Oops, I meant to say – Houston as a whole, reminded me of some suburban parts of Brisbane.
If you know Brisbane you will hopefully understand my following references.
I found that you needed a car to get around to most places since everything seems to be spread around everywhere.
It would be similar to if you lived in Springwood, Brisbane and you had to rely on public transport to get around but there is no major train station but there are buses that will connect you to one. A little painful.
I stayed in Downtown with Gambit. And just to head out to some decent places to eat required a cab (Uber) ride of approx 5-10 mins.
I feel your follow up question might be something like ‘if it’s only a 5-10 mins drive, why not walk it?’
And that’s a great question. I’d imagine that when the weather permits, a 10-20 min walk is nothing. However my response would lead to 2 other topics. WEATHER & PEOPLE (ON THE STREETS).
During my visit, Houston experienced a freak drop in temperature. Google says that during this time of year it should be around 22 degrees during the day and relatively dry.
It was not when I visited.
It was about 5 degrees during the day and wet and windy.
But most other times, the weather is hot. Hot and humid. Hello people from Queensland, does this ring a bell at all? Noone will want to walk 10-20 mins in the windy wet in fear of being swept away in a storm, or walk in an atmosphere representing the inside of a sauna.
PEOPLE (ON THE STREETS)
This will probably be the meanest thing I will say about Houston in this post. I apologise in advance.
I was only exposed to people on the streets on about four occasions and each time I felt tense and anxious. I now live in NYC. That’s a weird feeling to have since it’s supposed to be so dangerous here in the East coast city.
Now here is the mean stuff I said earlier that I was going to say:
If you haven’t gathered already but these people milling on the streets I refer to are either homeless or something similar. Basically they seemed like zombies. They were quite dormant until a non-zombie, like me, appeared and they seem to ‘wake up’. And once awake they just seem to stare and come lurk towards you for change.
I found this quite intimidating.
I’m going to wrap it up here in answer to why I didn’t just walk everywhere.
I am also quite aware that Texas has relaxed gun laws.
I was also going to reference a similarity to some people in Brisbane but I’m just going to move right along.
Houston seemed to be very spread out. Wide roads, large single storey shopping complexes (from what I saw, half of them vacant in each lot) – as if the town planners thought ‘we’ll just cover as much of the land possible with concrete and bitumen’.
In some parts of Southern Brisbane or Northern Gold Coast I would say there is a similar mindset.
I found that overall people seemed quite friendly. Besides the ones I mentioned above which I found intimidating, I found that the other people I interacted with to be quite friendly.
Brisbane if not recognised for anything are at least acknowledged for their friendly people.
If someone asked me to sum up crawfish in one sentence I would say ‘they are cute and not worth the effort’.
And Queensland have a similar local shellfish. But it’s much better.
Queenslanders – imagine peeling back a Moreton Bay Bug and finding out it only has a tablespoon of meat?!?! Yes, you’d be saying ‘what the … ?!?!?!’ That’s the experience crawfish offers. The crawfish we had were approx 5-8cm long, cute as a koala but had about a thumbnail worth of meat. A very disappointing experience.
Give me a Moreton Bay Bug or a bucket of Queensland Tiger Prawns any day. This way I won’t go home hungry.
And finally, my favourite part of Houston, similar to Brisbane, is the airport.
I was just so eager to fly home that I the hotel extra early, not wanting to miss my flight.
And in Brisbane, the arrival area is my favourite because hours later (after renting a car of course) I will get to see my family and friends.
Would I return to Houston?
Well the rodeo is on each year, so I guess I would. But next time Gambit is sent there for work, I will just meet him in Austin on a weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Houston but when I landed in New York I could have kissed the tarmac.