Thursday, March 5, 2009

Houston observations

I spent several days wandering around Houston this week (yes, on purpose even!). Some things I noticed:

* You can see the effects of the hurricane, mostly in damaged signs (McDonald's arches seemed to have a particular problem holding up) and skewed street signs (making navigation occasionally interesting). But if you aren't looking closely, things seemed pretty normal.

* I met some very nice, helpful people. Just about every time I pulled out the map to inspect it, someone asked if they could help me find something.

* Wow, do a lot of people smoke.

* I saw a large number of homeless people, more than I've seen in other cities I've walked around in. I also saw a huge number of cops.

* There are a bunch of interconnecting tunnels under downtown, going from building to building and to the underground parking lots. It seems they are there mainly for business folks working during the weekday, and it occurs to me that there sort of a subculture (not that I really know what the term "subculture" means) in the tunnels. Smartly-dressed people hurrying to lunch and to meetings.

However, the smokers always ended up outside instead.

* Traffic is an absolute bear in Houston and I would really not enjoy that if I lived there.

The coolest thing to do:
Go into the JP Morgan Chase building and ride the elevator to the 60th floor for an awesome view.

The best deal:
$2 coffee and muffin in the morning at the public library cafe

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