Colorful new murals on Horton Plaza Park fence!

SAN DIEGO writ large on fence around Horton Plaza Park's construction site.
SAN DIEGO writ large on fence around Horton Plaza Park’s construction site.

I recently noticed some new murals along Broadway in downtown San Diego, between 3rd and 4th Avenue. They decorate the fence that surrounds the Horton Plaza Park construction site, and replace a number of large historical photographs which I featured in this earlier blog post.

I took these pics at close range from the sidewalk, not wanting to step out into traffic. So I missed a few parts of the creative, colorful artwork.

Part of one new mural along Broadway in downtown San Diego.
Part of one new mural along Broadway in downtown San Diego.
A colorful underwater scene can be glimpsed by passing motorists.
A colorful underwater scene can be glimpsed by passing motorists.
Various surfboards -- one contains an ode to baseball's World Series.
Various surfboards.  One contains an ode to baseball’s World Series.
These murals replaced photographs which showed downtown history.
These murals replaced photographs which showed downtown history.
A fun depiction of San Diego Bay and a red trolley.
A fun depiction of San Diego Bay and a red trolley.
These three happy dogs are sharing a surfboard!
These three happy dogs are sharing a surfboard!
Another interpretation of the San Diego skyline.
Another interpretation of the San Diego skyline.
California girl in cool sunglasses watches a sunset.
California girl in cool sunglasses watches a sunset.
A sexy green-haired mermaid and Mission San Diego!
A sexy green-haired mermaid and Mission San Diego!
Downtown has been encroached by breakers and rocky hills!
Downtown has been encroached by breakers and rocky hills!
Man walks past construction fence surrounding Horton Plaza Park.
Man walks past construction fence surrounding Horton Plaza Park.

Habitat for Humanity builds a house downtown!

Habitat for Humanity is building a house in downtown's Horton Square!
Habitat for Humanity is building a house in downtown’s Horton Square!

Yesterday–Sunday–I was leaving Horton Plaza when I noticed a small home is being built in the center of downtown San Diego! The house is rising just south of Broadway in Horton Square, the exact spot where a weekly farmers market and winter ice rink are located.

I swung by again early this morning hoping to see volunteers at work, continuing with the construction. One gentleman had already arrived and was carrying tools out of a shed. I asked him when the day’s work would begin. They were forced to work between 9 and 10, he told me, because of the noise of hammering!

The project is called Habitat Off Broadway. The unusual build site provides Habitat for Humanity an opportunity to share their mission with those who live and work in the heart of San Diego.

Once the house is framed, it will be broken down into pieces and transported to east county’s El Cajon, where it will become somebody’s home.

Gentleman preparing the day's work told me a little about this unique project.
Gentleman preparing the day’s work told me a little about this unique project.
Habitat Off Broadway aims to touch those who live and work in San Diego.
Habitat Off Broadway aims to touch those who live and work in San Diego.
Sign explains how home ownership is beneficial for families.
Sign explains how home ownership is beneficial for families.
The house is already partially framed and awaits more work later in the morning!
The house is partially framed and awaits more work later in the morning!

Mexican Navy training tall ship Cuauhtémoc.

Mexican Navy training ship ARM Cuauhtémoc docked in San Diego Bay.
Mexican Navy training tall ship ARM Cuauhtémoc docked in San Diego Bay.

I had an unexpected adventure today!

I was just walking along San Diego’s Embarcadero late this afternoon, circling homeward after watching a movie and eating lunch at downtown’s Horton Plaza. And there it was. An absolutely gigantic three-masted tall ship docked near the cruise ship terminal!

It was the Mexican Navy’s training vessel Cuauhtémoc, built in Spain in 1982. And the few curious people who walked a short distance out onto the pier discovered they could freely board and tour the ship!

I believe the beautiful high-masted ship might be visiting for the upcoming Festival of Sail, which is to be put on by the San Diego Maritime Museum in two weeks. (Yes, I’ll attend!) Fortunately, today I had my trusty camera with me!

Free tour of the huge tall ship could be enjoyed beside cruise ship terminal.
Free tour of the huge tall ship could be enjoyed beside cruise ship terminal.
Visitors look at information sign near the Cuauhtémoc's gangplank.
Visitors look at information sign near the Cuauhtémoc’s gangplank.
On board, looking straight up the center mast.
On board, looking straight up the center mast.
Mexican Navy officer checks the ship's bell.
Mexican Navy officer checks the ship’s bell.
Looking east across the beautiful ship from the upper deck.
Looking east across the beautiful ship from the upper deck.
The Cuauhtémoc has participated in many events, exhibitions and regattas.
The Cuauhtémoc has participated in many events, exhibitions and regattas.
San Diego's tall ship America can be seen on the bay through the rigging.
San Diego’s tall ship America can be seen on the bay through the rigging.
A view of downtown skyscrapers from the Mexican tall ship's foredeck.
A view of downtown skyscrapers from the Mexican tall ship’s foredeck.
A ship's gun points out past the Broadway Pier.
A ship’s gun points out past the Broadway Pier.
Sailors begin a drill by climbing the shrouds.
Sailors begin a drill by climbing the shrouds.
A line of Mexican sailors ascends toward the sky.
A line of Mexican sailors ascends toward the sky.
Higher they go up the enormous mast!
Higher they go up the enormous mast!
They demonstrate a bit of work with the sails.
They demonstrate a bit of fancy work with the sails.
A sailor descends as American flag flies from the visiting vessel.
A sailor descends as American flag flies from the visiting vessel.
Guests and sailors watch the proceedings with interest.
Guests and sailors watch the proceedings with interest.
A boy pretends to command the sailing ship at the wooden captain's wheel.
A boy pretends to command the sailing ship at the wooden captain’s wheel.
An officer's cap rests atop ropes at one mast's base.
An officer’s cap rests atop ropes at one mast’s base.
Ship's plaque describes El Buque Escuela Cuauhtémoc.
Ship’s plaque describes El Buque Escuela Cuauhtémoc.
Looking west as sun falls toward distant Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
Looking west as sun falls toward distant Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
The figurehead of Cuauhtémoc is a shining Aztec warrior.
The figurehead of Cuauhtémoc is a shining Aztec warrior.

