Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Playing catch up

Whenever I go away on holiday I feel like I pay for it when I get back to work, because - geesh! Seriously, between juggling 2 projects with the same delivery deadlines, my aunt now at Mercy Hospice, and the agony of waiting for that elusive last win (if you are a New Zealander you know exactly what I'm talking about) I am shattered both emotionally and physically. Whenever I'm feeling this way I get grumpy, and my poor little family - sorry Jef! I'm trying.

So this morning Kien and I stayed in so I could watch the race, and then I just needed to get out. Kien wanted to go to playgroup, but I wasn't in the mood for any form of interaction with other people. So I put Kien in the backpack, grabbed the umbrella, walked to Vic park and caught a bus to the CBD. Destination - the library.

Kien loves books, and he lined up a dozen or so for me to read to him when we arrived.

We read about the coral reef, pandas, camouflaging insects, Hiwi the Kiwi who questioned what's special about a bird that can't fly (I'm sorry, but the reasons explained to that poor little bird in the story wasn't very convincing), Sailor Sam, and a whole heap of other stories I can't even remember. And then...

Look, Mummy! Look what they have!

Angry Birds! And they even have Red Bird!

And that was the end of reading time.

After lunch we caught another bus to Parnell. Destination - the museum.

I knew Kien would enjoy the current Moana - My Ocean exhibition. He wandered around looking at all the different species in the jars, and asked me lots of questions I couldn't answer, like, "Mummy, what's that?"..."Why is it called that?". Sometimes I just can't keep answering those questions 50 times in a row.

Of course we end up at the Stevenson Discovery Centre. It's such an awesome children's gallery.

We sat in front of this tank for (I guess maybe) half an hour waiting for one of the frogs to jump into the water. That's what he wanted them to do, and he was very patient about it. But sadly, no, it didn't happen. Before that we sat in front of the lizard tank for (I guess maybe) half an hour waiting for one of them to catch a fly. But sadly, no, that didn't happen either. I'm pretty sure he would have stared at either of those tanks for the entire day if I hadn't enticed him with puzzles and more books.

It was getting late, and when we got outside we were struck by a gail. My umbrella kept turning inside out as we walked to the bus stop, and the rain was hitting us sideways. Good one, Lien. Of all the days to decide to leave the car at home today may not have been the best one. But you know what? We had a great time - an adventure.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Up close and semi personal with a space shuttle

A must see in LA: California Science Centre. Main attraction = Endeavour. Need I say more? But if that isn't enough you'll also see a myriad of other stuff to keep everyone entertained for hours!

When we first drove into the carpark the one thing that caught our attention was the Blackbird, a strategic reconnaissance aircraft. Kien has a picture of a Blackbird in one of his aircraft books, so he was pretty happy to see one in real life.

Also out front is this cool leverage system to lift a truck.

We finally got our tickets and went inside.

We walked through a maze of exhibits, including this one:

Now, I know Carl Sagan said we're made of star stuff, but when you're touching something that's recently been in space it just feels damn special.

And now here is a gazillion photos of Endeavour.

I hadn't anticipated on how beat up the space shuttle would look in real life, or how small each individual heat tile on the underside of the fuselage actually are, and when you are seeing maybe 20,000 of them with identification numbers it truly is an impressive sight to behold.

Then there are the Solid Rocket Boosters. What's amazing is that SRB weighs approximately 590,000 kg (1,300,000 lb) at launch, EACH.

Seeing all of this reminds me of how brilliant some human beings are!

The only disappointing thing for Kien is that the space shuttle did not launch. He kept asking us, "Is the space shuttle going to take off? When is the space shuttle taking off?". I had to distract him from bursting into tears when telling him it wasn't going to take off.

There were many (many!) other exhibits, but Matthew was starving and it wasn't going down too well. So we left the building via the aquarium.

We sat outside and had something to eat, and then the kids ran around the rose garden for a bit.

We had intended to come back again before we left LA, but time wasn't our friend. Ah well, something to look forward to the next time we are in town.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Travel Town Museum

Located in the northwest corner of Los Angeles, Griffith Park is home to the Travel Town Museum. This is a great outdoor museum featuring 43 railroad engines, cars and other rolling stock from the 1880s to the 1930s.

Best of all we were able to climb onto the full size steam engine, cabooses and passenger cars.

We took the small train that did a loop around the perimeter, and that was pretty cool for the kids.

Of course all the cameras came out when we were seated ready for the train to go. Having some shade was pretty awesome - I think the heat rose to 37°C - so yeah, we were sweatin'.

The tickets were so cheap at $2.75 per person, and considering it is free to get into the museum I think the train ride is a bargain!

Certainly was a fun way to spend a couple of hours in LA.


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