Little Saigon mural and colorful street art!

Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of Sin Lee Food Whole Sale on El Cajon Boulevard.
Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of the Sin Lee Food Whole Sale building.

Enjoy these photographs of colorful street art along El Cajon Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Euclid Avenue, the heart of an area in San Diego known as Little Saigon!

I made certain to photograph the 2018 postcard-style Little Saigon mural, which was painted by artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs during their extensive Greetings Tour.

(Two other cool Greetings Tour murals can be enjoyed in San Diego. One at Liberty Station here, and one in North Park here!)

Come with me and let’s walk through Little Saigon to see some street art!

An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.
An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.

I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
Many diverse languages are spoken here.
Sign in front of a market in Little Saigon. Many languages are spoken here.

I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the artwork has been faded by time and weather.
I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the painted artwork has been faded by time and weather.

Banners, lamp posts and architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego's Little Saigon.
Banners, lamp posts, and even some examples of architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego’s Little Saigon.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam's national flower.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.

The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.
The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Little Saigon Stories in North Park windows.

...You are the bright pearly moon at night...Thousands of distant stars Am I...
…You are the bright pearly moon at night…Thousands of distant stars Am I…

Little Saigon Stories can be glimpsed in the windows of a North Park building, at the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.

A project of Media Arts Center and The AjA Project, Little Saigon Stories celebrates and recounts the history of the Vietnamese community in East San Diego. Various events were held in 2019, including lectures and the creation of public art recounting the stories of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants.

The area called Little Saigon is generally located along El Cajon Boulevard, in the neighborhood of Euclid Avenue.

Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Despite living here for so long, I've actually never gone back to Vietnam...
Despite living here for so long, I’ve actually never gone back to Vietnam…

I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese...
I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese…

I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship...I sponsored my son to come here...Now he has a child...
I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship…I sponsored my son to come here…Now he has a child…

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of past Lunar New Year celebrations!

Over the years I’ve enjoyed watching many celebrations of the Lunar New Year.

My camera has captured Chinese New Year events in the Asian Thematic District in downtown San Diego, and in Balboa Park. I’ve attended large Tết Festivals at SDCCU (then named Qualcomm) Stadium and Mira Mesa Community Park.

The Year of the Rat begins this Saturday. Those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be optimistic and energetic! Prosperous, too!

I do know that past celebrations I’ve enjoyed are full of color, life, smiles and optimism.

Want to have a glimpse of past Lunar New Year celebrations around San Diego?

Enjoy some photos by clicking these links:

Lion dances and fun in downtown San Diego! (Asian Thematic District in 2016)

A fun Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park! (Balboa Park in 2018)

More photos of the Chinese New Year Festival! (Balboa Park in 2019, from my special website Beautiful Balboa Park)

Photos of Chinese New Year celebration in Balboa Park. (Balboa Park in 2016)

San Diego’s 2015 Lunar New Year Tết Festival. (Qualcomm Stadium in 2015)

Colorful photos of San Diego Tet Festival. (Mira Mesa in 2017)

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Museum displays helicopter that ended Vietnam War.

This Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter in San Diego is an object of great historical importance.
This particular Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter in San Diego is an object of great historical importance.

Many regard the evacuation of the United States Ambassador from Saigon as the end of the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, as ordered by President Gerald Ford, Ambassador Graham Martin was airlifted from the rooftop of the American Embassy. He had stepped aboard a Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09, flown by pilot Captain Gerry Berry.

Today the public can view Lady Ace 09 at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.

While the Ambassador’s evacuation from the Embassy has provided a visual symbol of America’s departure from South Vietnam, the reality was a bit more chaotic. When Lady Ace 09 transmitted “Tiger is out,” indicating the Ambassador had been retrieved, other helicopter crews involved in the evacuation mistakenly thought the mission was completed. But Marine Security Guards on the Embassy’s rooftop would be lifted to safety hours later. Shortly thereafter, Communist forces would raise the Viet Cong flag over Saigon’s Presidential Palace.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. In addition to Lady Ace 09, over two dozen aircraft that have been flown by the United States Marines are on display. Admission is free.

