Taken By Texas

Hey there y’all (get me I’m a cultural chameleon!)

Having kept a diary for my entire Costa Rica trip it was easy to keep a track of the things I wanted to blog down in the ever gaping maw of the Internet. However travelling with someone who believes diaries in all shapes and sorts are ‘gay’ I wasn’t given the time of day to pen something truly brilliant, as a good blog needs time like my peace lily Steve needs water (have since returned home to find Steve is tragically no more for said reasons ‘deep inward sigh’) The point I’m making is that the next few blogs I’m going to cover my trip to America, and though it may not make sense,I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed it!

Now England and America are usually flung together when it comes to flinging things, maybe because we invaded Iraq together, maybe because we both watch ‘Friends’ a lot, we may never know, but let me tell you that is where the similarity ends. Arriving at Houston airport late one night, exhausted by our stay in Mexico City as a lay over (travelling on a budget means you will never be able to afford direct flights) the boarder of the US welcomed us with two signs ‘US citizens’ one way, and ‘Foreign Citizens’ another, with a helpful picture of all the other flags in the world. This trip was made more stressful by the fact I realised I had rocks ‘foreign objects’ in my bag and I spent a good five minutes in the que contemplating my life as someone’s bitch in jail, oh cruel fate. Luckily I got away Scott free and Miguel and I were reunited with Becca and her family friend Laura who immediately rushed us to ‘Chick-fil-a’, this awesome American fast food place that doesn’t exist in England or anywhere but Texas but SHOULD (also on that list is ‘Sonic’, ‘Dairy Queen’ and ‘Smoothie King’, not ‘Taco Bell’ England isn’t ready for Taco Bell!)

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View from the plane over Houston, seemed so unreal!

We stayed with the Smiths, Laura and her family, for a few days at the beginning and end of our trip and can only be humbled by how kind they were, genuinely welcoming us into their home and making us feel completely relaxed, which after months of travelling can be hard to do! I had an actual hot shower and, wait for it, used a hair dryer for the first time again this year! As all my clothes were for Costa Rica we had to go to the Gallaria to get some American clobber before hitting the road. It was overwhelming coming from so little to the enormity of the Gallaria, Miguel got a headache and I went hyper, Becca showed her Texan routes by taking to it like a duck to water, as Laura said when I told her how big everything was “You’re in Texas now little darlin’ everything’s big!”

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A BIG flag, of course, in a piece I like to call ‘patriotism at the mall’

Everything IS big! The houses are huge, we were in central Houston but there’s so much space the area isn’t vaguely built up and everyone has a yard, something you just don’t get in London or Paris, and you can literally build anything you want, so we saw for example a house that looked like Darth Vaders helmet. It was insane and colourful and I loved it.

Before beginning our road trip we stayed with Bb, Beccas grandma, and her grandpa Jerry, or Dizzle as he was known, in the more rural yet touristy town of Salado. Another massive misconception about America is their obesity, yes there are fat people but to be honest the ratio of fat to thin was pretty similar to everywhere else I’ve been, America is currently on a massive health hype with Bb leading the way! This utter powerhouse of a lady runs 4 miles each day and is Committed, with a capital C, to healthy living (Dizzle is too he just doesn’t know it). We had another Massive culture shock in Walmart, you could literally fit your head in a container if cheese puffs, you could DROWN in the amount of milk they had to choose from, we,didn’t obviously, but that doesn’t mean no ones tried… Choosing food for the trip was another big milestone and we ultimately got what would become sacred: a box of ramen and a kettle, which will become possibly the most valuable item on the trip along with ‘Ramen related banter’ and a possibility of ramen merchandising, the road is endless and noodle shaped when it comes to ramen.

So an optimistic start to our trip and we packed up the car, Bb was kind enough to lend us, and headed off in our big American adventure with ‘Thrift Shop’ thumping over the stereo…

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So much space!

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