July 05, 2004


I along with my friends(Naveen, Vinodh, Satya, Siddharth) had a road trip to South Texas for the weekend. We started off on July 2nd at 4:30pm in Mitsubishi Lancer. Our plan was to visit College Station and go around Texas A&M univ on Friday... Houston & Galveston on Saturday... and San Antonio on Sunday. We were able to execute our plans as we intended to.

On friday (July 2nd), we rented a Mitsubishi Lancer for the same price of a Toyoto Echo at Enterprise Cars. Wow! Its a great DEAL~ We soon started off for a 3.5 hours drive to College Station. Our cameras were put to use at the highway and we had fun taking pics of the flyovers, road-side ranch and the highway traffic at the circuitous roads. I had my laptop with me for some entertainment in the car - play good music, watch video songs and browse the articles that I have in my laptop.

We reached TAMU (Texas A&M univ) at 8:00 pm with ease. We then had a short gossip with Ajit and his room-mates, had our dinner at Cici's and finally, we went around Texas A&M univ along with Ajit. The univ is almost 10 times the size of UTD. Oh my god ! No wonder, it is the biggest univ in Texas. Infact, we could only go around and explore half the university in a duration of 2 hours. Ajit accompanied us during our entire stay in College Station. May be at around 2:00 in the midnight, we had a good nap at his residence.

We got ready for our trip to Houston on Saturday morn at 9:00am and reached NASA at 12:00 noon on July 3rd. We spent nearly 5 hours inside NASA. We had guided tram-tours to International Space Station (ISS) where Astronauts are trained, and to the Machine-Control-Room. These 2 guided tours snatched away most of our time. We also watched a few documentary films and played with simulation stuff. Several facts were told about what it needs to be an astronaut, purpose and performance of Mars Rover, short history & achievements of NASA, and ongoing projects. I then realized the heights in technology that a man could reach with determination. Here, they have a custom to plant an Oak tree for every astronaut who gives away his life for the mission. During the guided tours, we paused at those oak trees for a moment to maintain silence and remember those brave souls.

Galveston was the place of our immediate destiny from Nasa as it was just a 45 minute drive away from there. We had a Domino's pizza at the Galveston Beach for our late-lunch and then, we got into the sea and played with water... though the water is turbid in nature. We played with sand, watched the sea-gulls, had a running race in seawater, and clicked at a few good pics. At 9:30pm, we had our way to San-Antonio.

We started looking out for a good motel when we reached San Antonio at 2:00am. Our search efforts were in vain when we failed to get accomodation in any of them. So, we stopped our car at H.E.B's parking lot and slept in the car that night. At 6:00am on July 4th, we got up from sleep, refreshed ourselves, and had our way to visit the "Tower of Americas". This tower is 750ft high and it has a revolving restaurant at its apex. We could get a view of the entire city from the tower. There were water-fountains, flowers and greenery all around the tower and its a good hang-out spot for the youth. We then had a stroll along the river-walk and enjoyed our way by window-shopping at the shops and admiring the greenery. We had our lunch (sorry... its brunch) at "What-a-Burger" and entered into 'Seaworld'.

At Seaworld in San Antonio, our first show was "The Shamu Adventure". This show gave us the opportunity to witness the beauty of the park's biggest star "Shamu, the killer whale". We got the front few seats hoping to get completely drench in the splash. But, Shamu splashed water at people in several other places around the pool than what we had thought of. So... we came out not getting drenched. However... at the show, the camera man had captured us onto the big screen that was on display for the viewers. The whale performed few good stunts such as flying out of the water, carrying men on its back, and posing infront of the audience. Then, we went to few more shows: Rockin ski party that demonstrates various ski stunts, 'Viva'- White whale and dolphin show, 'Fools with tools'- seals and sealions show, and Riptide- athletic and fast paced show. All the shows were very exclusive, unique and admirable.

We also experienced various water rides such as Texas Splashdown and Water lagoon. At 9:30pm, we watched at some spectacular fireworks to celebrate the Independence Day of America and finally, we watched a special 4D film at the seaworld theatre. Hmmm! Guessing what could be a 4D film. Its too good ~ Its all about experiencing the effects of a 3D film with a water splasher, a blower and a vibrator attached to every seat in the theatre. For some special effects such as a water splash in the movie, water will really be directed onto your face by a water sprinkler attached to your seat. Likewise, air will be blown or vibration will be given at appropriate times while watching the movie. Well! Its something new and fascinating.

At 11:00pm, we had our dinner on our way back to Dallas and we reached home on July 5th, at 5:30am in the morning. Its a great trip... and infact, its my first road trip in US.