Sunday, July 26, 2009

day 49, Florida, USA

Jean was ready to take us on an airboat ride in the swamps of Louisiana, but Brenda returned with ...palm trees, a thousand miles of beautiful sand and surf, hard bodies and Mickey Mouse - our next destination ??....yes, must be Florida!!

As the southernmost state in the continental US, golf courses, tennis courts and water sports abound in this sub-tropical environment.

It boasts some of the most popular beaches in America, such as Miami and Daytona, as well as outstanding natural landmarks such as the Everglades, and obviously, Disney World, with its attractions, thrill rides,theme parks and shopping and entertainment venues.

With the addition of Universal Studios, Universal City Walk (an enormous dining and nightlife complex), Islands of Adventure, and Downtown Disney (featuring shops, restaurants and Pleasure Island, a hip collection of bars and clubs ...this has got to be 'the happiest place on Earth!'.

With 3 NFL football teams (Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars), 2 NBA basketball teams (Orlando Magic, Miami Heat) and 2 MLB baseball teams (Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Florida Marlins), Florida has no lack of opportunity to see the sporting event of your choice.

Mel wanted to go to Key West,

everyone else wanted to go to Disney World, (C'mon guys, you know that a whole week in the entertainment parks wouldn't be sufficient......and anyway, we will be returning to the US...) but I decided that I wanted to go the only place in the entire western hemisphere where I might see a shuttle launched into outer space!!

Yep, we went to the The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), which is NASA's space vehicle launch facility and Launch Control Center (spaceport) on Merritt Island, Brevard County, in Florida!!!

Wow, this was so cool!!.

An observation gantry on the grounds of Launch Complex 39 and the Apollo-Saturn V Center provides unobstructed views of both launch
pads and all of Kennedy Space Center property.

The Apollo-Saturn V Center is a large museum built around its centerpiece exhibit, a restored Saturn V launch vehicle, and features other space related exhibits, including an Apollo capsule.

Feroz was "over the moon" because he went to a theatre that simulates the environment inside an Apollo-era firing room during an Apollo launch, whilst Prasad went to the one that simulates the Apollo 11 landing!

We also visited a building where modules for the International Space Station are tested; and saw th
e impressive Astronauts Memorial Foundation's Space Mirror Memorial, also known as the Astronaut Memorial, a huge black granite mirror through-engraved with the names of all astronauts who died in the line of duty.

We had a million questions...but guess what? We had lunch with an Astronaut!! A veteran member of NASA's Astronaut Corps, Al Worden was happy to answer all our questions. Where is the Space Shuttle assembled and launched? How does it land? Where do astronaut crews prepare and train? etc, etc

We had a tour of NASA's Space Shuttle program and we visited KSC's
Shuttle Landing Facility, saw the massive Vehicle Assembly Building, and caught a
glimpse of NASA's gigantic Crawler Transporters.

This was totally, totally awesome.....

Hmmm, Brenda is so fortunate to be able to see "lift-offs" from her backyard!!

I think now that we have experienced KSC, my friends are not so upset that we didn't go to Disney World

...well I hope so anyway;-)

Thank you Brenda, for being such a great hostess..........We will defintely visit you again, when we return to the US.

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