The museum wants to expand. You can help! Learn more here.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego contains many aircraft that have been used during the history of the United States Marine Corps.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego contains many aircraft that have been used during the history of the United States Marine Corps.
At the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, the public can see the helicopter that evacuated the U.S. Ambassador from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
At the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, the public can see the actual helicopter that evacuated the U.S. Ambassador from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
Operation Frequent Wind, 29-30 April 1975, call sign Lady Ace 09. This Sea Knight helicopter evacuated Ambassador Graham Martin from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam.
Operation Frequent Wind, 29-30 April 1975, call sign Lady Ace 09. This Sea Knight helicopter evacuated Ambassador Graham Martin from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam. (Click photo to expand.)
A look at the rear of the historic helicopter that transported U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin to the safety of USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) standing by in the South China Sea.
A look at the rear of the historic helicopter that transported U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin to the safety of USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) standing by in the South China Sea.
The fuselage of Sea Knight troop transport helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09.
The fuselage of Sea Knight troop transport helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09.
At 04:58 Ambassador Martin boarded Lady Ace 09 on the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon. The message Tiger is out was transmitted, signaling the departure of the U.S. Ambassador.
At 04:58 Ambassador Martin boarded Lady Ace 09 on the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon. The message “Tiger is out” was transmitted, signaling the departure of the U.S. Ambassador.
The nose of Lady Ace 09, which today is on display at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
The nose of Lady Ace 09, which today is on display at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
Inside the the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, visitors can see one section devoted to USMC aviators and aircraft that participated in the Vietnam War.
Inside the the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, visitors can see one section devoted to USMC aviators and aircraft that participated in the Vietnam War.
One exhibit includes a map of Laos, Cambodia, and North and South Vietnam during the war.
One museum display case includes a map of Laos, Cambodia, and North and South Vietnam during the war.
Photos of Marine helicopter operations during the Vietnam War.
Photos of Marine helicopter operations during the Vietnam War.
Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight, call sign Lady Ace 09, the helicopter whose historic mission is often regarded as the conclusion of the Vietnam War.
Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight, call sign Lady Ace 09, the helicopter whose historic flight is often regarded as the conclusion of the Vietnam War.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands of interesting photos for you to check out!

Memorial Day at The Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

Vietnamese Community of San Diego wreath stands in front of the San Diego Peace Memorial.
Vietnamese Community of San Diego wreath stands by Peace Memorial.

Today I attended two Memorial Day ceremonies.

First, in the morning, I walked up to Balboa Park.  There I joined others in remembering those who’d lost their lives in a terrible war. An emotional ceremony was held at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, which is located right next to The Veterans Museum. Special attention was given during this event to those who died serving their country during the Vietnam War.

Please forgive me. When I arrived I was in a quiet mood. I stood off to the side mostly, took no notes, snapped a photo now and then. I mostly just absorbed the speeches, the music, the flowers, so many names on bronze plaques and proud salutes by veterans in attendance. I felt a bit shy and didn’t grab a program. I regret that now. I forget the names of the speakers, and the lady who sang so beautifully.

Members of Vietnam Veterans of America, 472, were present. Before the morning program commenced, they had read names of the fallen–the Calling of the Names.

Many from the local Vietnamese community also attended. Some among them had fought in the war.

I remember that the keynote speech was very clear and very powerful. It was about service, and courage, and liberty, and friendship, and pain, and sacrifice, and history. It acknowledged the horror of war. Those who fought would rather have been at home in peace. All gave some; some gave all.

Those whose names are eternally engraved on the Peace Memorial have earned the gratitude of many.

Here are a few photos.

