13 July 2012

Science via fashion: another San Francisco tale...

Let's get tenuous. I like a good tenuous link. They used to do a celeb tenuous link thing on some radio show (I think Chris Evans), maybe they still do - Top Tenuous. They'd pick a famous person and the ten best tenuous links to that person got read out. Things like 'my mum was in the background when so and so was filming a link outdoors near our house. We didn't know til we spied her on telly'. Or 'I once went to a pub and it turned out Gary Barlow was there the week before'. You get the gist.

My tenuous link is 'see this t-shirt I wore yesterday? I bought it in San Francisco which means I can now tell you about something I did there'. Ta-dah! So, without further ado, here's the t-shirt:

diamante studded t-shirt from Forever 21.
And the outfit.

studded skirt: H&M, boots: Topshop. I was tired and had a headache yesterday so I went with stretchy clothes and flats.

And a close up of the boots. Just cause.

And so to my tenuous link to San Francisco: The California Academy of Sciences!

I probably don't come off as a science buff. I'm not one - that could be why. However, I do enjoy a bit of sciencey stuff. I loved Chemistry and Biology at school and always assumed I'd go into something scientific at uni and beyond. Sadly, by the time I finished my highers, I was sick of science, something I still think is kind of a pity. I could be doing waaaay useful stuff now.

Another reason I enjoy a bit of sciencey stuff is that its broad ranging subject matter really evokes passion in its fanatics and I find that very attractive. Not OTT stage schooly passion: passion that can't be helped and is unselfconscious.

And so, hearing that CAOS was a swell place to spend a bit of time, Mr Scribbler and I took ourselves for a wee look around it while we were in San Fran. It's in the gargantuan Golden Gate Park. Seriously, you could spend days in that park: there's so much to do! The de Young museum (which had a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition while we were over), a giant carousel, the Japanese Tea Gardens, bikes, a lake where you can boat, tremendous floral displays and, apparently (though we never made it that far), amazing sunset views, if the fog doesn't creep in. Next time we're over, I'll be back there for sure.

The academy starts with a section on Africa, as a key location when it comes to evolution, full of museum style stuffed animals:

Some real animals snuck in too:

This little guy was a big time performer.
You then move onto a big section on evolution. These ladybirds (which were hopefully already dead before they became involved in this display) demonstrate the differences in an apparently identical species, with no two ladybirds actually displaying the same markings.

A little bit of time jumping and you're taken through earth's time line since the big bang. Look away now if you're right god fearing.
The big focus at the Academy just now is on earthquakes - there's an exhibition complete with a shaky house you can stand in and a planetarium show. Unfortunately you cannae really get pictures inside the planetarium or the shaky house. In the planetarium, we were taken through a brief history of earth, a bit about how earthquakes happen - all stuff you pretty much get anyway (if not, Google it. Or go to San Francisco. I know which option I'd choose...) - continental shift, tectonic plates etc and some stuff on why California is such an earthquake hot spot (it sits over joins of three tectonic plates, one of which basically runs right down the Californian coast). You then learn about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 in which the city was badly damaged. Worse though were the fires that ravaged post quake destroying much of the city as it was then known. There's actually quite a bit about it on site. If you're interested, check it out. How nice am I with my handy link? The shaky house part is kind of fun to begin with but, when you consider how you'd feel if that was your house shaking uncontrollably, out of the blue, it's sobering to say the least.

I could keep going on and on but I suspect you're wondering when I might ever finish this post. So, in a nutshell, you also have a fantastic aquarium downstairs in the basement, which apparently is far better than SF's actual aquarium, as well as an amazing 4 story glass dome housing a 'rainforest'! Here - I'll paint pictures with pictures instead of words now...

When you're in the rainforest, you look down into the water and, beyond the fish, you see right down into a tunnel at the bottom of the aquarium, seeing people walking about under the fish. I can unashamedly say this is cool as fuck!
The fish in the aquarium are spectacular and there's nowhere near enough room here to share them all. You have everything from tiny tanks, to the walk through tunnel mentioned about, to GIANT tanks a la the one on the left - it was easy about 15-20 feet high and filled with the most striking fish. It was like a Mary Katranzou dress come to life.
The lower and mid reaches of the rainforest are packed with reptiles and amphibians. I LOVE a neon poisonous frog - such great outfits. I have a thing about lizards too. They just move in such a brilliant way. My advice to the dude at the bottom right is 'watch your crotch' Looks like the snake thinks he's found a pal...

Speaking of which...
I can't recommend the Academy enough. We spent hours there and I'd happily go back again, especially as, by the time I get back over, the earthquake exhibit is likely to be something else. Plus, science is changing all the time! Entry cost us about $25 each but I think but you can get a San Francisco pass for $69 which gets you into a bunch of places, plus lets you on the cable cars and all public transport too. Seriously, you'd think I was advertising for them but I'd genuinely consider getting one next time I'm there. Do you love how confidently I talk about my next trip there, like I just have thousands of £s kicking about ready to send me back? I don't. Time to get saving Llara...


Vix said...

What a fantastic place, your pictures are just brilliant, too. I'm dying over your zebra boots! x


You always have the best shoes and boots in the world Llara.
Wonderful photos and place.

Stylist Steph said...

I love that shirt, so pretty!


Helga! said...

OMG!!! I wonder indeed if we crossed paths!!! We went to that Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition,it was awesome!!! Fark! We were there 8th-12 June.......loved the place! Do email me (helgavontrollop@yahoo.co.nz) darling;lets exchange travel stories!! XXX