Impressions of Houston

Last night we got back from Houston, where we visited my best friend Jackie for her birthday. It was four days of massive consumption: we ate far too much excellent food, and because we booked our hotel through Priceline’s Name Your Own Price — which gets great rates but doesn’t allow you to choose the hotel — we were staying in a hotel attached to the Galleria, the fourth-largest mall in the nation.

I don’t think of our normal life as particularly quiet, but I think it must be. I felt barraged everywhere I went, and it wasn’t until we were about to leave that I realized my cornered feeling came from the ubiquity of the ads, stores, and billboards assailing our eyes, and the crowds of people, tall buildings, and large cars which filled the landscape. Why did I feel that way in Texas but not in Hong Kong? Is it that Houston is flat (question: is Houston flat?)? But Chicago is flat too, and I love that city — but then, downtown Chicago is an architectural wonderland, and it’s on a lake. Probably we just didn’t stay in the parts of Houston we would have liked best. A quick glimpse of the bayou trails almost made me gasp, and I couldn’t help but be awed by the big, magical oaks that grace (parts of?) the city. Well, now we know for next time.

You know I’m not enchanted with a place when I come back from a four-day stay without a single photo to show for it. But it was so good to see and hug Jackie, and now I know a little more about her city, so I’m glad I went — and I’d go again.

A few of the highlights:

  • seeing Alison, her dear daughter Isabel, and this painting at their home
  • Sinfull Bakery’s vegan Everything Bar
  • the graciously proportioned main dining room at Brennan’s (starts at 1:02 on the video)
  • the view when descending into the airport at Las Vegas for a connecting flight (I do wish I’d gotten photos of that, but at that point I was tired and didn’t want to take out my camera. Mistake. Should have done it.) — this photo gives some sense of it
  • lounging in the hotel room with Jackie and talking about books 🙂

Oh oh, and in other news, this morning we booked our onward tickets from Toronto! At the end of June we will be moving on to stop #2 on our world travels: Glasgow, Scotland!!!