Monday, July 1, 2013

Houston, we have a problem!

Have you noticed how hilarious all my blog title references are? I know, I'm a comic genius! Though really, I arrived 12 hours later than I was meant to after 2 days on a bus, not so fun. However, the rest of Houston involved no problems at all!

After Vegas I was pretty run down and with the "sit in a small metal box with 40 other people" aspect of public transport I immediately caught a cold. So, by the time Rosie (my Mum's cousin) picked me up at 11pm two days later I was quite ready to be whisked to the country and put to bed!

After a night catching up on sleep I tagged along on her way to work. I wandered around the grounds for as long as I could stand the heat while Rosie was being productive and I stumbled across this little guy:

 Can't see him? Look closer!
 He saw me and came cruising over. I was feeling very smug that I'd seen him when he probably wanted to eat my until he made a sudden movement and I... ran away. Less smug after that!

Rosie was incredibly welcoming and had organised for me to be shown round (babysat) by a family friend's son - Miles. So she dropped me off there in the afternoon. We hung out in the pool and he showed me his dog Alfie who is pretty pawsy on a skateboard!

I also got my first taste of Tex Mex! We grabbed lunch at a little place down the way which was delicious. We also hit up a local bar for some pool in the evening (I won!!). Unfortunately I was pretty patchy with photos in Houston so none of this is documented!

The next day I was left to my own devices which largely consisted of me sleeping in. However, I managed to get some paperwork done and in the afternoon I took Stonewall - one of Rosie and Tom's dogs for a walk. He's a great dane and comes up to my waist!

I haven't been in the country almost the whole time I've been travelling.Well, not farming-type country anyway so Texas in summer, while overwhelmingly hot, was also very welcome. Just look at how idyllic it is!

(Yes, there are gratuitous tree shots)

 There are even frolicking horses!

Houston seemed to be dog central! Rosie and Tom have two giants - Stonewall and Boris, while Madison (who will pop up later) has tiny Cookie, and every house I went to seemed to have at least one. So here are the horse-dogs I was staying with for the week.

 Boris is very tired from the heat...
 Try to gauge the size of him!
Rosie took Friday off and we had a pretty packed day.

We began early by getting some of the frames from her beehives for harvest. I was excited to put on a beekeepers jacket and hood, though it's Rosie in the picture.

Also, a word to the wise - bees can sting through denim! I am now the proud owner of two red bumps on my legs.

Then is was a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up for the dinner party that evening before we went to pay a social call to Roly - Rosie's horse.

The heat affects everyone, including the animals, so we kept it short and dropped Roly off in his air conditioned stall (well, he has fans) before popping over to the Redneck Riviera (Brazos River).

We had some ginger ale and floated around on blowup rings. Not a bad afternoon and there weren't even any alligators! (We checked - you have to do that in Texas apparently!!)

I met my first 'Real Texan' who had a twang and drove us back to the car in a show of Southern hospitality.

That night we had a dinner party which I have no photos from as I was far too busy socialising! Rosie's workmate's husband is a Kiwi so I chatted to him about home which was lovely.

Rosie and Tom are also British originally and Rosie made a giant pavlova which I decorated.

 Look at that beauty.
 The proud parents.
 Fourth of July is coming up (which you'll immediately get if you're American or have seen Independence Day, if not, Google) so we bought some patriotic brownies - look at NZ and the States hanging out on my dessert plate!
On the Saturday Miles and I drove out to College Station, a nearby town which is, somewhat transparently, a college town, based around Texas A&M. My friend from Disney, Madison is doing summer school there and gave us a few lessons in the Aggie way of life.

 The story behind this statue is that he was an awesome professor. So awesome that his students wanted to reward him somehow, he told them not to pay him and so instead each deposited a penny on his desk after exams. (Madison, correct me if this is wrong. Also, I suppose a penny doesn't count as paying but the timing being immediately after an exam is amusing.) He's since passed away but it is now Aggie tradition to place a penny on the statue for good luck before exams.

 I jumped on that bandwagon!
 The Century Tree is another A&M legend - if you walk under the arch of the tree with someone then you will be with them forever, alone and you will be forever alone. Quite intense but very sweet as A&M couples often get engagement photos there!
 The last Aggie tradition I was told about was about the seal below. Each graduating class donates a seal and if you walk over the seal before you've graduated it's bad luck and you won't graduate. Eek!
 We went to cool off inside and on the way saw this overheated squirrel relaxing on one of the benches!
 We ran around the merchandise shop for way too long!

 Then we headed over the the Dixie Chicken for some lunch. College Station certainly has a 'Wild West' theme going.
Maddy felt the Aggie Spirit at a chocolate shop!

That night I was taken out in Houston town by Evan - another family friend (read babysitter!) whom I'd met at the dinner party. I met some of his friends and away we went.

 The area was pretty but when I'm being shown around I have a nasty habit of not paying attention to where I am so... this could be anywhere in Houston as far as I could tell you.

 Unfortunately dips were not on the cards.
 Some of his friends were more interesting than others...

I fell into bed later that night and only just managed to make it to a baseball game the next day! Evan was again on mother duck duty and opted to take me to a Houston Astros vs LA Angels game. I got into the spirit of things with a borrowed cap, a newly bought shirt and a hot dog!

We lost. Do you remember my ice hockey post? I may be bad luck at sports games!

Still, it was fun to go along and see what the fuss is all about, especially with a local who knows the rules and didn't get too mad when I clapped for the wrong team... whoops.

Then it was a quick dash out of town to a dinner with some of Rosie's friends who, of course, owned dogs!

They live in a beautiful community, but we're in Texas, so of course there are alligators in the river. That didn't stop some brave boys swimming over to our side and they were rewarded with beer.
 We had some wine outside first until the heat and the bugs got to us and we sat down for a delicious dinner. Not a bad last night in Houston!

P.S ~ Mum - did I get enough photos of me with family??
P.P.S ~ Rosie and Tom - thank you so much for having me, was lovely to meet you and your giant children and I hope I don't get you sick!

No comments:

Post a Comment