Thursday, August 2, 2012

Last day on the east coast

Today was our last day in Miami and we are starting moving westwards tomorrow. Our flight to Houston, TX goes at noon. We spent the day just like real tourists do: slept in, went for brekkie, checked out few shops, had a walk on the beach and swim in the pool and a nice burger dinner at Hooters. I hope after all we have seen there Ziggy will be able to get some good night sleep. He is the one claiming never being affected by jet-lag and decided to call it "morning" at exactly 3:40 am last night.

lennies over Cb's

have a close look and guess what his name is

Lincoln Road Mall

We also managed to find a nicer and cleaner beach further north:

up-view from our hotel swimming pool

down-view from the same position

And few last shots downtown Miami:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome to Miami and ... Cape Canaveral

I always kept saying that there is one rather unpleasant thing when going to US for holidays and the rest is just perfect. That unpleasant thing was all the border protection procedures that usually made me miss the connecting flight. Things have changed since last time and despite having just over 1 hour time between planes in Los Angeles we made it and our bags did as well! After lining up for immigration we were handed out orange color "express connection" tickets and told to line up in express line. On top of that the immigration officer was smiling and joking - this has never happened to me before either. He welcomed us in US and finished up with a "thank you" in perfect Polish. So now I can officially announce that US is absolutely perfect holiday destination!
We connected to Houston, TX and finally after a very long trip ended up in Miami, FL where our trip starts. We picked up the car and made the most essential purchase the very first thing in the morning - a GPS for navigation. We figured it doesn't make sense to rent one for such a long period of time when you can get a good Garmin for as little as $100 (this would be a weekly rental price).

heading to Best Buy with a printed piece of map

Ziggy named the left building "Palac Kultury" because it looks very similar to the ugliest building in Warsaw with the same name

We haven't been to the east coast before and have to admit that it is very different from the places we know in the west. We are having about 100F (38°C) every day. It is very moist and sticky at the same time. The parallel language is Spanish. You can't even call it second language because we have the feeling that more people speak it than they do English. We love it all though.

The biggest disappointment is the famous Miami Beach. Nothing you see in all the movies: crowded with very ordinary people (not many hot chicks riding in-line skates in bikinis) and dirty (gray sand and a lot of garbage). Tons of tourist oriented restaurants with very average food and extremely offensive staff and young show-off's cruising in their modified cars with music turned on way to loud. I was expecting something a bit better that this to be honest. We found a beautiful quiet Italian place few streets away and had the most beautiful dinner ever.

Miami Beach

Versace House

a bit artificial vehicle and driver 

We made the big 230 miles trip to the north yesterday. Cape Canaveral was the destination. Definitely worth the 3.5 hrs one way drive.

entering the John F Kennedy Space Center

everyone gets a shot there

the first wow

a very welcomed cool down

The John F Kennedy Space Center is arranged in a perfect American way. There is something interesting for all: big and small and you will get a jaw drop every now and then no matter what your background is.

the beginnings of space flight

Ziggy with his new buddies

the original service arm for the Apollo mission

We took a bus tour to the shuttle assembly plant and the launch pads. It is all so impressive that it's becoming hard to describe in few words.

the famous building

the famous building close up

Zig with the one of the three original Shuttle main engines

launch pad ready to be used again August 23rd

waiting to board the bus

The bus tour included amazing Apollo launch simulation in the very original control room. Even the blast was simulated and the whole room, windows included, was shaking! Amazing experience. It is hard to believe how much was attempted and achieved with such a basic computer technology that days.

Apollo takes off to the moon

check list


the whole rocket in sections

the very original checklist

crew capsule

Today is our last day in Miami and we'll be flying to Houston, TX tomorrow. We will spend two days there and then start our big drive across the States all the way to Los Angeles. We will, of course, stop in Uvalde for 3 days to cheers for our friends participating in the Gliding World Championships there.
Let the fun begin!