When I was a child, I spent almost every summer in Houston, Texas. Vacation was a luxury back then, and it was a nice place for us to escape without spending a ton of money because my mom’s best friend – my godmother – lived there. We would go to Astroworld, the Houston Zoo, Celebration Station, and so many other exciting places each day. I would play outside with my godbrother and the neighborhood kids, then cry when it was time to go back to Louisiana. I rarely spend time in the city these days, but I gained an opportunity to visit with family and friends at the end of August. Here’s five cool things I did while in Houston:
1 – Houston Texans Game
My family and I attended a preseason Houston Texans game at NRG Stadium. I’m not into football these days because the unfortunate reality of CTE makes it difficult to watch, so I tried to convince everyone to go to a Houston Astros game instead. My argument was not convincing and I was outvoted. It was pleasant evening for a preseason game, but I expect the atmosphere to be more energetic during a regular season game.
2 – Lunch at Turkey Leg Hut
So, listen. Turkey Leg Hut has a LOT of hype right now. Think about the Popeye’s chicken sandwich and multiply it by 1,000. The lines are always long and I never had any interest in trying it because I don’t do lines. That was until I was coerced into going. We showed up 15 minutes before it opened and joined a line wrapped around the building. Then owners understand the stress of waiting outside in Texas heat, so I appreciated the fact that they provided free bottled water and made sure their guests had shade.
We waited for two hours before we were seated inside. To make matters worse, it started raining during our wait. Although we were under tents, the waiting area is basically the parking lot, and there was nowhere for the rain water to go. It accumulated quickly, and my feet were soaked.
I had the turkey leg stuffed with crawfish macaroni and cheese. It was really good. When I got back home, I weighed myself and only gained a pound. Thank goodness. The food was good, but it wasn’t worth waiting two hours in Texas heat and rain. Many may disagree, but I would have enjoyed myself just as much at some other restaurant that seated us right away.
There’s definitely room for improvement business wise. They don’t appear to have a nice flow, but they have the support of the community. I’m interested in seeing the growth.
3 – Lodging at Wanderstay Hostel
I say I’m too old for hostels, but I find myself in one at least once a year. There was a point in my Houston visit where I was solo and left to my own devices, so I decided to support a member of my travel group and her latest venture as a hostel owner. I’ve never stayed in a hostel in the U.S., so it was interesting to see if it differed from any of the international hostels.
Wanderstay Hostel in Houston was cute spot for me while I was solo. I stayed in an 8-bed female-only dorm that had a Beyonce theme. How excellent! It was clean, safe, secure, and had great customer service. They’ve been open for less than a year, and I hope they continue to see success. The vibe was great for me because it wasn’t a party hostel, and it didn’t seem to have a lot of immature college backpackers that one would find in a stereotypical hostel. I’d definitely stay there again if I was solo in Houston.
4 – Burna Boy Concert
Have I told you that my new fave is Burna Boy? He’s all I’ve been listening to lately. I was a late bloomer because I didn’t know of him until last summer, and I didn’t give his music a serious listen until this year. He had a concert in Houston at the Revention Music Center, and I couldn’t miss it.
If all I heard was “Anybody,” “Ja Ara E,” and “Ye,” I would’ve been okay, but he put on a show that night. He has dethroned Miguel as my favorite concert experience because his energy was so high, and the crowd was dope as well. It was a mix of people from the African diaspora, but mainly Nigerians since that’s Burna’s nationality and since Houston has a sizable population of Nigerians. Mama Burna was there, too!
I… one day we’re going to have a conversation about how I have a type, and how all of my types look different but have the same personality. Burna Boy does it for me.
5 – Study Session at African American Library
With all of these good times, I had to take a moment and focus on one of the most important goals of these next several months – passing the CPA exam. I needed a quiet place to study, so I did a search for public libraries that were open on the weekends and had free parking. That’s how a discovered the African American Library at the Gregory School. I’m so grateful for public libraries, and the services they provide the community. I found solace in this one and was able to to focus on my upcoming exam.
The African American Library is a beautiful building, and I didn’t get a chance to learn the history of the Gregory School. In addition to being a library, it had a exhibits on the first floor dedicated to African American culture specific to Houston. I didn’t take to time to view it, but I’m sure it would have been a pleasant learning experience.
Houston was good to me. It feels like home each time I go, which is scary for me to accept. Maybe I should embrace it and visit more often.