4 November

I have a great view of the sunrise from my bed every morning. The sunsets can be lovely here too. The garden is also a peaceful, pretty place to sit and work when it’s not too hot.

I went to ‘La Brea Tar Pits and Museum’ this week, when I first saw this I thought it was an odd name for an attraction, however it is a ‘tar pit’ in an area called La Brea. It houses the worlds largest Ice Age fossil collection, five million fossils from the past 55,000 years, 600 species of plants and animals, making this the worlds most important Ice Age fossil dig and research site.

Natural asphalt  (also called bitumen, pitch or tar—brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. Eventually the asphalt would form a deposit thick enough to trap animals, the surface would be covered with layers of water, dust, or leaves, the animals would wander in, become trapped, and eventually die. Predators would enter to eat the trapped animals and also become stuck. As the bones of dead animals sink into the asphalt, it soaks into them, turning them a dark-brown or black colour, preserving them.

Fossils of large mammals, such as the Columbian mammoth, have been extricated from the tar, but the asphalt also preserves  microfossils: wood and plant remnants, rodent bones, insects, molluscs, dust, seeds, leaves, and even pollen grains.

Approximately 90% of the 60 plus species of mammals excavated at La Brea are carnivores, the most common being, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats and coyotes. In the centre of the Museum is a Fossil Lab, a glass-walled paleontological laboratory where one can watch specimens being cleaned, studied and prepared for exhibit.

Outside the museum  at the lake pit, bubbles  of methane gas and hydrogen sulphide surface all over the lake. One can also see the work being done at one of the tar pits.

I visited Grand Park to see a display of art and altars celebrating ‘Dia de los Muertos’, day of the dead, the park also has a large fountain display.

 

I visited the Walt Disney Concert Hall, had a guided tour. The Hall is the home of the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, the Center Theatre group and LA Master Chorale. Designed by Frank Gehry the building really stands out on the street against the more standard architecture of its neighbours.

The gardens on level three of the building were unexpectedly beautiful and offer a calm, restful place to sit. Gehry designed the rose, water foundation as a tribute to Lillian Disney.

I haven’t mentioned the Metro (subway/underground) yet. I’ve used it quite a bit now and it’s very good. Really easy to understand, clean and air conditioned, it cost $1.75 for any single journey. I was waiting for a train this week when I noticed this ‘art’ on the ceiling, lots of human figures looking  as if they are falling from the sky.

 

 

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