Houston: We have cool space stuff!

3/6/22

I’m in the land of NASA! I hadn’t thought much about that ahead of time, and actually the NASA stuff is quite a distance southeast of town—and mostly geared toward kids, from the tourism perspective—so it’s unlikely I will be visiting it during my stay here.

But! My wonderful Warmshowers hosts Ken and Liz have been great tour guides during my brief stay with them, and they recommended two other nearby attractions that seemed related.

The first was a traveling virtual reality exhibit that is kicking off its tour here in Houston (quite possibly because of the city’s NASA connection, though I don’t know for sure.) It is called The Infinite, and Liz and I visited it today. I can say confidently, if this exhibit comes to your town, go! It is basically a VR tour both inside and outside of the International Space Station. The presentation lasts about an hour. You get to walk around a big room with the VR goggles on, so it appears as if you are either in space, looking variously at the earth, the stars, and the exterior of the space station; or you are inside the station, watching videos of the crew explaining things to you. It feels like you’re right in the room with them, all floating around together! It was a really cool experience.

After The Infinite, we came back home and I took a brief nap, and then we all headed out to Rice University, about nine miles away (which is considered a “short distance” in Houston, with its urban area of 665 square miles). Liz worked at Rice for a number of years, so she was very familiar with the campus. The outdoor art installation we went to see, the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyscape, was a simple structure on the top of a small hill, with a cool multicolored light show that begins just after sunset. Sadly, the show didn’t seem to be running tonight, but even just the single color of light looked very different from all the different angles, so it felt cool to just walk around, and sit in different upstairs and downstairs locations, to feel the space and the atmosphere.

After we left Rice, we headed over to their neighborhood Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant, Govinda’s, which holds all-vegan nights three days per week, including Sundays. We enjoyed the wonderful buffet, which reminded me a bit of the Hare Krishna vegetarian buffet in Dallas, Kalachandji’s, a couple of weeks ago.

It was a very full and multifaceted day. I haven’t even mentioned that their adorable one-year-old grandson was over at the house most of the day, since his parents sadly came down with food poisoning last night. We took him over to the park next door to play on the swings and slides.

I’ve made the decision to extend my time in Houston, to maximize the best weather in New Orleans, and hopefully also in Atlanta. However, that means I’ll be experiencing the rain here instead for the next few days, so it’s possible I will miss a day or two of blogging, if I end up staying indoors.

Never a dull moment! What a wonderful adventure.

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