Day 24 – The Houston Space Centre, and a pillow insult in Waco

• Another early start, because today was space centre day! Breakfast was fruit loops because I was excited like a little kid so had breakfast to match. Then I continued the cosplay by needing to go wee as soon as we left the hotel, and complaining to nearby adults that Erin was making faces at me.

The Space Centre was, in my opinion, well worth the visit. Erin was impressed as always with a museum trip, but I’m pretty sure she still enjoyed hooning around on the little train…. Which randomly exits a driveway and just cruises down the main road to get to another site a block or so away. With the way people in the US drive this was probably the most dangerous activity we’ve participated in so far.

• The site initially looks pretty small, but there’s a heap of areas to explore. Lots of actual objects used by astronauts during actual space missions so that was exciting. We were at the first show of the day for a display about the daily workings of the ISS, and I’ve never seen a more enthusiastic bloke considering he only had about 6 people watching.

• The little train headed off to a look at the actual control centre used in the moon landing. It’s been restored to look exactly as it did, including a heap of things like handwritten logs and charts, cigarette and cigar stubs in the ashtrays, original machines (with new screens admittedly) showing the original displays. The room we were in is the original VIP room which was only open to the family of astronauts. Original everything, including chairs which were comfortable as buggery. They replay the landing in real time with the big screens playing back exactly what they saw at the time which was super awesome.

• While the train was passing through the Johnson Space Centre, there’s a delicious bit of contrast where on one side of the fence there’s a rocket that took people to space, and on the other…. a cow farm. Literally just cows wandering around a field, then cross the fence and there’s a building full of giant nerds planning a mission to Mars. Such a stark contrast, no gradient of technological prowess.

• Plenty of bigscreen things to watch, including one interviewing astronauts and universally every person who’s been to space says that if you could take everyone on earth up to see the planet from space there’d be no more conflict and everyone would become a conservationist which I tend to agree with. It’s just so petty and small fighting over scraps of land, or religious nutbaggery, and refusing to do anything about stuff like climate change when the planet is so small (comparative to the universe) and the atmosphere so fragile. It’s all we’ve got people.

• Plenty of kid focused activities, but not exclusively like COSI was. Some of it made me giggle, like a “What would you take to space?” question and answer board where some kid answered “money to buy the moon”. Simultaneously an idiot, but also a genius.

• After testing the limits of Erin’s patience, we hit the road for Waco, TX. Passing by Houston city was pretty ironic after hearing about how we need to look after the planet… 18 lanes of vehicles, most of them Brodozers and Canyoneros, all of them mashing the accelerator/brakes/accelerator/brake the whole way to maximise fossil fuel consumption. And I complain about this fully aware of my hypocrisy, having flown halfway around the world to drive a V8 across the country lol

• Based on James demands, we pulled in to IHOP to see what’s going on in there. Turns out it’s pancakes, or omelettes, or burritos, or pretty much anything else based on hotel pillows made with flour I guess. I opted for the omelette, and Erin found some eggs benny with a different name. Really quite nice, and a super clean store. Ticked another bit of American fine dining off the list.

• Took the back roads to Waco, so it took a bit longer than normal but we got to see more interesting stuff. Giant water towers are another thing they sure love out here. They should combine their loves and put giant flags on the water towers. And an obelisk on top. Why is every monument an obelisk?

• Got to the hotel and was was excited to check out the pillow situation… And was presented with less a supply of bedding, and more a direct and personal insult to us both. I mean seriously what the hell is that? I’ve seen poorly staged real estate listings with better pillows than what was supplied. The insult was somewhat offset by the inclusion of a sitting room with any extra TV (wtf? who’s having guests over to the hotel, and needs a sitting room for them to wait in?), and the fact that despite being the size of a postage stamp they were actually really comfortable.

• Dinner was a steak type restaurant, where I made a pretty shocking discovery – they don’t have pepper sauce in America. They offered ketchup as an alternative which made me need to take a minute to regain my composure. On the plus side, they nailed cooking it to medium rare.


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