Travel Tales: An ignominious visit to the Griffiths Observatory

Part of the fun of spending the coldest months of the Canadian winter is the road trip to Mexico. I have countless tales to share on this amusing topic.

Todays tale relates to my visit to the wonderful Griffiths Observatory in Los Angeles, California. We took a detour to L.A. as Humberto wanted to share part of his past with me so we made a memorable stop at the Observatory.

It was quite a chilly November day and thick grey skies hovered over Los Angeles. All I could see of the sun was pale circular outline. We parked, trudged across the gravel of the spacious parking area  and climbed up the steps leading into the impressive entrance.

Humberto had taken classes here with the notable Carl Sagan. I was thrilled and honoured to visit this famous venue.

Entrance was free which was a very pleasant surprise and the exhibits fascinating. All kinds of visual and written material on the many fascinating aspects of our planet and the planets we share our universe with.

I read about the Sun our day star, the moon and its phases, the tide, the change of seasons and all kinds of fascinating facts.

I stood at one counter which explained the tide and there was a picture of a red roofed building beside the Ocean. I wanted to know where this was and was standing next to a quiet blonde Canadian girl who as if she was reading my thoughts anounced quietly ” I used to work there as a waitress, in Nova Scotia.” I had my question answered quite unexpectedly.

Humberto wanted to go inside the dome to see the show “The Centre in the Universe.” It was great value at only five dollars.

I was very excited to go inside the dome. We queued outside, found a comfortable seat inside in the room that was at a comfortable temperature and waited for the show to begin.

We sat fairly near the back in the well upholstered reclining chairs. The lights were dimmed and the narrator began the show. She was a delightful lady with a soft, soothing speaking voice.

Spectacular holographic images appeared in front of me. Soon I was sitting amongst the pyramids of Egypt figuring out where the centre of the Universe might be. Then we moved to Galileo, John Newton and so on. The heavenly voice contined to speak to me. I was enchanted. Then I was asleep. I fought my heavy eyelids but succumbed in the unequal struggle, overcome by the irresistible urge to sleep. It was dark in the room and why should any one notice a middle aged woman taking a well deserved nap in the middle of an erudite presentation?

As the programme came to an end th concerned narrator tapped Humberto on the shoulder and enquired.

“Is she alright?” as she discretely shone the light on my shoulder.

Humberto looked over and there I was sound asleep, jaw just slightly open, completely unaware that the whole audience now had there eyes all firmly fixed on me.

“She’s just sleeping, I’m afraid,” said an embarassed Humberto, amazed that I could fall asleep during a cutting edge presentation.

“I haven’t seen this in many years,” she went on in the same gentle tones.

“This is something I see this everyday,” Humberto replied.

I continued to sleep, blissfully oblivious that I had the misfortune to have become part of the show.





About Charlotte Ortega

I am a family physician and writer.I am an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and I am coordinating this years International Writers Conference to be held in March in association with Los Mangos Library.Winters are spent in Mexico to escape the cold and the summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am British born but have not lived in the U.K. since 1997. My blog is intended to inform would be travellers and those who view Mexico as a preferred retirement destination on every aspect of living in Mexico, the good and the other...My husband Humberto is Mexican and is a font of knowlege on the diverse cultural and social nuances which exist in this vibrant and colourful country.
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