Friday, April 14, 2006

Off to Texas

Or should it be down with Texas?
Darlings, your very own Grande Enchilada is decamping for Houston, TX this weekend. I, who swore not to visit any red states, am going for family tour of duty to Houston. That is if my plane does not explode or collapse or something horrible happens in the air. Cross your fingers.
I'm actually looking forward to seeing my itty bitty enchiladitos nephews and to revisiting the mythical Galleria mall, which is going to be closed on Easter Sunday. Last time I was there I must have been like 8 years old. I want to see what changed in the life of the mall since then.
Today, I went to Barnes and Noble to look for a tourist guidebook that could enlighten me about what the hell to do in Houston, TX and there was none. There were Texas guides, Austin guides and San Antonio guides, but no Dallas or Houston guides.
I want to go see the former Enron headquarters.
And I want to eat good BBQ.
I won't go to the NASA Space Center because I've heard it's kind of a rip off.
I'm renting a car. Should be fun to drive. As a New Yorker, driving outside the city becomes sort of an extended amusement park ride, since I never do it anymore. I'm afraid the freeways are so huge and straight and boring I am going to crash into the median wall.
To be fair, Houston has a couple of interesting art museums which hopefully won't be closed on Easter Sunday. But then again I have a couple of tiny nephews who will not be interested at all in shlepping to a museum. So I guess that leaves us with the Houston Zoo or the icky covered pool at the hotel.
I used to go to Houston with my parents when I was a child because my dad had terrible allergies and he used to get treatment in Houston. They told him he couldn't eat anything red, potato skins or orange peel, but he could eat potatoes and oranges. No pork, no shrimp, no coke, no chocolate. I don't think he listened.
We used to stay at the big ass Shamrock Hilton and be amazed at the fact that outside there were no sidewalks (or they were very narrow and not suitable for walking). My dad insisted upon walking and everybody looked at us like a relatively well dressed family of homeless. I had the best hamburger I've ever tasted in a place called "Across the Street" which had the magnificent gimmick of a red phone in every table that you picked up and ordered your food into the speaker. In my seven year old mine, this was the coolest.
But I also remember that Houston always gave me the creeps. There were no people, no streets, the downtown was eerie and unwelcoming, and all there was to do was hang out and ice skate at the Galleria. Coming from Mexico City, it did not seem like a proper city to me. Just a jumble of huge freeways, punctuated by solitary, glass enclosed buildings here and there. If you've ever seen Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas, there is a scene when Harry Dean Stanton (aka as I Love That Man) arrives in Houston to a bank that has a window for car service. There aren't even human tellers. The isolation and loneliness struck me exactly as I remembered Houston from when I was a little girl.
I passed by Houston recently for some Beckettian focus groups. I remember we drove on the GW Bush Freeway (they also have an airport named after him or his dad) for about an hour and a half and all I saw were megachurches with huge parking lots, IHOPs and Hooters. Still, I'm looking forward to a change of scenery.
So long, y'all.


  1. I wish I had known I would have suggested you visit the Meinl Collection, they have lots of Joseph Cornell and Cy Twombly.

    Also you can't miss the Orange Show:

  2. karie2:08 PM

    Judy, I walked to the Galleria from my hotel a few years ago and about every 300 feet a motorist stopped and asked me if I needed a ride. People were greatly concerned for me.
    My 7-yr-old self also adored Across the Street (I lived in Oklahoma and we had them there too...). The shiny red phones, the curly french fries, the celebrated Dolly Madison cake (only for birthdays)... --Karie