Two weeks in Houston.
These guys (yes, all Americans) have security issues. Walking into the airport we were warned over the tannoy that “Any inappropriate remarks or jokes at security may result in your arrest.” I love a red rag more than the next man so waited behind the yellow line, acting as sensibly as ever. The border security officer nodded for me to step forward. I did so, handed over my passport and glared at him like I meant business. He glared back at me. He meant business too. I glared harder. He glared harder. We both glared harder still. “What is your purpose in this country?” he said cooly whilst removing his Rayban Aviators. “What is your purpose in this country?” I said cooly whilst removing my symmetrically appropriate Rayban Aviators. “You messin’ with me?” he said, clearly agitated. “You messin’ wid me?” I retorted in my best Brooklyn. He nodded to his compatriate, the one with a side-arm hanging off his waist, who swaggered over and without saying a word, cuffed me and led me away. I’ll stop there as none of that is true apart from the line over the tannoy. The jumped up little fascists.
Anyway… Had the first Sunday off so hired a car and drove over to the Johnson Space Center – worth a visit. Drove on down to Galveston (oh Galveston), not worth a visit since it got hit by Ike, the storm which you heard about but not a lot maybe since Lehman Bros collapse and news of the world’s financial mess around that time. After stuffing our faces on the largest crab legs I’ve ever seen at Joe’s Crab Shack in a nice little coastal town called Kemar we drove on back to Houston. Only when we were nearing Houston we realized we’d been driving adjacent to one or two mothers of an oil field/refinery for a majority of the 40 miles from the coast. About 40 miles long I said. These people know how to consume.
Went to see the ball game one mideweek evening at the Minute Maid stadium, Houston Astros vs Philidephia Pirates. Great stuff. Very crowd-centric, although the TV commercial ad breaks were a tad lame. Since I’ve been back home I’ve been receiving NRA spam that just won’t quit. I think it must be due to a form I filled in at the baseball game so that I could get me a free Astros teatowel. Sons of guns.
A few things Texas has got right:
- Jalapenos with most meals
- Buffalo wings
- ‘The Flying Saucer’ pub on Main Street, downtown Houston. Loads of bitters, IPAs, porters from around the world.
A few things they’ve got wrong:
- Comparing healthcare reform to some form of socialism.
- And their clinical fear of communism.
At the airport before my flight home:
Waiter: What can I get you?
Me: Could I have the Buffalo shrimp please.
Me: Really? I mean was what I just ordered actually genuinely awesome, was it? Don’t ever talk to me again.
I didn’t say any of that last bit either, but I definitely thought it.
Best bumper sticker: “I love concrete”.
But otherwise it was hotel-work-hotel-work. Houston’s a big old town though, 4th biggest in the states. Looking down from the hotel window, I was thinking how we’re all just ants. Drones going about our business. This country in particular though seems to have it fairly well operational. I know you know but the place really is a powerhouse. So I left the Hyatt in downtown Houston where a Corrosion Conference was in full swing, picked up some cowboy paraphenalia on the way to the airport and flew home to my girls.
Next up: Sao Paulo.