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Unread 8 Dec 18, 03:17 PM  
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NatsyNoo
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Natsynoo's Perfect Panamian Adventure: DCL EBPC Oct 2018 - Day 17 Disembarkation, Houston & Home :(

When planning our disembarkation today, we knew we wanted to just make the most of the day ahead. We had never been to Texas before and since we couldnt spare any more time away, we had 1 day to see and do as much in Houston as we could. And when I hear Houston, I hear Apollo 13, so we were off to NASA today!

But first, we had to endure an alarm all too early, to get up and shower and change before heading to Cabanas one final time for breakfast.

The line for express walk-off was enormous (a sign of veteran cruisers and not many children) and were off the ship and through security by 8am fairly painlessly.

We waited for the shuttle to Enterprise (which was very busy!) and we had our car and were on the road by 9am.

Our first stop was to be Walmart to get the things that we hadnt been able to in Anaheim. $55.34 later (and I literally have no idea what we got lol) and were headed towards NASA. We were there for 11am, and went straight to the tram tour of Mission Control.

IMG_1804 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

We heard about the Ad Astra Vasimr Engine (to propel people to Mars quicker to preserve their bodies for longer when on a mission), the challenges of bone density loss when in Space, the Mission Control classroom, Scott Kellys one-year missionit was fascinating! This picture is of the classroom but the footage playing behind were live scenes at the ISS. Amazing!

IMG_1797 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

On the way back to the Visitor Centre, we passed the research & training centres, and the Astronaut Grove Memorial.

IMG_1807 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

We made a final stop at the Rocket Garden much smaller than Kennedys but fascinating nonetheless!

IMG_1811 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1812 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1814 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

20181102_122648 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

We went straight round the turnstiles back to the second tour, which was of the Astronaut Training Facility. We learned that the Boeing Starliner which is in development is to save NASA from having to pay Russia $91 million per seat on the Soyuz Capsule to take them to the ISS. We also learned more about the Orion mission research, and that those Astronauts are currently at grade school (i.e. age 6 to 16) incredible!

IMG_1828 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1821 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1819 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1822 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

Orion

IMG_1833 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

The Boeing Starliner

IMG_1834 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1839 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

Once back at the Visitor Centre, we walked around Independence Plaza and went onto the replica Independence Shuttle. We didnt spend much time here though as we had only one day in Houston and had been to Kennedy earlier this year.

IMG_1840 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1851 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1841 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1847 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1846 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

I think this is an astronaut toilet

IMG_1842 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

An astronaut bed

IMG_1844 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1843 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

Once I had found the Kennedy Podium (from where he announced the Apollo Missions/Space Race), we went to the shop to buy a manet ($7.57) and hit the road. There was so much more to see and do here but we had done our big ticket items and wanted to see more of Houston.

IMG_1850 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

After getting gas ($20 which was too much for what we needed), we drove to the Galleria Mall in central Houston. This was where the Cheesecake Factory and Disney Store were so an obvious next stop!

In Cheesecake Factory, Matt had some wings, and then we both each had the Parmesian Chicken Pizza which was yummy. With drinks, this came to $55.53, plus tip.

IMG_1861 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1854 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1858 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1855 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1857 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1859 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

IMG_1860 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

We wandered around the mall, and went to Disney Store, where I bought a couple of tops for Molly (buy one get one for 50%), a Pixar tshirt for me, two Muppet Babies plushes for Molly, some PJs for Molly (detect a theme?! Lol) and that all came to $95 exactly.

I also popped into Bath & Body Works to stock up on hand sanitisers and holders, and spent $9.25.

We had a wander around more of the mall but to be honest we were all spent out and didnt have much more room in our cases, so we decided to call it quits not long after.

Our next stop was Super Target to find one last flavour of M&Ms and we lucked out! Plus they were 30% off so came to $9.66. for a couple of bags.

It was approaching the time to head back to the airport now, so we went in that direction and dropped the car off at 7.30pm.

The Houston skyline by night.

IMG_1864 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

Check in and security were unremarkable, and we sat in the departure lounge for an hour or so before boarding, just contemplating on the whirlwind that the amazing 2 weeks beforehand had been. Matt bought a Perrier, Coke and water for $8 ish in the shop.

The flight was again unremarkable. The BA crew and service offering were again underwhelming, and the seat pitch (width) was quite small but thankfully in the bulkhead we had space.

We landed ahead of time which was fantastic, and were through passport control and baggage collection before our scheduled arrival time. Our driver had been tracking the flight though so was in the terminal waiting for us. After the customary M&S stop to get milk, bread, juice and Yum Yums, we were on our way home.

So thats it. That was our amazing trip. This year, we have been so fortunate to visit DLP (twice!), WDW, DLR and DCLand next year, were heading to Asia to complete the Grand Slam, as we will be visiting Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. We cant wait!

Before I leave, here is our Walmart/Target hauls haha were still ploughing through!

IMG_1869 by Natalie Pope, on Flickr

Thank you for reading along! See ya real soon!
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Unread 8 Dec 18, 11:43 PM  
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mobeckwith
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great trippie,sad its ended xx
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Unread 9 Dec 18, 08:07 AM  
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NatsyNoo
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Originally Posted by mobeckwith View Post
great trippie,sad its ended xx
Thank you for reading and commenting x
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Unread 10 Dec 18, 10:40 AM  
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margyloveswdw
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Sounds like a fascinating day at NASA

I've loved reading about your trip so thank you for taking the time to write it and share your holiday.

Looking forward to the next one
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Unread 10 Dec 18, 10:14 PM  
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NatsyNoo
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Originally Posted by margyloveswdw View Post
Sounds like a fascinating day at NASA

I've loved reading about your trip so thank you for taking the time to write it and share your holiday.

Looking forward to the next one
It really was, I love learning about Space!
thank you for reading and commenting!
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Unread 16 Dec 18, 10:56 AM  
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princesschazy
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I've never been interested in Nasa before but your pics blew me away - super fascinating! Glad travel home day went smoothly!
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Unread 21 Dec 18, 10:41 AM  
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NatsyNoo
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Originally Posted by princesschazy View Post
I've never been interested in Nasa before but your pics blew me away - super fascinating! Glad travel home day went smoothly!
Honestly it's super interesting, just mindblowing what they do and are planning to do! I would totally recommend visiting both sites but Kennedy is more geared up to tourists. Makes a lovely change from theme parks too!
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Unread 14 Feb 19, 11:57 PM  
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Twentyyears
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Just catching up on this great report.
Definitely a cruise we want to do in the future.
We did Alaska last Sept an dlvoed it, definitely one for excursions rather than relaxation though.
Definitely looking forward to your Grand Slam Asia trip, this is the one we want to do so look forward to all your plans and tips!
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