Living in Lubbock, Texas
Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
244Trip End Dec 23, 2008
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First up some details on Lubbock. Lubbock is situated in west Texas, in a region known traditionally as Llano Estacado, meaning ‘plains’. The city’s population is 212,169, making it the 90th biggest city in the USA, and the 12th biggest in the state of Texas. In terms of population it is slightly smaller than Derby, Reading and Southampton. In terms of land area though it is so spread out that it’s comparable with Paris.
To the east about five hours away by car is Dallas, to the north about two hours away is Amarillo (yes the one from the song!), to the west is the state of New Mexico and the town of Roswell (yes famous because of the TV series and UFO incident!). The city is flat, with no hills visible in any direction. Lubbock is also a dry city, meaning no liquor stores inside the city limits. To buy alcohol outside of some bars or restaurants locals need to drive outside the city to ‘The Strip’, which is a series of liquor stores together just outside the city.
Lubbock’s nickname is the ‘Hub City’, as it is the centre of business, education and health for a large rural area known as the South Plains. The city has a university called ‘Texas Tech’, which has 28,000 students and a large campus in the centre of the city.
I am staying with Whitney and Ashton, who you may have read about earlier in the blog. They live in a single story ‘granny flat’ in the garden of Ashton’s mother’s house. Their house is in the middle of the city, in a dense, but at the same time spacious residential area. Each house in this area has a large garden, along with at least two dogs it seems
Right now in Lubbock the temperature peaks at about 85 degrees late in the afternoon. Unlike in many other places here it seems the mornings are cool, with the temperature rising gradually until about 5pm. Nights are often warmer than 8am.
My friend Neil went home on October 4th, leaving me here with Whitney and Ashton. I had thought about moving to a long stay hotel in Lubbock as I didn’t want to overstay my welcome with the Atkins family. However in the end I decided to stay here, they assured me that it was okay, and all they wanted in return was a can of Diet Coke!
This week I’ve had a guest membership of the Texas Tech ‘rec centre’, which is home to their gymnasium and sports facilities. When travelling it is hard to keep fit, and so any opportunity is worth taking. Walking around reminded me of being at university, which now seems like a distant memory.
On Friday 3rd October I arranged to meet a friend called Stevan, who I’d met whilst in Sydney, Australia in June 2007
Earlier that day Whitney had smuggle me into Lubbock High School, where she had studied years earlier. I half expected to get arrested for trespassing and deported, but all went fine and nobody noticed. Lubbock High School was notable for the amount of motivational posters on the wall, all trying to encourage students to become good citizens.
On Saturday 4th October I went to what was promoted as a ‘Mexican Hoe-down’. This was a party for a young boy heading off to Iraq. His parents were Mexican and were friends with Whitney’s mum ‘Leelus’. The party took place in a back garden, which had been surrounded with small American flags. People here are extremely patriotic, which no doubt helps recruitment to the army! I felt somewhat like an outsider, in this pro-America celebration. I resisted the opportunity to either sing the Kazakhstani national anthem (as in Borat) or create an anti-Iraq war poster and march around. Both would probably have got me shot, both would definitely have gotten me evicted.