Flags are presented.
Flags are readied.
Salutes.
Salutes.
A dignified program commences. The Vietnam War is remembered, and those who fell during the conflict are honored.
A dignified program commences. The Vietnam War is remembered, and those who fell during the conflict are honored.
Speeches recall the harsh realities of war, and the democratic ideals many fought to defend.
Speeches recall the harsh realities of war, and the democratic ideals many fought to defend.
All quietly listen, some remember.
All quietly listen, some remember.
Joyful, triumphant singing. America the Beautiful.
Joyful, triumphant singing. America the Beautiful.
Love for country. Young and old salute.
Love for country. Young and old salute.
A folded flag above the plaque marking the Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial in Balboa Park.
A folded flag above the plaque marking the Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial in Balboa Park.
Names of San Diegans who were killed or designated missing in action during the Vietnam War fill half a dozen bronze plaques.
Names of San Diegans who were killed or designated missing in action during the Vietnam War fill half a dozen bronze plaques.
Flags, flowers and photos. A loved family member.
Flags, flowers and photos. A loved family member.
On March 7, 1971, at the age of 21, David Jesus Naranjo perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Nam.
On March 7, 1971, at the age of 21, David Jesus Naranjo perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Nam.

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!

Colorful photos of San Diego Tet Festival.

Colorful lion heads in a row. It's the Year of the Rooster and many throughout the world are celebrating!
Colorful lion heads in a row. It’s the Year of the Rooster and many throughout the world are celebrating!

I enjoyed strolling around the San Diego Tet Festival today. I arrived a few minutes after the annual free festival, held at Mira Mesa Community Park, opened its gate. People were slowly streaming in, and everyone was happy. It’s the Year of the Rooster!

Here are some colorful photos…

Visitors enter the San Diego Tet Festival as it opens late Sunday morning.
Visitors enter the San Diego Tet Festival as it opens late Sunday morning.
A free annual celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, takes place at Mira Mesa Community Park.
A free annual celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, takes place at Mira Mesa Community Park.
A dragon near the festival entrance.
A dragon near the festival entrance.
Many booths in the park had all sorts of gleaming goods for sale.
Many booths in the park had all sorts of glittering goods for sale.
A representation of the Hoàn Kiếm Lake Turtle Tower.
A representation of the Hoàn Kiếm Lake Turtle Tower.
Model of a small fishing boat used by 69 people to flee the Vietnamese communist regime.
Model of a small fishing boat used by 69 people to flee the Vietnamese communist regime.
History of the Escape Boat. Fleeing brutal communism, the refugees arrived at a camp set up by the United Nations on the island of Galang, in Indonesia.
History of the Escape Boat. Fleeing brutal communism, the refugees arrived at a camp set up by the United Nations on the island of Galang, in Indonesia. (Click the sign to enlarge it.)
Large bronze drum with ornate designs. They are a traditional symbol of power, used in religious ceremony, festival and war.
Large bronze drum with ornate design. These drums are a traditional symbol of power, used in religious ceremony, festival and war.
The Year of the Rooster has begun. It's the tenth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac.
The Year of the Rooster has begun. It’s the tenth in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Martial arts students demonstrate some moves for the gathering crowd.
Martial arts students demonstrate some moves for the gathering crowd.
Taking photos of the stage on a sunny San Diego day in late January.
Taking photos of the stage on a sunny San Diego day in late January.
The friendly martial arts group poses.
The friendly martial arts group poses.
A representation of the sacred Hùng Kings' Temple, which is located on the Nghĩa Lĩnh mountain.
A representation of the sacred Hùng Kings’ Temple, which is located on the Nghĩa Lĩnh mountain.
Lots of Asian food could be found around the San Diego Tet Festival, as well as more ordinary American fare.
Lots of Asian food could be found around the San Diego Tet Festival, as well as more ordinary American fare.
Pikachu sits protecting a spot where food is picked up.
Pikachu sits protecting a spot where food is picked up.
Donations help keep the Tet Festival alive.
Donations help keep the Tet Festival alive.
More area at the festival was dedicated to kids games and carnival rides than anything else! Oh, to be young again!
More area in the park was dedicated to kids games and carnival rides than anything else! Oh, to be young again!
A child rides a dragon.
A child rides a dragon.
A beautiful wishing tree at the San Diego Tet Festival.
A beautiful wishing tree at the San Diego Tet Festival.
A wish for abundance of love and health. Togetherness.
A wish for abundance of love and health. Togetherness.

