Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 3 (May 19, 2010) - I

The first thing that struck me about Houston, as I stepped out of the Hotel, into the 'real' world, is that this City is very similar to Mumbai - weatherwise. Reasonably hot and very humid.. Humidity is because of the proximity to the Ocean. The Gulf of Mexico is just a 45 minutes drive from the center of the City - I am told.

I laughed at myself - for having carried a jacket, and also a sweater, depending upon how uncomfortable I would be due to cold weather ! I hope that in the next ten days, I will encounter weather that will make me pat my own back and tell myself "See - I told you - it will be cold somewhere in the US !"

I am a little more educated about Houston than I was when I arrived here. Its a City very cosmopolitan in nature, with a reasonably big Indian, Chinese and Hispanic population. It has a relatively large "Chinatown" area too. Houston also happens to be a center for Science and Arts - particularly Theatre. And of course there's NASA. Who can forget the famous lines from the movie Apollo 13 - "Houston - We have a problem" - the calm voice of the commander of the Apollo flight when he first passed on the message to the NASA center controlling the mission, about the impending doom, when everything went wrong with the spacecraft.

Due to proximity to Mexico, there is a lot of 'Spanish' influence. Particularly Spanish food. And we sampled some of it when we stopped for lunch. I chose something called "Shrimp Cherana" with rice and salad as the 'asides' The waitress dutifully pointed out at the single red chilly sign against the item name, on the menu card. It was spicy she explained. I decided to challenge myself, armed with the confidence that as an Indian I am used to spicy food.

Turned out that I made a sensible choice. Excellent stuff. And as far as the 'spicy' bit goes - well it was as spicy as ordinary Indian food cooked at home ! One man's (normal) food is another man's poison...

The only problem is American restaurants are a bit of a challenge for a small eater. The helpings are huge.

I now wait at the airport , as I prepare to leave Houston for Charleston in West Virginia. This is a tough leg, that will involve a six hour journey including a stop over at Charlotte to catch a connecting flight.

As the waitress at the check - in counter remarked - when my bookings appeared on her computer screen - I have a lot on my plate over the next ten odd days..

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