Friday, September 21, 2012

Queen Mary

Today was the day that the space shuttle Endeavor was doing a tour of California sites on its final flight, landing down the  way at LAX.  I saw in the news that the Queen Mary was one of the fly by areas and that if you showed up and said you were there to see the Endeavor, you could board for free.  So what the heck, I jumped on the downtown shuttle and headed out.

It was really cool standing on the big wooden deck with hundreds of other folks waiting for the shuttle to fly by.  Besides all of us on the boat, there were lots of small boats waiting to watch, too!  This is just a few, I wanted to get a shot of the city skyline.  There were dozens and dozens of small boats off to the right --

The captain sounded the incredibly loud horn at noon, scaring us all half to death.  The next time he sounded the horn, it was because the shuttle was spotted on the horizon.

Sadly, I don't have a great picture because it flew right across the sun and was impossible to photograph, but we all yelled and waved and applauded and it was off to LAX.  So while I was on the boat, I headed off to check it out.

 The Queen Mary operates as a hotel and has several restaraunts.  This is a view down one of the halls - I love the paneling and the rails you could hold onto if you were out at sea!

 The main deck (I'm sure it has a technical name, but I don't remember what it was) has a "main street" feel with shops that have souvenirs and also some windows that are set up as they would have been when this was a luxury ship. 
 The large enclosed decks had a lot of historical cases you could read about how people relaxed while they were on board.  On this deck, people played ping pong.
 We can see the distinctive red smokestacks if we're downtown Long Beach.  During the 4th of July, the fireworks show was launched right over this ship.

I'm glad I took an impulsive trip - both to catch a piece of history, watching the shuttle fly by, and also to do a little exploration of one of our local landmarks!

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