Houston, We Have A Problem: Lack Of Teeth

Trip Start Jan 30, 2011
Trip End Nov 16, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I packed up my bags this morning, as has become the latest routine, and made my way into town with Sarah and her two youngest, Claire and Hannah, to collect her next Couchsurfer Crystal and drop me off in time for my bus to Houston. We stopped in at the Mercado for lunch at a Mexican restaurant before saying goodbye though, and of all the places in San Antonio to have lunch it turned out to be the place where I'd got my hot chocolate from yesterday; clearly I think like a local. I had the enchiladas, and whilst nice enough they weren’t what I’d expected when being so close to Mexico; for better souvenirs and food I’ll clearly have to add it to my list,  although the headline about thirty-five bodies being found on a road over there meant I was happy to make do with Tex-Mex meal for now.  There was a mariachi band in the restaurant, but without those stylish sombreros I wasn’t about to part with money and instead earwigged when they played at other tables; cheeky? Yes

On the way to the station we discussed plans following our return home, but whilst Crystal is ready for babies and houses, I’m thinking how soon I can go travelling again; as Sarah said, 'each to their own,’ there’s no point comparing yourself as you’ve only got one life, you may as well live it the way you want to. 

We hugged goodbye before I popped into The Cakery Bakery, where I’d been meaning to go since I stood at the bus stop beside it on my first day stuck talking to Toothless Brian; the owner asked if I was Australian whilst we chatted, but didn’t seem too disappointed when I said I was English, and even told me I didn’t have to tip; clearly she didn’t realise what a big thing it was for an English person to tip when not provoked.  She grimaced at the prospect of Dallas and Houston, but just as you must make your own decisions about life so should you make your own judgements about places, so only time will tell how I view the two cities that the majority of Austin and San Antonio would rather not visit. 

As I stood in the queue at the bus station with my bag on my shoulders I was surprised at how light it felt, but after twenty minutes in that queue it suddenly wore me down, meaning it was destined for the floor to save the skin on my shoulders from rubbing clean off.  To remind me I was back on alert mode I watched a man being led out of the station in handcuffs by a policeman wearing steel-capped cowboy boots, if only he’d donned a Stetson my experience in the Lonestar State would have been complete. 

I arrived in Houston just after six and was soon on my way to my next Couchsurfing experience, this time it was at a neuroscience graduate student’s apartment, the second neuroscience graduate I’ve stayed with on this trip, the first being my cousin Jessy on Prince Edward Island.  As we chatted at the bar with her friend Rob and the acquaintance he seemed keen to distance himself from we discovered once again how small the world is, not only did the acquaintance’s mum hail from Cardiff, but Catherine, my host, attended the same conference as Jessy over in Florence a few months ago. 

We continued drinking the Shiner Bock and I realised how stunted some communities are, as Catherine described regular meetings of the Ku Klux Klan back in her hometown, now known as the Black Panthers, one of the reasons she moved to the big city and into a more varied culture, as well as wanting to associate with more people who had teeth; I laughed at her recollection of looking around at her friends one day after playing volleyball and downing beers and realising none of them had teeth.

Whilst this was my third experience of Couchsurfing, it was the first time I’d actually had a couch to sleep on; after the initial rolling into the fold and the blasting of the fan keeping me up, I put in my earplugs and was soon away with the fairies, so much so that Catherine even left for work in the morning without waking me.   
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