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Thread: Houston! My Holidays, 2006.

  1. #1
    CanadianNational Guest

    Default Houston! My Holidays, 2006.

    I spent the holidays down in Houston Texas. I don't even know where to begin to describe it - except by and large it was not a warm and fuzzy experience. My brothers and I, visiting family, were encamped out in the suburbs of Houston - somewhere in the hundreds of square miles of it that encircle the city - near NASA, the Gulf, and a semi-exclusive enclave called Friendswood. Endless strip malls, power centres, eight-lane roads, dead-end or nonexistent sidewalks, freeways, driveways and parking lots.
    I have never seen a place so car-dependent. Completely scaled to the automobile, getting around was an alienating and aggravating experience, to say the least. Especially seven days of it, being shuttled around from sealed place to sealed place.
    Areas of downtown Houston were lovely, but by and large, the place is an unplanned jumble, carved up by freeways that make the Gardiner look small.

    Approaching Houston:

    I'll never complain about the St. Lawrence Centre again...

    Downtown was a Philip Johnson-fest, with the NCNB Center....

    The view from the informal observation deck up in the 1,000 foot JP Morgan Chase Tower - an I.M. Pei creation from 1981.

    Johnson's Pennzoil Place....

    and the building formerly known as Transco, now the Williams building...

    Tired of being crammed into a car out in the suburbs, I decided to take a walk to my family's house. It turned out to be a very interesting seven mile-walk through various modes of wasteland.

    View from the front of the hotel - the back of a strip mall across a parking lot!

    Crossing a street....

    Darkness Falls.....

    and when it's not glitzy and new....

    One sees things that jolts our Canadian sensibilities. Personally, I spent a lot of time at the firing range, as my step-dad is an ex-Marine sharpshooter who wanted to impress on us the virtues of gun-shootin'. Urgh.

    Out to the country at last. It reminded me of Southern Ontario with palm trees. Very flat. Very. F-L-A-T.

    At the hangar (at 'Skydive Spaceland') where we did our jumping. A new thing for me! Free fall from 14,000 feet (about two-and-a-half miles) at 120mph, to 6000 feet, when you pull the cord. Had to do it a bunch of times, as it was a hoot.

    So, I'll leave it on a semi-upbeat note between the assault rifle firings, skydiving and Philip Johnson. A most interesting holiday, all in all.

  2. #2
    RJR123 Guest

    Default Houston

    Well, those pics make for an easy decision if one was ever contemplating visiting Houston for pleasure.

  3. #3
    bizorky Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    You said "hoot" but didn't "y'all" so you are not severly altered by the experience.

    I did note the Waffle House sign in one of your images. While driving to Atlanta, the appearance of those signs were always an indication that an inhabited place was nearby. It was usually a smaller town already hollowed out by a mega-WalMart.

  4. #4
    ganjavih Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    Your pics are fine but man, what a depressing looking place.

  5. #5
    Observer Walt Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    Thank you for the pictures. As with so many American cities it appears (from your pics at least) that few people live downtown. A sure recipe for a sterile-looking place.

  6. #6
    tayser2 Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    screw taranna, I'm going to hoosten.

  7. #7
    yyzer Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    CN, at least you missed the brutal heat & humidity they have there in summer....but I am not sure that walking 7 miles was such a safe idea, especially after dark...unless you had that assault rifle with you......

  8. #8
    building babel Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    A ghastly looking place in general, but with a couple of distinctive skyscrapers that we'd be proud to have here.

    And that intriguing little concrete brutalist structure with the small towers - what is it?

  9. #9
    allabootmatt Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    Looks like a very impressive skyline but not much else. Pennzoil Place is spectacular.

    Did you go skydiving in an ex-Canadian Airlines plane?

  10. #10
    bizorky Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    Concerning the last images.

    That looks like a Twin Otter in Canadian Airlines livery.

    An antique.

  11. #11
    CanadianNational Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    A Canadian plane?! Now wouldn't that be interesting! Not to mention an antique...!
    Here's a pic of us getting on it (plus an entirely gratuitous skydiving shot of me jumping tandem out the door on my first jump...)

    Oh - I looked up the brutalist building in the pics. It's called The Alley Theatre. A performing arts centre.

  12. #12
    AlvinofDiaspar Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    Thanks CN. All I can say is, "Houston, we've got a problem".


  13. #13
    Ed007Toronto Guest

    Default Re: Houston


  14. #14
    samplain Guest

    Default Re: Houston

    WOW. Thanks BB. Ive never referred to anything as ghastly before, but definitely fits here.

  15. #15
    scarberiankhatru Guest


    Suburban Houston does have some cool stuff, like Katy's scale replica of the Terra Cotta Army: maps.google.com/maps?f=q&...4&t=k&om=1

    Images like this one:

    Always make me think of this song:

    I married my wife in the month of June
    Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, now, now, now!

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