Saturday, March 24, 2007

to infinity and beyond

Space Shuttle Discovery
Originally uploaded by

People stay here on full nights and say: "That's the weirdest room I've ever stayed in."

Cindy Schellenberg, desk agent at the Best Western Space Shuttle Inn near the Kennedy Space Center, commenting on the Inn's "Space Shuttle Fantasy Room" in this morning's New York Times.

The Space Shuttle Fantasy Room includes:
  • Room for two in a "Space Shuttle bed" surrounded by the stars and planets

  • The ability to "soak in the jetted tub as a Space Shuttle lands overhead"

  • Complimentary champagne and scented soaps

  • A mini-fridge

But it'll cost ya an extra $60/night.

I worked a gig for Reuters News Pictures during APEC in '93, coordinating photo-ops with Asia Pacific Rim leaders and their lackeys -- and learning the hard way that in Asia the surname takes the lead (humiliation was my teacher).

After a week's worth of excitement (which included making eye contact with Wolf Blitzer while he scarfed a quick lunch over a trash can) I went out for a meal with the photographers, and asked one old timer -- a real sweetheart who sported an uber-security clearance badge -- out of everything that he'd done and seen in his work, traveling the world as a photographer, what was the most amazing thing of all?

His answer surprised me.

"Any Space Shuttle launch."

He said to be up close, and feel the force and power of liftoff shake your whole body and drench you (with what? rocket fuel, I would imagine. or something very like it.) was unbeatably the most amazing thing he had ever experienced.

And this guy had seen a lot.

The Space Shuttle will be launching no more after 2010. Today's piece in the NYT -- The Shuttle May Go, But the Stories Will Linger -- talks about how that decision will impact the town surrounding the Space Center.

So if you're eager to book that Space Shuttle Fantasy room while there's still a space shuttle to fantasize about, here's the contact info (but don't try to book it online: the website throws a disconcerting error that reads: "This website is no longer able to accept online reservations. If you are the owner of this website please contact accounts receievable [sic] immediately." You might want to bring cash.):

Space Shuttle Inn Kennedy Space Center
3455 Cheney Highway (Route 50)
Titusville, Florida 32780
(321) 269-9100

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