Our weekend in LA
Trip Start Aug 16, 2007
61Trip End Apr 07, 2008
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We were going to have breakfast in the hotel, but found out it was $15 so we decided to eat downtown, at Chipotle, on our way to the California Science Center. The fascinating Body Worlds exhibit was showing at the Science Center along with several 3-D IMAX movies, so we got some tickets and wandered around the various interactive galleries until it was our turn to go in.
The Science Center is huge - 3 stories, and full of activities! The first floor has a giant rock wall, souvenir shop and a McDonalds; the second floor is divided into 2 worlds: Creative World, which had activities relating to technoscapes, communication & structures, and the World of Life, which had activities relating to energy, food, brain function, and life sources along with the entrance to the Body Worlds exhibit; and the third floor had an extension of Creative World which included transportation activities and a Discovery Room for younger children. After about an hour of exploring everything we headed over to the IMAX Theater to watch a 3-D movie about Sea Monsters. The theater was completely packed with elementary age kids! The movie was about underwater dinosaurs at the beginning of time...we didn't too much into it, but it was funny to watch the kids scream and grab in front of them every time something came at them!
Finally it was time to enter the Body Worlds exhibit. This amazing exhibit is an 'original exhibition of real human bodies' explaining the anatomy and process of organ functions using donated human bodies. Dr. Gunther Von Hagens uses plastination, a "groundbreaking method of halting the decomposition of anatomical specimens and preserving them for medical study and health instruction." The process basically turns the injected anatomy into preserved, hardened plastic that retains its natural color, texture, and mass. It was extremely fascinating, and by far the most educational and stimulating exhibit we have ever seen. It was amazing to see some of the bodies displayed in poses showing how each muscle group worked during certain activities such as gymnastics, running, and shooting a bow. Other displays were of individual body parts explained in depth by displaying all angles of its structure; such as the heart, brain and lungs cut in half or sliced into thin layers to show all aspects of it. The exhibit was so fascinating it took us about 4 hours to get through it all, and of course no photography was allowed.
While walking through the parking lot Ben showed us an electric vehicle charging station that was still in use. We have definitely never seen anything like that! As we headed back to the highway we drove past the LA Olympic Memorial Coliseum. If we had more time it would have been nice to have taken a tour through it. But alas, it was getting later in the day and we were trying to make it over to REI for a little shopping before they closed. After buying half the store we headed down the road in search of something to eat. We drove, and drove, but nothing looked too appealing so we just headed back to the Marriott and ate at Champions again. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the hot tub!
We got up early so we could head out to Hollywood to catch the Farmers Market and then spend the rest of the afternoon checking out all of the famous tourist attractions. We slept a little better last night, but still woke up pretty tired. It will be nice to get home and just sleep for a few days! After several cups of coffee we were out the door...
Driving to Hollywood was very interesting because the freeway is crazy with traffic and you really have to pay attention so you don't get off at the wrong exit. (Brilliant job, Ben!) The 12 lane highway took us through the tall building, business district and then into Hollywood...a more rundown, somewhat scary part of town. We can see why everyone is a bit surprised when they come here; it is definitely not ritzy like Beverly Hills. It sort of reminded us of what downtown Miami looks like. We were excited at our first glimpse of the Hollywood sign visible through the mass of city buildings.
We drove around for about 20 minutes looking for somewhere to park so we could go to the Farmers Market. We finally found one nearby and headed into the cross streets of the market. The market was mostly fresh fruit & vegetables with a few stalls offering clothes, gifts and concessions. We quickly walked up & down each of the streets admiring all of the fresh produce. It would be nice to live in a place that had such a plentiful market as this one. We were getting pretty hungry so we headed down the street to Denny's to get some brunch before wandering around for a little sight seeing.
We parked down by the Chinese Theater and walked down Hollywood Blvd. looking at all the stars on the sidewalk and taking photos of the ones we recognized. The stars are on both sides of the street, running the full length of the street, so we only got to see a small portion of them. A few that we saw were Chris Farley, Morgan Freeman, Nicholas Cage, Chris Rock, Dick Van Dyke and Pierce Brosnan to name a few. We went to the Chinese Theater where the famous hand-prints are. It was very crowded with tourists, street performers, characters in costume, and hustlers selling maps to the celebrity houses. We made our way through the crowd and looked at all of the celebrity hand-prints taking photos of a few, such as Cary Grant, Robin Williams, Will Smith, Al Pacino, Frank Sinatra, Matt Damon and Sydney Poitier. We picked up a shot glass for our collection and then headed back to LA so Martha & Ben start heading home.
They dropped us off at the hotel where we said our good-byes. We headed up to the room to take a short nap! We ordered a pizza for dinner, but after a frustrating situation we just ended up walking across the street to Subway. We spent the rest of the evening watching movies and packing all of our stuff for our flight in the morning.