Sunday, April 8, 2012

Houston - We have no problem

It was my first overseas trip and the destination was Houston, the land of rockets.Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S, in my favorite US state Texas. I like Texas for the Cowboys,ranches etc. My love for cowboys started as a kid ever since I watched the film Mackenna's gold with my father.

The very first day afternoon it was hotter than Chennai. I felt that the hot climate of Chennai was chasing me all the way to Houston. By evening it started drizzling, At night it was like winter. I referred it as a Kaleidoscopic climate,changing many times in a single day. During my stay had the opportunity to experience very mild snow fall which was a rare occasion.

On the first day itself friends took me to Walmart. So big the size of few football fields. Not sure whether they were selling football field itself. There were many Indian grocery stores where you can buy anything Indian from Papad to Pickles. If you want a change, you have few Indian restaurants like Mayuri,Madras Cafe. 

The bus facility was just great. With full AC, the solid bus seemed like a plane on the cement road. The passengers greet the driver while boarding and getting down. There was no conductor for giving the ticket. You just put the paper currency or coins, you get the ticket and the change,optionally you may swipe your bus card. The name of the next stop is displayed in running text on the top side in the front.

The public library near my place of stay, had wonderful collection of books which can be booked online and collected from the library.  Becoming a member is a couple of minutes job even to a foreigner. You can return the books even when the library is closed because you can drop the books in a drop box. The DVD section had a lovely collection of classical movies. The music CDs collection was also fabulous.Free internet facility for the members which has a computer based reservation system,which allocates the computers in the sequence once they become free.

The Galleria mall in Houston is a ultra modern mall with shops for multitude of products. The ice skating rink is an added attraction there.

One U.S festival which I am fond of is Halloween. Had seen that festival celebration in T.V news at Chennai. I liked the concept of one transforming into another with the help of costumes.  I had the opportunity to participate in a  Halloween party. Few items I purchased were, Straw hat,white gloves and an old man mask. I was proud to take part in my favorite festival in an old man get up. Later that old man get up was used to impersonate an old house owner to play a trick on a colleague who was visiting first time.

Few of us, went on a tour,covering Houston and San Antonio, a nearby city. We visited NASA in Houston. Watched many videos of space history, touched a small stone from moon (getting goosebumps even now while typing this), saw many space travel photo galleries,displays and the Saturn V rocket used for the Apollo and Skylab programs. After coming out of the NASA building in the evening,it took me few seconds to realize that I was actually in a planet called Earth which is part of the Solar system.

The Sea world world in San Antonio was another wonder. The whale show, showcased the skills and intelligence of the kill whale named Shamu. It was  also demo of understanding and warmth between human and animal. The whale was many times bigger than the trainer, which proved that size doesn't matter in love.

 The River walk in San Antonio is an artificial river. It's a small river in circular shape. Open Boat ride was fantastic. The chilling weather was stronger than my will power.There were many Mexican restaurants and bars on the river bank which looked like a platform. It was Christmas time,so the light decoration were dazzling. A play was going on in an open air theater which we could see from the boat. There were few historical buildings amidst sky scrappers. The moon looked differently beautiful looking from River walk.

There are many Temples in Houston. Was fortunate to visit the Meenakshi temple during Diwali time and Kali Temple during Durga puja time. The Meenakshi temple is a symbol of Unity of Indians outside India. It has deities like Ganesha, Subramanyan, Ayyappa, Thirupathi, Radha and Krishna and so on. The Swaminarayan temple is an architectural marble marvel. The grandness of it magnified in the twilight. 

There are few Wild life Ranches, where you can go around in your car to peep into the life of animals,birds like long horns, many varieties of goats, giraffe, double humped camel and the ostrich. The ostrich was taller than the car. You have to be careful otherwise some bullying ostrich may get into your privacy by extending its head into the car window and charge you for that by grabbing whatever you are eating.When an ostrich approaches,I am sure, even a WWF wrestler will sweat.

That's all folks. Hope you enjoyed my incredible experiences at Houston. I felt my stay in Houston was like playing the life game in a different level.  

OK. It's time to wind up and return from Houston. Fasten your seat belts! "10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,Lift off"

This article was written for the Indiblogger contest sponsored by Mahindra. The sponsor's link is given below as per the rule.


  1. you wrote this for a contest???? twas good otherwise.

    1. I wrote (typed actually) this.Thanks

  2. Superb, Vasi !!! That's a wonderful post ! Being in Houston, I am yet to visit many of these places... Your experience gives me a good idea of what we can plan over the weekends !!!

  3. Thanks Sathish! Glad this post has started helping you.