“Where is it now? The space shuttle?”
I frantically texted my friends at 10:15 am today while I was half-running down the street of many trees, blocking at least 60% of open blue sky above. It turns out I could not walk fast, check Twitter feed, and look at the sky frantically at the same time.
Fortunately one of them responded shortly after, “10:15 at Oakland, GG Bridge now.” Plus a helpful, just-one-click-away twitter feed documenting the Endeavour’s last flight (large dubbed “the victory lap”) as it happened. I love WhatsApp.
So I basically have about 7 minutes to reach a place with clear view of the skies, I thought to myself.
Oh, this is the only time when I wished all these beautiful, towering trees were flattened….little did I know that 400 trees are to be cut down to accomodate Endeavour’s ground trip.
Soon enough, I reached an open clearing….and spotted a woman on an elevated Caltrain track in orange SF Giants sweatshirt, clutching a small camera, CLEARLY not waiting for the next Caltrain. I hopped up the stairs to join her, but when I reached the top of the stairs, there it was…so far away to the north, Endeavour piggy-backing on Boeing 747. Damn, it’s so small!
Disbelieving, I turned to the SF Giants fan, pointing at that moving large dot at the north, “Is that it? Endeavour?”
“Yes, it is!” She said, half-excited, half-not-excited, perhaps sharing my disappointment of it being so far away.
“Oh man, why is it heading west instead?” It looked like the 747 was determined to get Endeavour hidden from view; it slowly disappeared behind the hills.
“It would be a miracle to spot it there,” the SF Giants fan started facing west towards a small clearing between two busy hills near 280-South entrance.
Thinking that Endeavour was heading west to trace 280-South, I texted my disappointment to my friends. And then…
“THERE IT IS!” The SF Giants fan shouted excitedly.
Lo and behold, it WAS the Endeavour, emerging from behind the hills from the northwest heading to southeast direction, giving us full, uninterrupted view of once-in-a-lifetime-awesomeness.
Would those slew of people waiting for Caltrain know what they see? How amazing the sight was?
Did they even care? I don’t know.
But this I am 100% sure: I got really happy, really giddy, and really humbled and thankful that I got to arrive at the right place and the right time to witness this historic moment.
And then Endeavour slowly passed us, the SF Giants fan and I, who furiously took pictures with our respective camera. I could not recall how many “Oh my God!” we have uttered between the two of us, but I’m sure it was many. Vaguely somewhere behind us, there was an excited, high-pitched “Wooooo!!!!” going on.
Soon enough, it disappeared from our view.
I attempted a conversation with the fan, “I can’t believe it….it’s amazing, but it’s so sad. No more space shuttles after this, huh?”
“It was amazing, isn’t it?”
“We just saw something extraordinary, didn’t we?”
“Give me a high five!”
And she gave the a very enthusiastic high five.
Feeling very satisfied and pumped up, we exchanged our “Have a good day!” “Thanks, you too!!” and went on to continue the rest of our respective Fridays. And what a Friday it was, a very happy Friday with amazing mood all over.
So thank you Endeavour, for you made my Friday (and I’m sure a lot of other people’s too) an awesome Friday. Thank you for the encounter, brief as it was. It was about 25 minutes to 11 am.
Until the next space exploration starts,