Archive for March, 2020

“Galveston, oh Galveston”

Galveston, oh, Galveston,
I still hear your seawinds blowing;
… still hear your seawaves crashin,
… Standing there looking out to sea.

Well, I couldn’t help myself. A week on Galveston Island, staying at a lovely place right on the Gulf of a Mexico in SE Texas, USA. Just had to get that Jimmy Webb/Glenn Campbell classic out of the system.

The Galveston Seawall extends over 10 km, built after the horrific Galveston hurricane devastation of 1900
Nice view from our lodgings – Gulf of Mexico

Truth is, I really enjoyed our time there, although it was quite a contrast from our previous week 4 hours drive NW at SAN Antonio.

It was especially nice catching up (as Dale had already done) with Dale’s sister Donna, some of her family as well as her good friend Peggy. Nice memories of Golden Corral buffets and a really captivating IMAX theatre film at Moody Gardens: Great Bear Rainforest.

No sooner had we arrived at Galveston than we headed off two mornings later to Dallas – five hours drive away to see folk-rock duo Indigo Girls in concert with the local symphony orchestra. In a word – “stunning”!

 

Amy Ray & Emily Saliers – Indigo Girls

Overnight in Dallas … and a somewhat nerve wracking experience negotiating Downton Dallas traffic (thankyou, thankyou Garmin GPS and an understanding Dale 😀) we arrived back on Galveston Beach Monday evening. Memories from the past week include:

  • Beach walks. Often chilly and windy, but memorable experience walking next to the Gulf of Mexico, admiring architecture of beach abodes and being so thankful for our Australian beaches’ beautiful white sand.
  • Visit to Space Center Houston/Johnson Space Center. Really enjoyed this – marvelling at the USA’s (& other countries’ ) journey of space exploration. Not so much emphasis on the space race, Apollo/moon missions; rather on the positives on international collaborations via the space shuttle and the international space station. A highlight for me was the 60 minute tour which took us deep into NASA’s facilities including the iconic Mission Control.
  • Celebrating my 28 February birthday twice – due to time differences between Texas and back home. On the 28th (here in Texas) on a chilly evening Dale and I checked out the famous Pleasure Pier – really a miniature theme park. I can imagine how it would be abuzz with patrons in summer! Nice Mexican dinner at Salsa’s, though not so nice some hours later. Too much spicey food for yours truly😟
  • Swims at our accommodation’s thankfully-heated pool. Surprisingly enjoyable!
  • Getting plenty of sleep. Dale hasn’t been quite as fortunate but I’m thankful for the 9-10 hours sleep I’ve managed most nights. Means one of several things – I’m relaxed, I’ve had plenty of catching up to do, I’ve actually been getting some exercise.
  • the local house design – high on stumps – no doubt a precaution heeding the 1900 hurricane devastation and also the impact of Hurricane Ike in 2008.
  • actually enjoying … fascinated in fact, as we watched two of the Democratic candidates’ live debates on TV. The USA political system is so different to those in countries like my own (and many others) using the Westminster system. I wonder what the 18th century USA founding fathers would think about all that goes on these days!😢
  • Some valuable times of reflection. I made use of Presbytery-provided Ash Wednesday resources for 26th, spending several quiet, still hours. I took up the suggestion Irene Alexander provided and wrote a Palm Sunday reflection. I hope to use that in early April. The day before, I found myself brought back to God’s promises repeatedly in the scriptures to not be afraid … I am with you. Yes, I wrote a song on that called I’ll Hold You Forever. I’ll share that in the coming weeks

So yesterday morning, after checkout we headed to Houston – one of the biggest cities in the US. Unbelievable traffic, unbelievable flyovers, overpasses etc, unbelievably discourteous/thoughtless freeway drivers not bothering to use their indicators when changing lanes. Thank you to the many (well, I’m being kind) who do remember. Thank you also to James Taylor, Paul Simon, Indigo Girl, Linda Ronstadt, Dale and others who pacified me along the way.

To be fair, driving was good fun. Our guess is that we have easily travelled over 3000 km over here. I’m concerned that now I’ll need to repeatedly remind myself, “Keep to the left” once driving back home.

It’s late Sunday morning here as I muse all of this. We’ve just had another visit to the well-priced, friendly, clean Hot Biscuit restaurant.

Our breakfast wasn’t $3.99 but still excellent.

So, we look forward to coming home. Interesting timing for both Dale and me. The new Southside Uniting Church is still in its formative months … I look forward to reengaging, knowing that much has happened in my 2+ weeks away. Dale, now unofficially retired begins a new season. No more travel for either of us for a while … though you never know with the two of us. It’s been a sobering time being overseas, as a mother and three beautiful children become the horrifically-killed victims of a man’s brutal violence in a suburb not far from us; while the impact of the coronavirus reaches near pandemic proportions, while the country we’ll shortly leave (this may well be our last trip here) puts you multiple candidates to face Trump later this year – each with questionable credentials in some way, alongside so many worthy ones I must say.

Here’s my favourite two pictures from the trip!

River Walk cruise – San Antonio
Remember the Alamo!

Shalom, David


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