This past week I finally went to Houston, Texas and visited my best friend Henda, his wife Kathy and their young sons, Eliot and Isaac. I say finally because I have listed visiting them as one of my goals the last three years on our blog. It was nice to be able to finally say that I achieved that goal this year, and nicer yet to be able to see my friends who I last saw around 3 and a half years ago.
I had a lot of fun on my visit even though Henda was a bit incapacitated with a mysterious ankle injury he did not know how he suffered a few days prior to my arrival. The first day, which was a Saturday we kind of took things easy with Henda's leg injury and the fact that I had been traveling since 3 am in the morning, finally arriving in Texas at 12:30 pm or the equivalent of 1:30 pm East Coast time which is where I departed from. My great friends Bobby and Jenna drove 3 hours from San Antonio Texas just to visit with us all for a few hours on Saturday too. It was awesome to catch up with them and I am grateful for the long drive they made just to see us.
I was a bit surprised to find that Houston looked very similar to Long Island, flat with a bunch of scrub pines. I think Long Island probably has more diverse foliage though, Houston seemed to be dominated by the tall scrub pines and a medium sized tree, whose name I do not know, with these pretty violet flowers. I only saw one of Texas' tiny little lizards or geckos which they supposedly have all over the place. He was cute but I did not remember to take a picture of him. I think the heat was too much for them or I may have seen more. The weather was H-O-T hot! Nearly every day of my visit the thermometer touched 99 degrees F or 37.2 degrees centigrade for a good portion of the day. I saw some poor (not monetarily necessarily) skinny guy running in the heat as we were going to get ice-cream one day and thought we should bring the guy an ice-cream cone (we didn't).
On Sunday morning Henda and Kathy took me to their church in Humble, TX. I liked the church service and thought that the sermon was very similar to those I have experienced in the non denominational churches up here in the Watervliet, Albany, area of New York. After church Henda's sister Michelle, her husband Brian and their children, Audrey, Noah and Bradley came over and we had an afternoon and evening of playing games and eating chicken wings. The 5 kids were able to play with each other and keep each other busy as the adults played board games.
I played with the kids a lot too during the day and I think I suffered a bit of a 24 hour sickness as a result. I was not careful about playing around with the kids and I had all sorts of dirty toys stuck near my face and mouth and wrestled around or play fought with the children. Come Monday morning I was experiencing sickness and a 101.5 degree fever. None the less we dropped Isaac and Eliot off at their baby-sitter's house and went out to the Movies at an Eat and Watch Movie theatre, where you can have lunch while you watch a movie. All three of us ordered a salad, my decision based upon not wanting to upset my already agitated tummy. The theatre did not have too many movie options but we all agreed upon and watched the movie The Secret Life of Pets. Ironic I suppose that we would drop off the kids and then all choose to watch a kids movie at the theatre. I liked The Secret Life of Pets quite a bit and will give a more detailed review of it during one of our up coming Entertainment Mondays.
By Tuesday I was feeling much better and all Five of us went to the Houston Zoo. Below are some of my pictures from our visit to the Zoo. It was very hot day (as was every day of my visit) and Kathy and I were either pulling the kids in a wagon or pushing Henda around in a wheel chair with his sprained ankle so I think Kathy and I got quite the workout. At least the Houston Zoo is relatively flat compared to the Pittsburgh Zoo, the last Zoo I had been to previously. It was also shaded fairly well by trees through much of the park.
Pictures from the Houston Zoo:
I really enjoyed the Houston Zoo. Some of the animals were hidden away in their environments because of the extreme heat. I think the highlight of the zoo visit for me was meeting Jon the Lion. I tried to roar, but Bears don't roar so good so it sounded more like a growl.
In Part II of my trip to Texas I will share my photos from The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and a picture or two of the campus that my best friend Henda teaches at.