August 29 marked 8 full years since my darling wife, the adorable Hanabibti, and I married. To celebrate, we took a weekend trip down to Houston, just as the Delta variant rage was in full swing. Thankfully, we were vaccinated back in April and still wore masks everywhere, so we weren’t too worried, and it went well.

And this is the story…

We stayed, once again, and the Hotel Icon in downtown Houston. I wanted to stay somewhere different, but neither of us could remember where we stayed before, and wouldn’t you know it? Of the ~20 hotels in downtown Houston, we ended up at the same hotel as our 2017 trip. Oh well. It’s a nice-enough one.

We walked to dinner one night, and to breakfast the next morning, and we slept there, but otherwise we were out and about.

For outings, we chose to drive a bunch, down to Galveston and along the seawall all the way to Surfside Beach, then back to Houston through some endless refineries and some swampland. My darling wife loves the beach, so we made sure to stop and walk around a few times.

As it was me there, of course I took multiple cameras… Many of them rarely left the bag (which is why I’m posting this in late October), but the Minolta Freedom Vista (Riva Panorama) did a fine job and made the image of the trip (more on that later).

We also took a trip to NASA Space Center Houston, where I hadn’t been in decades. When I went before, on a school trip once, and with some family twice, it was still NASA. People still rode the bicycles from building to building, and everything was clean and recently-painted and obviously well cared for, at least in my faded memory.

We took one of two tram rides, out to the Astronaut Training Facility and back through Rocket Park, and missed out on the Mission Control tour. I’d been to all of it before, on school trips or whatever, and this time was strange. As mentioned, there were almost no NASA employees around, and most of the bicycles had long-flat tires, but it was the weekend and I suppose whatever’s left of NASA is mostly 9-5 these days. I was mostly bothered by the bored, flippant, snarky tour guide, who yawned her way through everything, except for a brief period where she got super excited about the Orion plan to send humans to Mars: 1) first go to the moon, and once there, mine all the water and convert it to hydrogen (for fuel to get to Mars) and oxygen (for breathing), then 2) go on to Mars.

Ya Allah! Guide us!

From there, we went to, of course, the wildly exciting-sounding Rocket Park.

From there, we climbed up into a replica of the Space Shuttle, then wandered around the exhibits for a bit, where I got to shake hands with Tom Stafford, one of the highlights, for me.

And that, in 38 pictures, was our trip to Houston. It was fun!

And, as promised, here’s the picture of the trip. It’s one of those that I knew was a picture when I saw it, and that ended up looking like a picture someone else would make… I’m pleased with it.

People and Rockets at Rocket Park

Good stuff.

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