Monday, April 04, 2005

Houston Roundup

So to speak... Ba Dum BumP!

Sooo, some of the highlights of the trip to Houston, now that I am back home and the dust has settled.

The full-line Marriotts still charge for High-Speed 'Net connections, and having to revert to dial-up speeds is a real shock. Thus the lack of posts while on-site.

Here are the High-lights:

Epicurean delights:
Two types of Tex-Mex, both the traditional, which was excellent and chosen for it's free WiFi and the night before, Tex-Mex Seafood. My first experience with the Mexican take on the Frutti del Mare was in Boston almost 20 years ago. I also had a wonderful meal at a fish restaurant in Madrid back in my International travel days. It can hardly be a surprise that a country that basically IS a penensula should feature sea-food on it's tables. For some reason, it seems rare here with their descendants.

Also had a lovely Diner meatloaf plate special at the place across the street from the Half-Price books. (See below.) Started with tortilla soup and actually got to live (and relate to my server) the "waiter, taste my soup" joke...

The pilgrimages:
Years ago, when they had just begun, I was visiting my great-good college friend who was then studying/living in Silicon Valley. He introduced me to the wonder, the geek-fix, the EXPERIENCE that is Fry's.

Things have changed through the years, (remember when you actually went to a STORE to buy software?) but Fry's is still a wonderment to a propeller-head like me. (It may have been that first trip, I remember visiting their extensive magazine-rack with Perry and finding a magazine which mentioned his research. Now-a-days, the rack at the major chains have technolory rags galore.) The Houston location usually requires a long trip, as it is up in the Northern reaches and I usually fly into the older Hobby airport (features free WiFi according to one site i surfed) but not this time. Caveat: Texas highways, with their access-roads (don't get me started) being what they are makes this much farther than it might seem to anyone that has not experienced the Lone-Star road system - translation, in spite of this description, the store is actually a couple of miles from my hotel... ANYWAY, the Marriott was one exit away from the Hwy loop 8 (Sam Houston Parkway)/I-45 interchange. Head South to the first exit (West Rd.? St.?, whatever it's called West- thought it runs East-West as far as I could discern...) Drive half a mile down the outer road (see Caveat) and THERE U R!!!!

In Addition I managed to figure out that the new Webster store was also in the Houston area, al-be-it WAY down South by NASA. Over 30 miles, one-way, according to the mapping software. Unfortunately, this, unlike many Fry's locations in CA, is a newly constructed location. The mapping software was wrong. To the tune of 25min of extra trekking along various lovely Texas high-ways and side-roads. Lesson learned: Look at the addresses on the buildings, don't just trust that handy-dandy mapping site... Now, as far as the city engineer of Webster is concerned, dear sir/madame, please pay close attention: The EVEN addresses are on the WEST side of I-45!!!!

Finally arrived and set a new mile-stone. I have been to every Fry's location in California on various trips. I hope to complete the tour someday. I was actually at the Webster location the day BEFORE the Grand-Opening! If I can keep this up, I can reach this goal! (DANG! The check-out lady reminds me that the Sugar-Land location is also within 'Greater Houston'! Oh Well! Guess I have something to do on a return trip!)

An Finally:
On the way back up to my temporary home, up by the GHW Bush Inter-Continental Airport. (See last week's post.) Read: Half-way to Tex-Arkana. I made an extra, unnecessary but never-the-less vital stop: Half-Price books on Westheimer. I first encountered this wonderful chain in Texas (San Antonio) and have, on various trips, visited every location in San Antonio, Austin and Houston. I don't need any more books (I have more great reading queued-up than most Americans read in a decade. I should be good for 9months or so... ;->), and can now visit one of two locations near my home base. But if I didn't stop this would be the only trip I have ever made to Houston with a trip to Half-Price. (Yes, if the 60+ mile trip to an electronics emporium hadn't already convinced you, I admit it, I am a certifiable. I visited a Half-Price bookstore in Cincinnati once before it opened. Not before the grand opening, mind you, but while they were still having the employee orientation meeting and putting up shelves. I count that as all locations in Cinci, but really need to get back when they have stocked the place... '->) So I went and did find one tome and had a lovely supper (See above.) and headed North.

And I even got to go home early!


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