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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 

Texas - what's it like? by Katie J on 6 July 2005 11:21am
Okay, bit of a random one this. What is Texas like...those of you who live there or have visited?

I have no plans to head off there just yet, but for some reason I've always fancied having a look! I've been to NY, LA, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Florida area, Savannah, S.Carolina area in the past but not ventured anywhere else (I'm from England).

I would love to know a bit more about it. If anyone could help that would be great.

Thanks Katie
Re: Texas - what's it like? by George on 7 July 2005 4:41am
I have lived just outside of Houston in Sugar Land most of my life. It's hard to be specific because it is a truly vast place. Texas has a tremendous variety of scenery and culture. Houston and Dallas are huge modern cities in every respect. Austin, the capital, has a great country music tradition. San Antonio is the top destination because of its unique history and Riverwalk. If you're going to drive across it, take at least several days.

If you stood in the middle of a street in downtown Dallas, you could never imagine it was ever a frontier town. If you stood in a street in Pecos, you could never imagine it was ever anything else.

If you want seafood, barbeque, Mexican food, steak, and margaritas, we've got the best in the world. Of course, Texans are known to brag a little, too.

Re: Texas - what's it like? by Katie J on 8 July 2005 1:23pm
Thanks George!

It sounds great :0)

I imagine there are lots of opportunities to go horseriding there too...one of my favourite hobbies.

I must look into going at some point!
Re: Texas - what's it like? by George on 8 July 2005 9:17pm
There are a number of "dude ranches" that are very popular with Europeans. If you remember the film, City Slickers, you'll know what I'm talking about.

The most famous ones are in Bandera which is in the Hill Country region of central Texas.
Re: Texas - what's it like? by Wild in Africa on 11 July 2005 4:59pm
Ask Dennis!
Re: Texas - what's it like? by George on 12 July 2005 8:15am
Well, Hurricane Dennis came ashore quite a bit to the east of Texas. We were lucky. However, we know our time is coming. We are long overdue for a major hurricane.
Re: Texas - what's it like? by tucsonmike on 30 July 2005 6:06am
The places I know best in Texas are San Antonio and El Paso. (There is a spread for you).

San Antonio is a mixture of Deep American South, German and Mexican. It was the original main settlement. Of course, you can't miss the Alamo and what it signifies. I remember thinking it was smaller than can be imagined. There are some nice old homes in an old Neighborhood called King William.

El Paso, is the far West Corner of Texas. If it gives you any idea, it is a ten hour drive from San Antonio to El Paso and you never leave Texas. For a European context, Texas is the size of France in area. El Paso, has nice views from Franklin Mountain, but is not worth a special trip unless heading West from there. El Paso is closer to the Pacific coast than the rest of Texas. (From Tucson, I can drive to El Paso in five hours). Mexico is just across the Rio Grande, but now is NOT the time to be wandering around Juarez.

Back to San Antonio, (sorry, I am writing to the flow, LOL). If you stay Downtown, don't rent a car. Most of the sights are within walking or a bus ride. Driving in downtown San Antonio can be difficult and the transit system works well. If desired, I have the transit information and can send you the link.

The Riverwalk is nice, but touristy. If you go from October-June you have Spurs fever (The National Basketball Association team). Not sure if you could get tickets since they just won another championship. San Antonio is Spurs crazy. You see the team flags everywhere. I have cousins there and sure enough, when they start the playoffs, up goes the pennant on my cousins car.

I forgot there is a third city in Texas I like. Skip Houston and go to Galveston. Galveston has some history and is an interesting city on the Gulf of Mexico.
If you go at the right time of year around San Antonio also you have the flowers all over the Hill Country.

Re: Texas - what's it like? by George on 1 August 2005 7:00am
Galveston! Now there's an interesting choice. I live about 60 miles from there. Please, don't anyone go there expecting a beautiful beach like one in Florida. The seafood there is great, I'll admit.

A long time ago, Galveston was known for its gambling and brothels. Now, its very different.
Re: Texas - what's it like? by tucsonmike on 1 August 2005 7:14am
Hey George,
Thanks for chiming in. That is true about the beach. It is the old houses you go for, not the beach. For a beach, got to South Padre Island. There was the famous 1900 hurricane that wiped out thousands. The early 20th Century boxer Jack Johnson was from Galveston.
Re: Texas - what's it like? by George on 1 August 2005 9:04pm
Very True. The "Great Storm of 1900", a hurricane which killed almost 6,000 people is the largest natural disaster in American history. Some of my ancesters were part of the clean-up crew which had to load the bodies onto barges so they could be taken out to sea and dumped. I'm told the stench was horrific, of course. Someone misjudged the tides forcing many of the bodies back to the shore making the job even more grisly. There's a great story as to why there was no evacuation? Weather forecasting at that time was part folklore, part science. To say the least, the official forecast was very wrong and Galveston, the largest city in Texas, was changed forever. All the big shipping companies moved to Houston, a little village 60 miles inland which was to have a ship channel built. It is now one of the largest port cities in the world. The old wharf area, or "quayside" as you say, fell into dacaying ruin for decades. In time a huge seawall was built, making such disasters impossible, but Galveston never returned to its former glory. During the Civil War, 1861-65, when Texas was part of the Confederacy, Galveston had a booming business in the cotton trade with Cuba, which served as a broker for European business interests. New Orleans, the only other port of note had too many Union troops on hand to be effective as a trading port. So, Galveston became an important city, then and after the war as cotton production increased.

Cotton trading was more less our "family business" for generations.

Only in the last 10 years has Galveston really tried to attract tourists. Now it's a major cruise ship port on the Gulf of Mexico and the older homes are becoming quite fashionable again. It also has a large medical school and hospital now.
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