Friday, September 11, 2009

Kennedy Space Center and the Grackles

Today we set off for the Kennedy space center, which is a 2.5 hour drive from here .
After a little while, we had to fill up because I did not know if they had like Shell Ultra Stations en route and running out of petrol was not cool.
So we turned off and we found a petrol station.
This is not as simple as telling Philemon " Maak voll en wees vinnig"
This was a whole new learning curve, because the pumps are operated with a credit card.
Ours obviously did not work, because we have an international card, so no local billing address.
So then you have to pre-pay with cash. No problem there, except, how much do you need to fill up your tank?
"Good morning sir, How much do you need?"
"Ah just give me a full tank, please."
And then to operate this thing

Press the buttons Dude.............
We hit the toll road first and promptly went through the pre -paid side, which has a warning that they take you photo and fine you $100.
Frack, there were no signs that said-- THIS SIDE FOR STUPID TOURISTS!!!
So when we left the petrol station we got onto the wrong side of the highway, so we were going back the way we came. FRACK!
So we went through another pre-paid section --They call it Sun Pass. ($100 fine)
This brought us across the highway and then through another Sun Pass toll ($100 fine) Frack! ($300)
Anyway, we carry on and on and on and on and on --and after about four hours of driving Anne, my erstwhile navigator, figures out that we actually on the wrong highway. AHA!
This became apparent to her because there were signs that said
So we turned right and after four more toll gates we got to the Space center.
Oh, Boy.

I was there 27 years ago and it was much different then.

They search you like you boarding an aircraft, watches off, metal detectors, beefy security guards, all very creepy and intimidating and definitely paranoid.
Sort of takes the fun out of the"Ho,Ho,Ho,Here We Go!", if you get my drift..

One of those picture that prove you were there.
I am not going to put any more pictures of the center in because frankly there are none really worth it.
The place was more like a theme park, with Imax theaters and bus rides where you photograph things through the windows like miles away.
This has, as the bus tour operator explained, all to do with federal funding for NASA.
From funding of 7% of the federal budget to one sixth of one percent today.
And that people are more interested in Michael Jackson's demise than science these days.
Nothing like I remember all that time ago, when Michael Jackson was black and male.......
As the elderly lady wistfully said at the check in counter--"It all changed after 9/11"
The drive back, needless to say, was quite short :) :)
And speaking of driving, man'o man but the Americans drive well. Really well.
Always put out their flickers.
Always polite, even the truck drivers.
In fact yanks, are fracking polite people, full stop.
And I swear in 800 kilo's of driving I have seen maybe two tins lying in the road or highway.
Unlike in Botswana or St Maarten, where it is potentially feasible to mine the road for aluminium, there are so many cans lying around.
I think the thing is a basic discipline
The public don't litter.

You got to admit, these grackles are very clever,

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