Visiting Houston, Texas

Houston,Texas in mid November, a welcome relief from the typical late Canadian falls. While Houston isn’t the typical travel hot spot for most travelers seeking relief from the dreary Canadian fall season, it does offer a relatively cheap get away. On most days you’ll experience a pleasant sunny mid 70ish degree weather. Not too hot, nor too cold, perfect for active sightseers. But don’t forget to pack a Chap Stick and bottled water, the air in Houston around this time is very dry. Hotels will run you about $30 and up. But buyer beware, you do pay for what you get. Our $43 a night stay at the Crestwood Suites did ease the pocket book, but didn’t bag us any extras. At one point, the hotel even ran out of toilet tissue. Not something you want to happen to you after eating at one of the many authentic Mexican restaurants. Although Houston has three airports, most travelers will experience the Bush Intercontinental Airport, a good size airport that is broken up into five separate terminals. This breakup does a good job in keeping the crowd size down. This is very handy when moving through the sometimes long security check point lines. If you are driving, I would highly recommend purchasing a good road map. Houston has a ton of one way streets, all of which seems to be going the opposite way to your destination. Separated by four major freeways, Houston is a maze of non-connecting streets and feeder roads. At first, don’t be surprised if you can see your destination, but just can’t seem to find the right road to get to it. Don’t despair; you’ll quickly be accustomed to the local traffic and quirky side streets. Locally, Houston is full of malls, both indoor and outdoor plazas. A must shop is the Galleria Mall, just off I-45 and Richmond. This mall is 3+ floors with plenty of free parking. Notable stores are Macy’s, Louise Vitton and Sax’s Fifth Avenue. Along with the shopping, Houston has plenty of little restaurants. If you’re a meat lover, then Texas is the place for you! You don’t have to look too far to find some of the best “bar-b-que” in the US. This southern state certainly knows all about cooking steak and ribs. If you’re a little more on the daring side, you can always find plenty of authentic Mexican flair.

Although Houston doesn’t have any beaches, a short drive south on I-45, past the NASA space center you will find yourself in Galveston. A pleasant little beach front town. Although, the locals find it too cold to go swimming at this time of year, you’ll always find at least one thick blooded and pasty white Canadian frolicking in the surf. If you’re up for a road trip, then you must take the 2 ½ hour drive west on I-10 to San Antonio. The famous River Walk is definitely worth the drive. Seated next to the Alamo for you history buffs, the River Walk is great way to spend a day. Of our entire trip, this was a true highlight. A series of shops, hotels, restaurants and even a mall is perched on the edge of a winding river. A $12 ticket will get you on a tour boat ride up and down the river. This is well worth the cash, as you get an entertaining view of the history and culture of San Antonio while cruising along the water. If you are planning to stay the night and are not driving, you can even take one of the “Pub Floats”, a river boat version of the old college favorite, the “Pub Crawl”. These river taxis will drive you and 20 of your soon-to-be closest friends from pub to pub along the river. After a few rounds of your favorite poison, it’s back on the boat in search of the next pub. By the end of the night, you will really understand the true meaning of the famous line, “Don’t mess with Texas!” Where ever you might find yourself in the state of Texas one thing is common, the Texan’s hospitality is as big as their belt buckles.

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