Thursday, January 2, 2014

Los Angeles in One Day

As part of their California vacation our son Dan and his wife Amanda wanted to see Los Angeles, a place which Dan had been to only once and Amanda not at all.  Mike, having lived in Los Angeles up until last year, was willing to be our tour guide.  It seemed funny to me that out of all there is to see in the city, consensus of opinion was to see the space shuttle Endeavour, which in 2012 was moved to Los Angeles and placed in a display pavilion of the California Science Museum.
I could only stand in awe looking at this space ship which looks pretty battered and worn.  It had kept humans in space for 30 years, having completed 25 missions.  It, as well as five other space shuttles, brought diversity to orbit and encouraged international travel.  The Endeavor carried the first African American woman, the first Japanese astronaut, and the first married couple.  On display were artifacts from it missions such as the tires worn on the ship during its last mission- and a sign located near them encouraged the public to feel free to touch them.  There was also information regarding food on the flights- a Mexican astronaut discovered that tortillas worked better than bread because it did not get crumbs in the eyes or into the equipment.  It also flings well as a frisbee!   AndI have always wondered how astronauts, especially the females, used the potty while on a mission.  According to the information provided, using the potty "takes practice, patience and a bit of acrobatics".  There were a lot more details provided regarding that, but I will only give you a picture of the toilet and leave the rest to your imagination.
I am neither scientifically or mechanically astute, but I enjoyed learning about the important parts of the shuttle as the drag chute, brakes, as well as the tiles placed on its belly to keep the aluminum from melting during launch and entry.  We spent a good part of our day there, the lines were long but moved fairly rapidly.  After looking at the La Barea Tar Pitts our next stop after that was Melrose street for lunch and to look at art galleries.  We only found a couple of the latter and they were closed.  However, we saw a fair number of interesting murals on the outside of the buildings in that area.  Equally fascinating were the mannikins outside some of the stores displaying vintage clothing.  We made it to Griffith Observatory just at sunset, from were we enjoyed the lights of Hollywood spread out below us.  Hollywood was our last stop and we did the usual tourist thing as looking at the prints of legendary stars in the concrete of of Grauman's theater forecourt.  It is now called TCL Chinese Theater.  We walked around the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel where the first Academy Awards were held- they were later moved to the Kodak Theater, which is now called Dolby Theater.  A shopping mall (the Hollywood and Highland Center) has been built in this area for the tourist's shopping and dining pleasures and it is from there that I took the picture which is posted below.  Christmas lights seemed to add an additional sparkle to this fascinating area of Los Angeles.

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