Science day

Met up with Carlos and Tana & co at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. The museum is full of interactive exhibits explaining the concept of energy, especially renewables. There are also plenty of bugs on display.

After a bit of playing inside for a while we all went out, where there is a small zoo. There was also a big sun, so after just a few minutes we all ran back inside, where we had another hour playing in nice aircon.

After we left the Palo Altans we headed for a quick stop to the NASA Ames Research Centre. It is actually a bit pants, so we only spent about half an hour there, though it is free, so you can't look a gift horse in the mouth. Most of the interactive displays weren't working, but at least there were some cool spacesuits.

As a reaction against US car culture I decided to take the kids for a walk from the hotel to the shopping centre, about 3 blocks away. Never again. Even with scooters it was way to far (and hot, even though it was nearly evening) - each block went on for miles. It got me thinking of the conundrum faced by the lifestyle out here: living in low-rise villas with lots of space is a good thing compared to pent up in high-rise flats, but it also means that the low population density forces shops and facilities further apart, especially large shops that offer more choice. This means car culture is almost inevitable, although bicycles would really be the way to go if they had carts attached to them to carry the shopping (and then what do you do with the kids?) Either you cut down on choice or you accept higher priced (and more inconvenient) specialist shops.

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