The 20th of March I started my first conscious trip with Miśka (the nickname of our child). She is moving now, so I can definitely feel her presence. We went to the Gordon Conference on Multi-drug Efflux Systems, which was taking place in Galveston, Texas.
Yes, it was in Texas, so I wanted to show Miśka some cowboys!!! Luckily on Saturday and Sunday (21 and 22nd of March), the last two days of the 2009 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo took place. Something especially for us!
After a 4.5-hour flight we found our new sleeping place in the Magnolia Hotel in the center of Houston. Center? Tsja, not exactly what I was expecting. There were only big buildings with companies, no old city center - its America
It was funny that you could easily see that we were closer to Mexico in the park the children were not playing baseball, but soccer!!
Paparazzi at the rodeo
On Saturday we (Miśka & me) went to the Reliant Park, where all rodeo activities took place. There was a big exhibition hall with a super-duper and probably very expensive cows and more appealing to me the Delivery corner where different farm animals were giving birth.
Of course there were also stands with saddles, cowboy like clothes and hats one for me!
Parade of the flag
Later we went for the Finals in the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series. Since it was my first and probably the only time on a show like that, I bought a rather expensive ticket which gave me an access to the first row with complimentary food & drinks It was indeed great! I could have my camera with a big zoom lens almost on the fence. Sometimes it was even a bit too close, especially when a crazy bull was running towards me. The show was great; it started of course with the national anthem and a prayer. Afterwards we saw different events as Bull Riding, Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing the only competition for women. Those cowboy-guys are really crazy, but they indeed have skills. I was especially impressed by the tie-down roping.
The next day we went to Galveston, a small city/village on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico which was rather heavily destroyed last year by Hurricane Ike. Indeed, you could still see some destroyed houses and a wrecked harbor.
Impressions of Galveston
The conference took place at the Hotel Galvez which was almost on the beach. I should mention that in Boston it was around 5°C, while there I could walk with short sleeves, enjoying a temperature of around 25°C.
Taking in some sun
The next 5 days we spent on lectures, meetings, posters and integration with the scientific community. There were many interesting lectures. Miśka was commenting them all the time (by kicking and moving). I really liked that the conference was rather small because it was easier to get a more personal contact with other attendees. Every day we got free time, which I spent sitting on the beach, walking around Galveston (I found a group of lazy Pelicans, which were begging for fish in a fish shop), and taking a trip to the NASA museum.
The Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center, which is the home of astronaut training and Mission Control. I
t was amazing to see what a rocket/shuttle looks like. There is not a lot of space for an astronaut. Strange that there is no gravitation, so the astronauts need to do everything while flying around, including bathing, eating, sleeping
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Astronaut and cockpit
On the last day of the meeting Thursday I had MY day. I was chosen to present my work. Brrr, scary, but not too much (maybe due to the presence of Miśka; after all, I should not stress her too much, should I?
Presenting the poster
The last evening we spent in Polish company. During the conference I met three Polish people: one real Polish - Dominic from Łodz University, and the emigration: Magda from Germany and Tomasz from the USA. We had a very nice evening; I miss our Polish mafia from the time in Groningen
We flew back on Friday after walking half a day in the city, and there, for the first time, I got an elephant ankles, i.e. my legs were very swollen
But we survived the flight and finally we were at Logan, where Wiep Klaas was waiting for the both of us!