Mark Twain lives at Old Town’s TwainFest!

Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego's literary TwainFest!
Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego’s literary TwainFest!

One of my favorite San Diego events of all time took place today in historic Old Town!

TwainFest is an amazing annual festival celebrating Mark Twain and other famous authors from the 19th century. While there seems to be an emphasis on American and English novelists, I saw homages to writers, poets and storytellers from around the world. Scenes from American and California history also appear in several of the exhibits. Which makes sense, because Old Town is a history-filled park recreating the earliest days of San Diego!

To get an idea of what TwainFest is about, enjoy a quick look at these fun pics! And be sure to attend next year, if you can!

TwainFest is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Event is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Costumed participants were roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Costumed participants roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County readies to soar from a catapult!
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ready to soar from catapult!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
Children really enjoyed this guy's amazing flea circus!
Children really enjoyed this cool guy’s amazing flea circus!
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
The big Liar's Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
The big Liar’s Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
This guy is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
This slick salesman is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Voters in election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Voters in presidential election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
The guilty author of civil disobedience!
The obviously guilty author of civil disobedience!
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
It's the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
It’s the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
Carroll's Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Carroll’s Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Here come participants in the literary costume contest!
Here come participants in the fancy literary costume contest!
The spirit of Twain lives at this wonderful annual festival.
The spirit of Twain lives at this very wonderful annual festival.

Urban art: The Power of Collective Thought.

Public art on 11th Avenue in San Diego's East Village.
Public art on 11th Avenue in San Diego’s East Village.

Just some cool pics of colorful urban art on a building wall in downtown San Diego’s East Village.

Neighbors painted many colorful tiles for this artistic creation.
Neighbors painted many colorful tiles for this artistic creation.
The artwork was conceived and applied to a building wall in 1999.
The artwork was conceived and applied to a building wall in 1999.
Diverse faces, names and scenes are assembled in a larger design.
Diverse faces, names and scenes are assembled in a larger design.
Hundreds of hand-painted tiles compose the colorful street mosaic.
Hundreds of hand-painted tiles compose the colorful street mosaic.
The Power of Collective Thought from the Urban Art Trail project.
The Power of Collective Thought from the Urban Art Trail project.

Glimpsing a secret, bright inner essence.

Solitary figure in morning sun on Torrey Pines State Beach.
Solitary figure in morning sun on Torrey Pines State Beach.

Here are several lucky photographs that turned out to be emotionally stirring or inspiring. In places light shines out from the images, as if we’re privileged to momentarily glimpse a secret, bright inner essence.

Tall palms reach toward a glowing cloud on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Tall palms reach toward a glowing cloud on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
A morning look from Balboa Park toward my Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Bright morning color frames my Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Brilliant sunrise illuminates the horizon east of San Diego.
Brilliant, fiery sunrise illuminates the horizon east of San Diego.
Helping hand is offered at the Toussaint Teen Center.
Touching sculpture offers a helping hand at the Toussaint Teen Center.
Children walk around Balboa Park fountain as evening descends.
Children walk around beautiful Balboa Park fountain as evening descends.
Morning sun and reflection in downtown San Diego.
Morning sun and reflection in downtown San Diego.

American heroes honored at Veterans Museum.

On steps of Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
On steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Today a special event was held at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. The Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance honored American veterans who defended freedom around the globe during World War II.

The Spirit of ’45 is an annual event held throughout the United States in many cities. It marks the anniversary of V-J Day, the day the Japanese finally surrendered and World War II ended. The special event has become increasingly important, as thousands of heroes from The Greatest Generation now pass away every year.

Many San Diego dignitaries attended today’s ceremony, including an ex-mayor, city council member, district attorney, police chief, plus some very high-ranking military officers. But in my mind, the day was all about ordinary Americans who personally sacrificed to do an extremely difficult and very important thing.

Several of these heroes recalled in short speeches what it was like to hear the news that the war had ended. You could hear the emotion in their voices, almost 70 years later.

After the ceremony, veterans told their personal stories inside the museum, so that memories will continue of those times and their deeds.

Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near museum.
Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near the museum.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of nearby monuments.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of the nearby monuments.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for event to officially begin.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for the event to officially begin.
World War II veteran helped into museum side door.
World War II veteran helped by serviceman into museum side door.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war's end.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war’s end.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association Tent.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association tent.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain kids.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain families with kids.
Duty Honor Country is at the center of a small circular plaza.
Duty Honor Country written at the center of a small circular plaza.
And so are some dancers enjoying the nearby band playing swing music!
Dancers enjoy the nearby band playing swing music!
Now it seems everybody's dancing!
Now it seems everybody’s dancing!
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
Now I'm standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Now I’m standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
One got a flavor of the experiences of the Greatest Generation.
One got a flavor of the difficult experiences of the Greatest Generation.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
A bust to be set near B-24 Liberator is unveiled by the artist and others.
A bust to be set near B-24 Liberator is unveiled by the artist and others.
Bust of a brave World War II aviator.
Bust of a brave World War II aviator.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
Sailors help the aging American heroes back to their cars.
Sailors ready to help aging American heroes back to their cars.