Girls trip to Houston

Halle and I needed a break. Second semester of junior year during a pandemic is no joke. It’s stressful! And to make matters worse, Crohn’s is rearing its ugly head again. Halle was supposed to have a colonoscopy this summer, but her bloodwork started to go downhill and so I booked her the first available slot. We’ve known for awhile that she was probably going to have to change her medication to a biologic and so we decided not to wait any longer. Hopefully the Humeria will do it’s job and we can get her feeling good by summer. 

Her procedure was Wed, and Thursday morning we were on a plane to Houston. It was the cheapest airfare to a sunny location that we’ve never been before. Unfortunately, no one told Houston about the “sunny part.” It rained and rained and rained. Our plans of lounging by the pool were ruined, but we sure did have a lot of fun doing lots of other things. 

Thursday evening was supposed to have the least amount of rain, so as soon as we landed, we jumped in our rental car to head to Kemah Boardwalk. But first, we had to grab a Whataburger. It was honestly as big as Halle’s head. Everything’s bigger in Texas. And the people sitting next to us at lunch we’re talking about how America went to hell when “they” took God and prayer out of school. Then, we saw a bumper sticker that said, “do you follow Jesus this close?” And the guy sitting in front of us on the plane had cowboy boot, a giant belt buckle and a bright red Trump face mask. Halle said, “wow! We’ve been in Texas for like two hours and we’ve already seen so many stereotypes!” 😂😂

Kemah was a lot of fun! It wasn’t fully open for the season, but it was good enough for us. There were zero crowds and a light misty rain falling.  And the humidity. In like 10 seconds flat my face was beet red and our hair was a frizzy mess. 

The best part? We got to ride a roller coaster ALL BY OURSELVES. Not a single other person aboard. It was awesome!! We tried the very front, then the very back. We both agreed the back is definitely the faster ride, but front was the most fun because you could look out over the drops and know what was coming. And it didn’t knock you around so much. 

After we had our fill of rides we shared some fish and chips at Landry’s and watched the pelicans dive in the Gulf. Loved it. We drove to our hotel in Houston and took a quick dip in the pool. We were not impressed. It was a rooftop pool, which seems cool, but it was freezing and dirty and there was no hot tub. After 10 min we quit and cozied up in bed to watch Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Such a great movie. I feel like they did justice to the book. 

We pulled the blackout curtains tight, turned on the fan for white noise snd slept until 10 the next morning. Heaven. 

We went searching with our umbrellas for a smoothie for breakfast only to find that the place were walking to was inside a hospital. And with Covid, we definitely weren’t getting inside a hospital just to get a smoothie. By the time we got back to the hotel we decided to just skip breakfast and head straight to lunch. We had Tacos at Bodegas. Delicious. I had fish and Halle had chicken. It came as a whole quarter of a rotisserie chicken along with all the fixings. Very aesthetic. 

Then we were off to the science museum. Halle found us a 40% off coupon so we got to see a show and a special exhibit in addition to the regular museum stuff. The movie was about dinosaurs in Antarctica. We are now both in love with the cryolofasarus. 

This museum has an Amazing Dino exhibit. It was fascinating and informative. They also had several mummies, and a beautiful seashell collection. 

We also saw the “I survived death” exhibit where we learned all the different natural things that could kill us. I was a bit skeptical of this exhibit, but it ended up being a lot of fun. All in all we spent 4 hours at the museum and would have stayed longer if they didn’t kick us out at closing. 

We took a walk over to Herman Park (our first of many visits) and climbed the Mound. 

Next up was the Galleria. Biggest, busiest mall I’ve ever seen. We shopped to our hearts content , AF a slice of cheesecake, and tried on beautiful Prom dresses and dreamed of a day when this pandemic is over and this pretty girl can go to Prom! Next year. Next year. 

We ended the being with dinner at Lupe Tortilla. It was DELICIOUS. The brought us enough chips and Queso to feed 20 and we put a sizable dent in the pile. We also shared some delicious fajitas. Highly recommend. 

Our movie tonight was The Dig. Big meh. 

More sleeping in and then a Kolaches tour for breakfast. We hit the Kolaches shoppe and had a bacon egg and cheese, brisket, sausage, an apple and a strawberry. They were quite tasty. Then we went to Chisty’s donut and Kolaches. The donuts were decent and cheap and the sausage Kolaches was yummy. 

The Art Car museum was next on our list. It wasn’t quite as cool as we imagined (there were only 3 cars) but we did get to see an artist riding a bike he build that had toilet paper wheels. It was a fun way to spend 15 min.

