Jun 13, 2013

Texas 2013 - Houston/Galveston

We're back from Houston! It was such a great time. I have fallen absolutely in love with Texas. The food, the heat, the people - I can't stop raving. (And Tom & I can't stop saying, "Just livin' the dream, darlin'." Heard it everywhere.)

Texas in the sand - Matagorda

We arrived on Saturday but our condo wasn't available until Sunday, so we stayed at a hotel near the airport the first night. The hotel manager directed us to Pappas Seafood House for lunch - what a way to start a vacation! We had crab cakes with crawfish, fried calamari, zucchini, and garlic toast with spinach dip, and then fried crawfish and catfish. Because it was our first time in Texas, the manager gave us free crème brûlée as a welcome gift. We had leftovers for days. I couldn't help but top the mini brownies we brought with us with crème brûlée and whipped cream. Does this not look amazing? (It was.)

brownie with creme brulee and whipped cream

Our condo was in Kemah, a little town southeast of Houston. It had plenty of light and space. The walk-in closet was absolutely huge - why in the world didn't I take a picture of it?

We had just been in World Market and admired these exact pillows, but figured since we were flying we couldn't buy them. I got to enjoy them for a week though.

The only thing missing in the kitchen was a draining rack - so Tom improvised. Clever, isn't he?

We were within walking distance of the Kemah Boardwalk - a carnival-type place with food, games, rides, and hungry catfish. You could throw pellets of food to them and they would just swarm. Kind of cool, kind of creepy. And that is the true colour of the water. Yum.

catfish - Kemah Boardwalk

The boardwalk is really pretty though and being able to walk along the water after being cooped up in planes and then the car was just what I needed.

Kemah Boardwalk

Even the police are having fun in Kemah.

 Some of the houses right at the water were amazing. I'm so jealous. Imagine the view every day?

Kemah Texas

Kemah Texas

We stopped at a bar for dinner, right across the road from our condo. It was a tiny, little place called the Loco Deckhouse that has only been open for a few months.

Loco Deckhouse Kemah Texas

We got to talking with the waitress (Hi, Mari Ann!) and she gave us a list of places to visit every night for dinner and entertainment. She started calling us her "Canadian friends" and then she introduced us to the owner as "her Canadians". We didn't hit half the places she mentioned - she has energy! - but her recommendations were perfect. After dinner the owner took us across the street to his "party bus".  He rents it out and people party while he drives around I guess. It was full of flashing lights, neon ribbon lighting, even a disco ball. This was the best picture I could get - a totally psychedelic atmosphere.

party bus - loco deckhouse kemah texas

The main reason we stayed in Kemah was to be closer to the beaches at Galveston. The owner of the condo told us that right now the beaches there were covered in seaweed, so we drove farther down the coast to Matagorda. It was lunch time when we got there so we asked our GPS for suggestions. "She" led us here.

oysters matagorda texas

It's someone's backyard full of oyster shells. Thanks, lady. So we ended up buying flautas and corndogs from the convenience store and eating them at the beach. When we got home I looked up the restaurant and right on the site it says that your GPS will lead you to the wrong address. Good to know. 

How was the beach? Well, the seaweed had made it down south as well. 

matagorda texas

matagorda texas

matagorda texas

No swimming that day. But we did  have fun walking out on the bridge and then along the jetty (is it a jetty? a spit?) to take pictures of the pelicans diving for fish. I don't really like birds but I swear I couldn't stop taking pictures.

pelicans matagorda texas

The day before we left for home, we decided to make the trip to Galveston anyway. And you know what we found? Perfect beaches. I guess the seaweed had moved along (and we had blindly followed it, of course.)

galveston sign texas

galveston texas

We didn't bring bathing suits or towels because we didn't expect to swim, so we had to settle for just walking along the water's edge. But we did come back the next day before we had to leave for the airport so we could experience the gulf waters. It was so warm! Nicer than the water in Cuba even (though I haven't been there in June.)

galveston texas

galveston texas

galveston texas

The coolest thing was the fish swimming in the water around us. They would randomly jump out of the water or would surf the waves in huge schools. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. If I'd only had a waterproof camera with me.

Oh, this was cool too. This is Callie. She's six months old and it was her first trip to the beach. Is she not just the cutest thing?

callie doberman galveston texas

The trip home wasn't without excitement either. We had a layover in DC at Dulles. The plane from DC to Buffalo had mechanical issues so we had to wait while they flew in a replacement part from Kansas. But the plane carrying the replacement part broke down as well (I'm not kidding), so they cancelled the flight and sent us to hotels for the night. (And gave us food vouchers just as all the airport restaurants were closing.) 

The next morning we got on our new plane but they couldn't get the air conditioning to work so we were back in the airport until they could bring in another plane from Albany. Because it was such a short flight home we hadn't packed anything in our carry-ons other than some snacks and a book. So, 16 extra hours in an airport with no toothbrush, no makeup, no clean clothes. (And we finished our books so we had to buy new ones - used our food vouchers!)

We were exhausted but happy to get home to the puppies. I almost cried when the border guard  said, "Welcome home!" (we flew into Buffalo and then drove home to Ontario).

So glad to be back, but I'm already planning our next trip to Texas. Just loved all y'all!

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