the sidewalk, are of the second building, which is located just west of 52nd Street on Rex Avenue…

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Photos of historic St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in National City is one of the historic churches I paused to look at during my most recent walk around South Bay.

I was taken by how uniquely handsome this church appears. To my eyes, its unusual fusion of Gothic Revival and Tudor architecture is simultaneously elegant and welcoming.

According to Wikipedia: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church …was built in 1887. It was designed by Chula Vista architect William Herman…inspired by a picture of a small church in the south of England…An Episcopal Society for National City was formed on January 30, 1882; the secretary was Frank Kimball, founder of National City.

In the late 19th century ambitious builder Frank Kimball hoped to make National City the western terminus of a transcontinental railroad. If you’d like to learn much more about his efforts and National City’s early history, you can check out a more detailed old blog post here.

I walked around the church and took some photos that you might enjoy…

The above sign near the church’s entrance reads:

National City Historic Site

St. MATTHEWS EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Built on land originally set aside for a church by the Kimball brothers, but the gift of Elizur Steele. First services held July 3, 1887. Timbers were brought around the Horn. Construction is of California Redwood.

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Photos outside the old Nestor Methodist Church.

This weekend I passed by a couple of old churches in San Diego’s South Bay.

I was walking along Coronado Avenue, just west of Interstate 5, when I saw a white church with an old-fashioned steeple up a low hill. My feet turned toward it for a closer look.

What I discovered was the Nestor United Methodist Church, built in 1896. A friendly gentleman who I believe might belong to the church showed me the building’s brick cornerstone, which I photographed.

Nestor is a community that lies between Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa West. I tried to do a little internet searching to find out more about this historic church, and came upon this South Bay Historical Society Bulletin from 2016, which states:

1896 – Nestor United Methodist Church at Coronado and Hollister was built on land donated by Captain John Folks. The first Methodist organization in the South Bay area was the Tia Juana Valley Methodist Sunday School in Oneonta, beginning in 1888.

Services were conducted in the upstairs room of the Oneonta School. The cornerstone of the present structure at 1120 22nd Street was laid on July 23, 1896. The National City and Otay Railway ran special trains to the ceremony from 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!

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Map of the Interplanetary Confederation in El Cajon!

Perhaps you remember a past blog post where I shared photos of a UFO mural outside the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon. Or another post that included a photo of a large flying saucer on the roof of an unusual automobile that I spotted in Coronado.

Well, during my weekend walk through El Cajon, I paused outside the Unarius New World Teaching Center to read various displays in their windows.

The first thing that caught my attention was their Map of the Interplanetary Confederation, with its 33 planets that form a spiraling vortex emanating from a spiritual sun. And how in 1973 Uriel contacted the leaders of these planets, learning of their Master Plan.

Another display concerned the lost civilization of Atlantis, and the coming arrival of the Space Brothers, advanced scientists who will teach humankind interdimensional physics.

Fascinating, to say the least!

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!

Mother Teresa mural expresses unconditional love.

A beautiful mural depicting Mother Teresa expresses the potency of unconditional love.

Roman Catholic nun and missionary Saint Teresa of Calcutta stands in a field of grain and flowers holding a small orphaned child. White doves raise a banner containing the words: “Saint Mother Teresa never judged people, she took more time to love them.”

Indeed, Mother Teresa and her sisters devoted themselves to loving and aiding the poorest of the poor, providing comfort for those suffering with leprosy, AIDS and other awful diseases, caring for those who lived in hopeless situations of homelessness and extreme hunger.

She loved those whom others would not love.

Would any of us do that?

This gentle but extremely powerful mural was painted in San Diego, California, in the Memorial neighborhood of Logan Heights. You can find it in an alley off 30th Street, north of Franklin Avenue.

The mural was painted recently by the artists of Arte Atolondrada. To visit their website, click here!

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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Historical plaque near Paradise Valley Hospital.

There’s a mysterious bronze plaque in National City near Paradise Valley Hospital.

You can see it on Euclid Avenue, north of 8th Street, right next to a bus stop and hospital sign. The archway to long-vanished Paradise Valley Sanitarium also stands nearby.

There’s no visible indication of who placed the plaque, or when. Just these words in bronze:

SITE OF ORIGINAL WELL

FAITH AND PRAYER WERE REWARDED IN
NOVEMBER 1904, FOR AT THIS SITE GOD
GAVE OUR PIONEERS WATER. MRS. ELLEN
G. WHITE IN REVEALING WHAT GOD HAD
SHOWN HER SAID, “IT MAY NOT BE AT THIS
SPOT, IT MAY BE SOMEWHERE ELSE ON THIS
ESTATE, BUT THERE IS PLENTY OF WATER
SOMEWHERE.” TO THIS DAY, THE SUPPLY HAS
NOT FAILED. OUR PRESENT WELL TAPS THE
SAME CHANNEL, BUT BECAUSE OF DRAINAGE
PROBLEMS IT IS ON A HIGHER LEVEL
APPROXIMATELY 700 YARDS EAST.

A little research indicates that the Ellen G. White mentioned was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

According to Wikipedia: In 1883, Dr. Anna L. Potts started construction of Mount Paradise Sanitarium seven miles from San Diego. The thirty room sanitarium was finished in 1887. But in 1895, lacking water and patients, Dr. Potts closed Potts Sanitarium…in 1900, Ellen G. White…repeatedly received strong impressions from God that the region was a good location for a sanitarium and hospital. During Mrs. White’s visit to San Diego in 1902, Paradise Sanitarium was for sale for $11,000. Real estate prices slowly declined as the drought continued…later Mrs. White and a wealthy friend, Mrs. Josephine Gotzain, bought it for $4,000. There still was no water, so Ellen White hired a well digger and water was found at 98 feet…

More history concerning Paradise Valley Sanitarium–which became a world-famous health resort, and which was eventually replaced by Paradise Valley Hospital–can be found on this page!

(As you can see in my above photograph, somebody tried to cover up the plaque’s text with black paint or ink.)

No copyright image of Paradise Valley Sanitarium from adventistdigitallibrary.org

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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