The rain was ruining a lot of our outdoor plans so we had to get creative. We hit up the National Museum of Funerary History. We kinda did it as a joke and ended up having a really good time! We learned about US Presidents’ funerals, Pope John Paul II’s funeral, all about embalming and cremation and saw a fair amount of Hearsts. Our favorite, fairly horrifying story involved this bus. It carried both the coffin snd the mourners. It was headed up a San Francisco hill when it met with an unfortunate accident that overturned the bus sending alive and not alive people flying. That was the last trip that bus ever made. 

We also saw these cool fantasy coffins that are popular in Ghana. Halle said she would choose the cow. I don’t believe her. 

We were ready for some lighter food. Kroger salad and strawberries for the win! We picnicked in the car while the rain came down around us. 

We made a quick stop to see the Houston farmers market. It was full of Mexican delights. So many spices and dried chilis. Mexican candy and fresh produce. Enormous pots that we cannot even conceive of what could be cooked inside. 

We went back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner. Then we decided to test out the Houston light rail. It was great! Houston drivers are quite aggressive  and I was glad to a break from the roads. We rode the rail  to Tacos a Go Go for dinner. Another winner. Lamb barbacoa and shrimp tacos for me and carne guisada for Halle.

 

The rain let up just in time for us to be able to go to the Miller outdoor theater at Herman park to see the Mariachi Divas. We had about an hour to kill before the concert started so we explored the park. We found the funniest ducks! They looked kinda like turkeys and would just sit and wag their tail feathers. It was hilarious. And we also found 3 baby ducklings. The were so adorable snd we watched them forever. Halle’s trip was complete. I swear she finds ducks wherever she goes.  It the ducks didn’t like me. They kept hissing at me and several chased me down the road! 

The concert was so fun. Events like this are why I love cities so much. It was fun, it was a new cultural experience for us, and it was free. Individual “pods” were painted on the grass in order to comply with social distancing rules. I am grateful to everyone who thinks outside the box and finds ways to safely put on events. 

This was an all female mariachi band that has won 2 Grammys! Those ladies can SING! After it was over I told Halle how glad I was that she is always up for an adventure. Neither of us have a particular affinity for Mariachi. But it was so fun to sit out under the stars and learn about new things. I think a lot of people would write the experience off because it doesn’t fit in their expectations of what they would find enjoyable. I have found as you just open up yourself to experience any and all thing, that by and large it is so worth it. And so much better than sitting at home scrolling social media. So, the next time you are presented with a opportunity to do something new, just do it! Even if it falls way outside of things you are interested it. Soap box over. 

Our movie tonight was Thunder Force. Kinda funny, kinda dumb. 

I woke up about 8:30 and Halle was still snoozing. So, I went for a run around Rice University. They have an awesome crusher trial that is shaded by beautiful trees the entire way. BEST part is that the sun was finally out! Hallelujah! 

We checked out of the hotel and went to Lakewood church for another new cultural experience. Texas Mega Church. It service is held in the old Houston Rockets basketball arena. Huge is an understatement. We listed to Joel Ossof preach and heard some killer music. The message was great. So encouraging and loving. I left wanting to trust God a little more and let my faith lead my actions. He focused on a scripture in Isaiah (43:19) where God said he would “do a new thing.” He taught us that God is already working to bring new, good things into our life. We have to trust that even though we can’t always see it, inner workings are going on that are leading us to the new thing God has planned for us. I’m so glad we came! 

Brunch was crepes outside  at Sweet Paris cafe. I have Apple Creme Brûlée and Halle had S’mores. Complete with toasted marshmallows. Why are crepes so good? 

We wanted to fully enjoy the sunshine so we headed to Buffalo Bayou Park to rent some kayaks. Unfortunately the current was to swift and they weren’t renting. We took a little tour of the cistern. I though it was to see a cool art installation, but apparently that was a differ t ticket. We did a history tour. The best part was when our tour guide sang at the end. There is a 17 second echo down there and it was beautiful! I wanted Halle to have a turn. We shared a Dough Cone, which wasn’t quite as good as it looked. Ice cream was all natural and delicious, but the cone was just ok. We hit the water wall for a few fun pics. 

Back to Herman Park we went to see if we could rent a paddle boat. We got there at 5:04 and they stop renting boats at 5. Apparently we weren’t supposed to get out on the water today. Instead we found our baby ducklings again and then enjoyed basking in the sunshine until it was time for dinner. Last tacos of the trip. Tacos Tierra Caliente was an old school food truck. Cheap tacos that got the job done. I can’t say they were the best we’ve ever eaten but they were filling and cheap! 

Now we are sitting on the plane flying home. We are rested, relaxed snd our adventure tank is full. Halle girl, I’ll travel anywhere in the world with you. I love spending time with you and having new experiences. You are the best travel partner. You go with the flow, don’t get upset when things go wrong, are a great co-pilot and you never say no to a treat! 

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