Houston, 2015

A long time friend from alt.gothic (we met at C2!) invited me to her Texas wedding and things worked out well for me to be able to go down from Boston. This was also my first trip with Southwest Airlines, so that was a tiny bit of an adventure.

Pictures


Friday April 2, 2015

I'd brought my bike into the shop the night before, leaving it for a spring tune up, since I was planning to take the T to work and leave from there for the airport. I was able to pack a weekend's worth of stuff into my tote bag, including a goth club friendly outfit in case I managed to make it to Numbers that night, and getting to work went well. I did have to juggle an umbrella with my purse and bag though, as it was raining lightly, on and off. An interesting culture clash happened on the Green line: there was a quartet of middle aged day drinkers discussing the prison stay of a friend when the car got an influx of teens going to Anime Boston. One of the drunk guys asked fairly nicely what was going on and got a fairly nice answer. :-) I'd missed my "check in now" reminder and was a couple of hours late for the 24 hour ahead of time start, but still managed to get in the middle of the B boarding group. I ended up heading out to the airport at 3:30 since my flight was delayed 30 minutes when I left work, then 55 by the time I got through security. I hit a metal detector again rather than the full body scanner, yay! But then the flight (after lining up by posts with your group and number) ended up being 4 hours of turbulence. The drinks service was delayed again and again as the flight attendants had to sit out the worst of it. I only got up once in a short clear window, so I was pretty stiff by the time we landed.

I texted Amy and they'd just sat down at the hotel bar to wait for me, so she volunteered to come pick me up. Boy, the Houston roads around the airport are bad, we almost disappeared into one pothole. She parked in the garage next to the Hyatt Regency and I got checked in and went up to my room to drop off my stuff and wash the airports off of my face. Oddly enough there was another anime con going on in Houston at the same timeas in Boston, so more pink and purple hair and shiny outfits were around. There was some confusion about my wedding related gift bag, it was supposed to be held at guest services, but no one was there, or it might be in my room, but in the end Amy had it and gave it to me when I came back down to the little side lounge. Jen and her husband were there from California, and I got to meet Josh as well, it was nice putting faces to names. The group consensus was to head out to a tiki bar for drinks instead of staying at the hotel, luckily Lei Low wasn't packed and we were able to get a van cab there and a table that we were able to squeeze five of us into. I couldn't resist the drink that came in a "bloody" shark mug (sticky with grenadine), and had a sip from the monkey skull on fire one as well (huge straws). Josh tried a salty mezcal drink that I wished I'd ordered but the lion's tail was delicious as well. We were all pretty happy by the time we left, which was good since the taxi company kept sending regular cars instead of vans like we asked for (we asked for our van driver's card, but he gave us the number for the company). We had a conversation about working out in the small parking lot in front of the bar while waiting for a ride, and ended up squeezing four of us in the back seat. I got my longed for shower back at the hotel (I'd focussed on the nighttime lows, so was a bit warm even with the light weight top I'd worn) and was asleep by 2am.

Saturday April 3, 2015

I ended up sleeping in a bit, it was glorious, though the bed I'd chosen was a bit too soft for my back and I was a bit achy by the time I got up. I took my time getting out of the room and then got to the hotel restaurant right after the 11am breakfast cut off time, oops. Luckily they also had a 24 hour breakfast making Einstein Bagel in the lobby as well, and I was able to grab a gluten free egg sandwich and a big mug of tea. To work up an appetite for lunch, er, early dinner, I let things digest a bit and then hit the hotel gym. They had a good range of free weights, though a guy was using the ones I wanted. He finished up by the time I started my second superset so I was able to finish up at my desired weight. I also did a two mile treadmill run, working up to my target pace and then back down again. I was wrung out by the time I finished and spent a solid 10 minutes stretching and then had a nice hot shower.

I was ready to contemplate eating again, so hit up the valet stand to get a taxi to Baba Yega, recommended to me by Anne Michelle as a former resident. It's in a greenery covered building, split up into various rooms, with a nice homey vibe. I got sucked in by the brunch special of $3 mango mimosas, and I don't even like champagne or bubbly things, but it was lovely. I went with fish and fish: ceviche and fish tacos, and it was great. I'd tried to refresh my nail polish back at the hotel room and found that the remover pads I'd brought had dried out, so a quick local search led me to popping into a nail salon. Probably fortunately, as it was getting on to 3pm, they did't have an opening, so I fell back to taking the bus back downtown and stopping in at the CVS on my way back to the hotel. The bus took a bit longer to arrive than hoped for, and the pharmacy was a bit of a longer walk than expected, and I had to wait for a clerk to restock the nail polish remover I wanted, so I ended up clearing off my nails on the walk back to the hotel, yay multi-tasking. :-) Getting ready was super quick, though I ended up stepping on my sunglasses when I left them on the floor next to my bag - luckily I "just" warped one of the lenses a bit, but it's still a blurry spot in my vision now. That aside, I just threw on my blue-black shimmery dress, some shimmery silver tights, and grabbed my shimmery blue wrap as well as my camera and purse with card and event details, and I was downstairs getting a cab just after I was supposed to be at the venue. Luckily it was 5 minutes away, and despite going the wrong way to find the entrance to the Nouveau Antique Art Bar, I was there by 20 to five and had time for Josh to escort me back to the ladies' retiring nook at the back of the bar. I had a glass of rumchata pressed on me, and chatted a bit with Amy and some of the other female guests (and one guy who poked his head in).

