The heat is on

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Mike and Sheryl's

Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

12/08/09: Sunrise 6:30 am Houston, Texas baby!!!! . Because of Houston's extreme flatness, the sun doesn’t so much creep over the horizon as get shot out of a high powered rifle. I’d imagine being in a microwave would feel similar.....from cool to super-heated in a matter of minutes.....thank goodness for air-con......and Mike & Sharky.

Once I manage to drag Trace away from her latest fixation, a fridge with a built in ice maker and water dispenser (let’s not forget that she’s from a very small island people), we will venture out into the massive, glistening metropolis that is downtown Houston. I cannot help but think that it looks like it was put together by the giant love child of Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott using its new, state of the art, bejewelled Lego set.

But that’s just my opinion. Here we go.

Yeeeehaaaaaaa y’all. Today we tasted a slice of Texas and it was goooooo-ooood! I don’t think I’ll be able to put today into words effectively, it’s a kinda had to be there situation, but I’ll have a go anyway.

Let’s start with The Goode Company BBQ Shack, which, for want of a better term, is exactly what it was. A big old shack with a big old wooden porch out front and once inside the "shackiness" didn’t change much. Wooden floors, long battered tables, odd chairs. The walls were covered with all sorts of Americana with perhaps a touch of Mexicana in there as well. There were buffalo heads and old saddles, ancient rifles and old black and white photos of cowboys, many number plates from all over the US and the obligatory contemporary photo of someone’s son recently killed in Iraq and a stuffed rabbit with horns. Put a bunk in the corner and I’d make it home.

All the random clutter faded away once we set eyes on the service area. There behind silver containers of chicken, massive chunks of brisquet, sausages and pork....oh and some kind of vegetable....mmm and let’s not forget the incredible bbq sauce stood the most effective work force I’d ever encountered. One guy cut the meat (which you could have sliced in any way you wanted) one weighed it and put it in a plate, one spooned up the mash or rice , one did the salads and , oh god, let’s not forget , one guy dished up the bbq sauce and the greatest invention since sliced bread.....thick slices of white , jalapeno and cheese bread.....genius, absolute genius! All of this took place in about 3 seconds, then you grabbed a beer out of the gigantic ice box , sat down and consumed the most delicious beef brisquet sandwich in the world.

Beaming from ear to ear with our bellies still thanking us for putting such exquisite treats into them, we headed out into the blistering heat , passed the giant, mirror plated armadillo, standing about 15 feet high next to the main road, back to our car. Only in Texas.

A trip to the sports store was also an eye opener. The hunting section especially. Once I got over the vast array of weapons available over the counter (proof of ID. and that you’ve been in the country for more than six months and a twenty minute wait is all that is required before walking out with a fully automatic assault rifle) my eyes were drawn to what can only be described as deer bait. As the name implies, you put it on the ground, the deer come to eat it and you shoot them. Not really hunting is’s like going to McDonalds and shooting fat kids, a little too easy.

Once back at the flat Trace and I decided to go for a little walk to explore the neighbourhood. I’m sure there are guide books that warn one against this kind of behaviour but we didn’t have one and we wanted to check out the local scene one foot. Fifteen minutes into the walk my hair started melting, Trace’s shoes melted and fused into the flesh of her lower leg, they looked like diving boots. When I started going blind because of the fluid in my brain beginning to boil, we decided to turn back and sought comfort and coolness in the pub near to S&M’s apartment.

Once seated and cooled by the almighty Air-Con and ice-cold Shiner Bock beer we witnessed just how weird the Texan weather is.  We had just come in from a white-hot, not a breathe of wind experience and now,literally out of nowhere, it began to rain. I say rain, but in all honesty, it was as if the earth’s tectonic plates went absolutely berserk and caused Niagra falls to shift from the Canadian border into the parking lot outside the pub we were in and unceremoniously dump all its water onto with one massive effort. I’m prone to exaggeration, so for the sake of those with a stick up their butt, let’s call it a deluge. And then as quickly as it arrived, it slipped away, like a gargantuan, airborne elephant armed with two Super-Mega-When- You- Absolutely- Positively- Have- To- Wet- Everyone- In- The- Room water pistols. I went with elephant because it’s grey and big, like the dig ?

We stepped out into the now once again sunny parking lot passed the woman doing a sensual dance under a tree with a hula hoop........I shit you not. As I’ve said before, only in Texas.

Just when we thought I day was over, S&M whisked us away in their chariot....ok, it’s a Passat, to yet another very unique location for drinks and something to eat. We were about to enter the realm that was created by and belongs to the one they call Bubba.

Bubba’s ,from the outside anyway, looked like an abandoned house. We were nervous, but the lack of parking caused by large amount of Bubba’s patrons alleviated the stress a bit. We pushed our way through a plain grey, metal door into what quite obviously used to be someone’s house. They, I assume “they” would be Bubba and some of his gang, had simply knocked the interior walls out and filled the resulting space , as at the BBQ shack , with any tables and chairs they could lay their hands on.

There were many TV’s. Many, many TV’s, all showing various sporting events around the know....all the “ball” sports. Football,baseball , basketball, cannonball (that was on the news channel). The walls in this place were adorned with anything that explained , proved , improved, embellished or exaggerated everything about Texas. This was about as redneck as I was ever going to get.....and I was loving it. I just wanted somebody to pick up a chair and smash it over someone’s head, just to complete the picture. It wasn’t quite that bad, but my imagination was running wild.

It was time to eat. On the menu we found fried chicken, fried catfish, fried shrimp, chicken fried steak (which I have re-named American Schnitzel, a change I daren’t make public knowledge) and salad (optional) Texas toast and Hush Puppies, still a bit hazy as to what those last two actually are......but un-surprisingly the food was delicious. Texans eat to be happy, not healthy.

A fitting end to a great day
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