Downtown underground tunnels

Standard

Did you know that Houston has underground tunnels connecting all of the major buildings downtown? We didn’t know until recently, when I came across it online.

If you ever think that downtown is a bit empty during lunch time, there is a reason for that. Everyone is just below you! I expect a lot of people use the tunnels for relief from the summer heat.

It is like a little city underneath the city with multiple entrance points. There are over six miles of tunnels. We entered through one of the towers; there was an escalator going down right in the main lobby.

The tunnels are a large maze of sorts, with lots of long twisting and turning hallways, but there are maps every so often so you know where you are.

The tunnels are a mixture of shops, restaurants and food courts. Derek commented that it almost had an airport terminal feel. Most of the shops were errand related, like dry cleaners, banks and pharmacies. A one stop shop for workers on their lunch break. In fact, Derek’s bank had an office down there, so we stopped in and we were able to get a card for me for his account. It was something we had been meaning to do.

We had really good Chinese food at Dumpling House in one of the food courts. It was cheap too, can’t beat that. Funny because the Chinese food restaurant back in Wellsboro is called Dumpling House too.

It was interesting to explore a whole new level of the city. We will probably venture down there again, because there were a lot of good looking places to eat.

IMG_5706

IMG_5707

IMG_5712

IMG_5709

IMG_5711

IMG_5713

IMG_5714

Advertisements

Houston Astros

Standard

I won’t lie and tell you I am a baseball fan, but when in Houston, you go to a Houston Astros game.

We attended an Astros vs. Texas Rangers game a few weeks ago. We got the cheap nosebleed seats for $14 each, but we had a great view from above.

To be honest, I was there more to see the stadium’s train than to see the Astros. Minute Maid Park’s main lobby is Houston’s old Union Station. So inside, there is a small scale train that runs along side the stadium walls at the beginning of every game, plus when the Astros score home runs and at the end if they win a game.

That is not to say that the game wasn’t interesting though. It was definitely different to be at a sporting event that was NOT football.

I suppose everyone who likes baseball already knows this, but the game was SO long. The first two innings went by quickly, but then the third inning dragged on longer than the first two combined. It seemed like the players were just standing around wasting time!

We left at the beginning of the sixth inning because it was getting late, and a lot of people had left before that. At that point the Astros were winning 4-1, but of course they scored 9 points in the sixth inning!!!! Oh well. They ended up winning 13-2.

Supposedly the Astros are the best time in baseball right now. I just may have to become a “bandwagon” fan if they get into the playoffs!

Houston Astros Game_1

Houston Astros Game

Houston Astros Game_3

Houston Astros Game_20

Houston Astros Game_21

 

Phoenicia

Standard

I didn’t expect to write about a grocery store, but Phoenicia is so much more than just a grocery store. It is a destination in its own right.

Derek first discovered Phoenicia back in the fall, and he suggested that we check it out together. The first time we were there we only did a quick look through and got drinks to go from the cafe inside, but we both knew we had to come back and thoroughly look around.

So, Phoenicia, located in downtown, is first and foremost a grocery store, but there is only the basics like meats, fruits and vegetables. Don’t come here looking to get everything on your shopping list like toilet paper and cat food. Their website describes themselves as “Houston’s one-stop gourmet, international food experience with more than 10,000 products from more than 50 countries.” It is most definitely an international food experience, but also an international people experience too! I think I must have heard four or five different languages spoken there.

Today we decided to go have lunch there. They have a bakery and cafe inside, as well as multiple deli sections. I decided to go Greek, and I got spanakopita and stuffed grape leaves. I also got a honey and lavender scone to go. Derek got a turkey, bacon and swiss sandwich with a brownie. The meal selection is expansive. It is hard to decide what to want because it all looks so good!

There is a section to eat inside, but there are also tables outside so we ate our food outside. There were tons of people there, most looked like they were with colleagues on lunch break from work.

After we were done with lunch, we decided to peruse the aisles. I was really impressed with all the selection, and happy to see tons of Kinder chocolate and Walker shortbread cookies. (Yum!) I was intrigued by the middle eastern section, and they had a ton of loose leaf teas that I will definitely have to purchase in the future. They have a upstairs section that has some more food, a bunch of kitchen gadgets and cookware, and a huge wine selection.

My recommendation is that if you know someone who is a food connoisseur, you could do some gift shopping for them at Phoenicia!

IMG_5554

IMG_5542

IMG_5541

IMG_5540

IMG_5535

IMG_5539

IMG_5538

IMG_5537

IMG_5536

 

Art Car Parade preview

Standard

The Art Car Parade is an annual event in Houston, and I’ve been told by many people that it is quite the quirky thing to attend.