There was some last minute flower girl wrangling and then it was time for us to join the crowd. I noticed a couple of semi familiar faces in the crowd, but only Jen to talk to, so stuck with her for a bit and garnered some introductions. Then the venue staff were herding us out of the way and silver and black petals and an amazing Kambriel dress were floating up the impromptu aisle. :-) The ceremony was touching, with Josh's daughter incorporated into it, and I teared up a bit when Amy did. I finally learned my lesson and didn't even pack mascara or eye liner for this trip. :-) The bar was a gorgeous backdrop, so many stained glass lights and art nouveau touches scattered about. Game stations were set up at the tables around the room, I ended up playing Cards Against Humanity (! very quietly) with the Austin couple who'd been at a couple of Convergences as well as a local friend of Amy's. Phil and I geeked out a bit about cameras, he'd had a Canon p&s where the flash stopped working as well. :-/ The bartenders did a round of simple drinks before offering their specialty cocktails, so I grabed a gin and tonic to sip while exploring teh food options. I tried to stick gluten free, joining in on asking for a fork for the spreads that only had bread near them (it was all finger food), and having a deconstructed chicken taco a bit later. The open bar was almost my downfall, they had an Aviator then I asked for an Aviation, and got some confusing explanation as to why it was red tinted (they were out of the Luxardo Maraschino that it's usually made with). I tried another of their specialty drinks and cut myself off at that point - not a lot of water around unless you explicitly ordered a glass.

Things started winding down at around 8, we moved outside to the patio section to hang out as the games were being cleaned up and the public was being let in. I jumped in on a ride back to the hotel when Amy and Josh decided to head there and someone volunteered to drive them. They deposited me at the hotel lobby bar where it seemed a great idea to have a Tanqueray 10 martini (it wasn't), and nibble on the remains of a cheeseplate (which might have been all that saved me). I ended up sitting across from a friend/co-author of another Amy I know from a.g., small world. :-) I was coherent enough to print out my boarding pass at the dedicated machine near the elevators at least (I'd checked in on my phone at the bar). I went up to bed at around 1 and despite drinking a lot more water, the world was still a bit spinny by the time I lay down to sleep. :-/

Sunday April 4, 2013

I woke up on my own at around 10, having somehow made the good decision to switch beds so my back wasn't sore this time around. My gut was feeling a bit unhappy, but I made it down to teh lobby before the breakfas cut off time. I was hung over enough that I took an hour for some granola, yoghurt, tea, and fruit, eating very carefully. After that, I went back up to my room, packed up, checked out and left my bag with guest services until my flight that evening.

I took the train to the Museum District, it was straightforward and only $1.25. I'd completely spaced on the fact that it was Easter Sunday, so quite a few places were closed. The bike museum had a structure attached to it decorated with balloons, ribbons and chalk in a spring like display, but it was closed. The holocaust museum was also closed for Easter, but the Asia Society was open. They had a neat exhibit about the commonalities between Chinese and Mexican immigration, as well as a very relaxing infinity pool on the second floor where I sat for a bit (still feeling fragile). I'd been dive bombed by a bird on the walk there, so went a different way around toward the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It was a bit confusing since it was split across two buildings, with a trippy tunnel connecting the two underground. I looked at the Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, as well as a couple of other photography collections, then made my way down to the cafe and had some soup (feeling much better by this point. I got turned around and ended up in the parking building, I had to go back down to the tunnels and go through the disorienting one to make it to the second building where I really enjoyed the special exhibit of Japanese screens. The Rubens exhibit didn't do much for me, it was paintings by the artist and then the large tapestries that had been made from them, and I'd seen something similar recently.

I still had a bit of time before I had to head back to the hotel to pick up my stuff, so I walked to and through the park to find the Japanese Garden. It wasn't very restful as a lot of people were out in the park, so I didn't stay long. Luckily the next train stop was around the corner, and I didn't have a long wait for the next train back to the hotel. I had a bit of a wait for my bag, seems like they only have one guy working guest services and he wasn't doing things in a logical order (he called my taxi from a block away before he went to get my bag so the cabbie was kept waiting. The ride to the airport was fine, though a bit more expensive than hotel site had said. I had a last minute metal detector reprieve, being waved through it when the line stalled at the scanner. I was really hungry by now, so I had a southern salad (grilled chicken with chipotle sauce and ranch dressing and cheese on a small pile of lettuce) and Baskin Robbins ice cream for supper, plus a huge tea (miscalculation). I got my window seat again (boarding B17), though there were two guys nearby with voices that grated on my nerves so I kept my headphones on the whole trip. I got hungry yet again, so took advantage of the free snacks. It was a bit bumpy coming in to Boston, but before they locked us down I made a trip to the tiny tiny restroom at the back of the plane (only two restrooms for this plane and no lines allowed at the front one), having to go through a crowd of staring flight attendants (they might have been trying to see if I needed something, but it was still awkward). It was thankfully easy to get a taxi at the A terminal stand (I just had to wait for the next set to pull up), though the cabbie played that whole "don't have the right change" game on drop off to get a larger tip. *sigh* But I got home just after midnight, and showered and was in bed by 1, though I lay there with caffeine still in my system and unable to sleep for a while.


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