Thursday, 15 May 2008

Things to do around Houston

Who'd have thought you could spend a WHOLE DAY in a mall?! I'm a bit sensitive about this, it's not me at all, but I did and so did Barry & Abby. Needs must and all that - we'd travelled to the US with hand baggage only as we all had to pass though Terminal 5 at Heathrow where the mountains of back-logged baggage were still knocking around. We didn't fancy risking lost bags so decided to buy things (and suitcases to put them in) when we got to the States.

The shopping experience was one not to be repeated in a hurry. The mall was huge - like a village - and we all started to lose the will to live after a while as we had to case the joint, then try on, buy, eat lunch etc. etc. Abby & I did find time for a bit of girly fun though, trying on cowboy boots! We played "try but not buy". Both pairs of boots were not made in the US. One pair was made in Brazil, the other in China. The genuine US Texan boots were superb, but oh-so expensive.

The following day, to redress the balance of a day spent at the cathedral of consumerism, we visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Pompeii exhibition, calling at the Central Market on the way back for some fresh food

Still keeping the tone raised, we visited the Museum of Natural Science in Houston's Museum and theatre District, and went to the butterfly dome. . . . .

. . . . .and to the display of crystals and gemstones, which was quite amazing.

Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory was a full-on American large portion experience with - of course - cheesecake after the main course. Some of us had doggy bags to take home the rest of our defeating but delicious portions of cheesecake.

We rounded off our stay in Houston with a trip to the Space Centre and NASA. There were displays, talks and films in the visitor centre, but the highlight was the bus trip around the NASA site. Everyone had to go through airport-style security screening before they were allowed on the bus, and there was a lot of driving around the site with an explanatory commentary on which building was what. All the buildings are windowless and nondescript (for security/spy deterrent purposes I suppose) but we were allowed in some of them. The most exciting one was to see mission control which was the hub of operations in the Moon flights and landings. It was almost familiar to see this for real, as it's been televised a lot and was the focus of attention and activity for the 1969 first Moon landing (I remember that well!)

The guide who explained the details of the mission control room was clearly a retired teacher - his was the best talk and the parties of school children there were quiet and rapt! We also got to see the Saturn 5 rocket - huge and impressive:

And I got to visit the Moon!


Jackie Hutchison said...

Your trip sounds as though it had its amazing moments. I bet Sandra will be jealous of the boots!! I actually have cousins in Texas that I have never met, it makes me want to do that now.

Mellow Yellow said...

Thanks Jackie - there are more amazing moments to come too! Yes, I think Sandra may well go green around the edges at the sight of those boots. They were tempting, I must say (mine were the red ones, Abby's the white). If you have the opportunity to go to the USA I'd really recommend it. Texas didn't initially sound terribly appealing to us, but we were very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed every new experience while we were there.

barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
I'am getting back to your trip, which I think was "magnifique ".
I did not know about the problems with lugage at Heathrow ( I have only been through there once and a long time agao).
Hey; that was nice to get some new clothes along the way ! Even if shopping in these large malls is exhausting.

Cute, the boot testing ;)

Anonymous said...

I have just come across your site......dreary Sunday and all that. I too went to Saffron Walden but a little latter than you.1970-73. But the memories are so similar!!!! Winnie P`, Salter, Miss Musto and Gillian Primrose. Still keep in touch with friends made there...had reunions at the college too.Even met up with Betty West who remembered us! Keep the site going.
Denise Bott (nee Plevin)

Mellow Yellow said...

Hello Denise,

Wow, that's great that you've found our blog! All those memories came flooding back again as soon as I read the names you mentioned, although I don't remember them all. Our group left in 1968 so new members of staff around then I guess - but dear Miss Musto was still on the rampage! Does "Gillian Primrose" refer to Miss Collins? Or is that someone else? Guess it's her as her initials we "GP". Who can forget her..?!

Welcome and good to have you dropping by. Please add some of your own memories & stories too.


Jackie Hutchison said...

Denise so good to hear from another ex Safferite! I am really interested to hear your memories too and those of the friends you are in touch with. Jackie