Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 40 - Los Angeles Area

With an early wake-up call, we boarded the bus for our trip into Los Angeles with the bright sun illuminating the skyline of the city as we entered. 

With a population of 4 million in a metropolitan area of 18 million, it is a beehive of activity. Our guide took us through the exclusive areas of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills. The Chateau Marmont Hotel, where John Belushi died, caters to actors and others that value privacy. Flash photography is not permitted inside. 

We soon arrived in Hollywood. The famous sign was erected in 1924 and began as a way to promote a real estate development. Originally it was wood, but is now stainless steel. 

We took a look at the Dolby Theater where the Academy Awards are held each year. You must be invited, but can attend as a volunteer checking credentials and filling empty seats as needed. 

Marilyn descended the piano stairs on her way to street level where the Walk of Fame is located. 

Our guide helped Susanne understand that for her to get a star on the Walk of Fame she would have to be approved by the committee and find the funds for the $17,000 cost. 

Dave thinks passing the hat might be an option. We then examined the area in front of  Grauman’s Chinese Theater where stars place their hand and foot prints in wet concrete if their film premieres there.

Traveling on to the downtown area, we saw many interesting buildings, but the most striking was the Walt Disney Concert Hall which cost $300 million, looks similar to floating sails, and is constructed of 12,500 stainless steel panels. 

The original high reflectivity required buffing after the reflection created excessive heat and glare. 

We made a brief stop at Olvera Street, a Mexican marketplace, and a lengthier stop at the Farmer’s Market for some shopping and lunch. A banjo band provided dining entertainment. 

The afternoon was spent at the LaBrea Tar Pits. 

Tar from an oil field 1500 feet below seeps to the surface through cracks formed as result of earthquakes.

In mining the tar years ago, workers discovered bones which led to the realization that the tar had preserved fossils that range from 10,000-60,000 years old. When conditions warmed the tar, it became so sticky that animals were trapped, died, and their bones eventually were covered with tar and preserved.  Insects, seeds, plants, etc., were also preserved and there is evidence of Native American interaction going back 1000 years. Excavating began in the early 1900’s and is still continuing with areas where the work can be observed.

The museum houses a research area where fossils are examined, cleaned, catalogued, stored, and displayed.

 There is no place in the world where as many ice age fossils can be found.  

Submitted by:  Jim and Rae Anne Hamp #9

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