Unfortunately the parade is on a Saturday, (like most events) and I work weekends. However, I lucked out this time because there was a special preview of about half the cars at the Discovery Green park on Thursday night.

It was really neat to see so many different cars. The collection of “junk” on some of them was just amazing! The owners of the cars really get to show off their artistic abilities and their creativity. My favorite car was¬† one with singing fish and lobsters. The lobsters and the fish would move in sync with songs! It was hilarious!

Art car parade preview_2

Art car parade preview_9

Art car parade preview_21

Art car parade preview_36

Art car parade preview_47

Art car parade preview_50

Art car parade preview_56

Houston Zoo

Standard

Derek and I went to the zoo this week. We had a good day! It is a fairly large zoo, and even with spring break crowds, it didn’t feel all that crowded.

Some photo highlights:

Houston Zoo_4

We really loved the blue feathers on this kookaburra!

Houston Zoo_19

An ocelot.

Houston Zoo_23

Stick bugs! The bug area of the zoo was actually quite fascinating.

Houston Zoo_28

This tiny owl was so cute!

Houston Zoo_43

This chimp has the right idea. Nap often!

Houston Zoo_61

This baby tapir was born in February. Their baby stripes are so cute!

Houston Zoo_69

All of the big cats are my favorite!

Houston Zoo_93

A mother’s love. Awww.

Houston Zoo_152

These cuddling cloud leopards were adorable.

Houston Zoo_142

I was most excited to see Shasta the cougar. He is the mascot for the University of Houston. Some trivia from Wikipedia: “Shasta VI was born in September 2011 in the U.S. state of Washington, and was adopted by the university as a cub.¬†Shasta’s mother was killed in 2011, when a hunter shot her. After a search from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Shasta VI was rescued, and transported to the Houston Zoo on December 11, 2011. In March 2012, the University of Houston Alumni Association announced that the cub would be adopted. Shasta VI is the first live mascot since 1989.”

 

The Super Bowl

Standard

So the Super Bowl has come and gone, and the $&#$%@! Patriots have won AGAIN. *sigh* I almost feel personally offended that they won in Houston, because I live here now, haha.

The last few days leading up to the game, and the day of the game itself was an experience to remember.

A week before the game, Derek and I drove around the stadium and took pictures of all the Super Bowl LI banners hanging on it. A lot of other people were doing the same thing.

I attended NFL Experience, which is an event that is hosted by every Super Bowl host city. It was a neat interactive place, with lots of displays, games, the opportunity to see NFL related TV shows being filmed live (I saw Von Miller of the Denver Broncos!), and of course, photo ops.

I also went to Super Bowl LIVE, the free fan festival that was held at Discovery Green park. That was less to do with football; anyone could go and have a good time. There were NASA exhibits, and there were even showings of the Puppy Bowl!

The day of the game itself I was freaked out about traffic because I have to drive right past the stadium on my way home from work. No car traffic, but so many people were walking around on the sidewalks, making their way to the stadium. I also saw a ton of people advertising how much their parking spaces were. I saw one for $120! Outrageous!

As much as I wanted to be at the game, I realized that most people in Houston were probably avoiding the game (and the prices) like the plague. The best seats in the house truly are your couch. It was extremely cool though when the Thunderbirds flew overhead, and it sounded like a rocket! I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be quite THAT loud. And I am pretty sure that I heard some of the fireworks during the halftime show.

Some pictures from Super Bowl week:

NFL Experience_7

NFL Experience_29

IMG_5164

NFL Experience_32

NFL Experience_40

NFL Experience_43

NFL Experience_36

IMG_5175

IMG_5177

NFL Experience_58

NFL Experience_61

NFL Experience_74

NFL Experience_79

NFL Experience_98

Book of Mormon

Standard

Last month Derek and I went to see The Book of Mormon. It was a show that has been on our radar for a while. When we first moved here, I kept seeing commercials for the show. I was able to buy tickets with money I had received for my birthday. That seems like ages ago!

The performance was at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. It was a really nice venue. Our seats were the front row for the top balcony. Nice to not have any heads in front of us!

I understand the show is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we thought the show was hilarious! I’m so glad we got the chance to go. In April, we’ve got tickets for Cirque du Soleil.

Also, I would like to mention: We decided to take the metro into downtown and walk to the Hobby Center to avoid parking costs. After getting on the metro, walking through all the buildings and then going to a Broadway award winning play, I had one of those, “Woah, we live here” moments!

Some photos at the Hobby Center:

IMG_5090

IMG_5091

IMG_5092

z

IMG_5093

 

IMG_5099

IMG_5094