20 Sept 2014
Sonya was keen to check out The London Hotel, so the Curry’s came to visit us. Sonya told me later that when Banjo walked into the lobby downstairs
he called out in a big voice “Aunty Carol, where are you!?” Heart-melt. The room quickly filled up with the energy of Fox and Banjo who roamed around exploring the room and playing hide-and-seek.
We decided to walk down to Santa Monica to find a cafe, before Sonya’s boxing class. We walked through the neighbourhood that Bernie said has the gayest Starbucks in town. Fox wanted to run ahead and Banjo wanted to stop and examine people’s gardens, so it took awhile to reach the cafe.
Earlier in our hotel room, Sonya announced that she’d booked tickets to see the Endeavour space shuttle this afternoon! The plan was to meet at the Curry’s place at 2pm and drive to the Science Centre in two cars. Dave and I were just as excited about seeing a real live spaceship, as the boys were!
By the time our little convoy pulled into the California Science Centre, we were a little behind schedule so we made a beeline for the Endeavour exhibition. It started with an exhibition describing life in zero gravity, going into detail about how astronauts use the toilet facilities with its various nozzles and attachments. It suddenly occurred to me, there must have been a team of industrial designers to work it all out. An unusual job, no?
The exhibition highlight (besides the shuttle itself) was the stop-motion movie of maneuvering the space-shuttle from LAX airport to the California Science Centre. It was mounted on a remote controlled dolly and walked through the streets. People turned out in droves to see it pass through the streets of Southern Los Angeles. Roads were closed, utility poles were dismantled, trees were avoided and it came down to inches of clearance in some places. It was a surreal sight. And surprisingly moving- the shuttle is an amazing feat of human ingenuity.
After the movie, we finally walked into the huge hanger, and there she was. Big yet not as big as I imagined. The tiles were fascinating, each one was numbered. We both expected it to be fully tiled, but it looks like the white parts were different, it looked…padded? This is a temporary display and there was a model illustrating the final exhibit. It will be standing upright ready for launch. I’d like to come back to see it finished.
That night we took Sonya and Bernie out to dinner to say farewell. We managed to secure a table at Ago, an Italian fine dining place owned by Robert de Nero. It was nice to hang out together for the first time this trip. Just the four of us face to face, no interruptions. It will be sad saying goodbye soon.