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!

San Diego’s 2015 Lunar New Year Tết Festival.

One of several friendly guys in a traditional costume worn by ancient warriors.
One of several friendly guys in a traditional costume worn by ancient warriors.

Here are pics of the 2015 Lunar New Year Tết Festival. The annual event is put on by San Diego’s Little Saigon, and is being held this weekend in a large section of the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. These photos were taken shortly after the gates opened, and workers were applying some final touches in preparation for later crowds. Because I was so early, I missed afternoon attractions like the traditional Lion Dances and firecrackers. But there was plenty of cool stuff to see!

Tết, or Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated at the same time as Chinese New Year. The event marks the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese variation of the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

People around ticket booths at Lunar New Year Festival in Qualcomm Stadium parking lot.
Ticket booths at Lunar New Year Festival in Qualcomm Stadium parking lot.
People check out colorful displays after entering the annual festival on a sunny weekend.
People check out colorful displays after entering the annual festival on a sunny weekend.
In 2015 the Chinese New Year begins the latest Year of the Goat.
In 2015 the Chinese New Year begins the latest Year of the Goat.
Model of Chua Mot Cot, or the One Pillar Pagoda, symbol of Vietnam's rich culture and history. It was built in the reign of king Ly Thai Tong almost a thousand years ago.
Model of Chua Mot Cot, or the One Pillar Pagoda, symbol of Vietnam’s rich culture and history. It was built in the reign of king Ly Thai Tong almost a thousand years ago.
Model of Bến Thành Market, which was established by French colonial powers in 1859, developed from early 17th century street vendors near Saigon River.
Model of Bến Thành Market, which was established by French colonial powers in 1859, and developed from early 17th century street vendors near Saigon River.
Bridge over pond at Little Saigon's Tết Festival which celebrates Lunar New Year in San Diego.
Bridge over pond at Little Saigon’s Tết Festival.
Models of two thatch-roofed houses elevated on wood columns at Mai Chau provide excellent examples of highland village house construction.
Models of two thatch-roofed houses elevated on wood columns at Mai Chau. These are excellent examples of highland village house construction.
Art on display near entrance includes water buffalo and flowers.
Art on display near entrance includes water buffalo and flowers.
Getting a bamboo cottage house ready for a throng of festival visitors.
Getting a bamboo cottage house ready for a throng of festival visitors.
Decoration near a stage at the Lunar New Year Tết Festival.
Decoration near a stage at the Lunar New Year Tết Festival.
Guys work to get everything ready shortly after the gates open on Saturday.
Guys work to get everything ready shortly after the gates open on Saturday.
One of many interesting booths. This one encourages hosting exchange students.
One of many interesting booths. This one encourages hosting exchange students.
There were delectable edibles of all types in a huge food court area.
There were delectable edibles of all types in a huge food court area.
Young man selling treats pumps up a balloon.
Young man selling treats pumps up a balloon.
Lots of tasty barbeque was getting ready on this big grill.
Lots of tasty barbeque was getting ready on this big grill.
Lady demonstrates Chi Gong stretches on a large stage.
Lady demonstrates Chi Gong stretches on a large stage.
Many colorful tables contained delights of every sort.
Many colorful tables contained delights of every sort.
A big carnival area includes a Ferris wheel.
A big carnival area includes a Ferris wheel.
Just walking along in the morning as the fun event begins.
Just walking along in the morning as the fun event begins.
These guys are doing their best to promote the event on Instagram.
These guys are doing their best to promote the event on Instagram.
Adjusting a flag, one final touch at the 2015 Lunar New Year Festival in San Diego.
Adjusting a flag, one final touch at the 2015 Lunar New Year Festival in San Diego.

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