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Texas Trip: Hello Beaches!
So, yeah: The Queen and I went to Texas. No one is more surprised about this turn of events than I.
We haven't taken a trip in a long time, and this month was now-or-never time. By our reckoning, once The Squirrelly makes his debut, the era of the noun "vacation" habitually preceded by the adjective "relaxing" is probably over. More specifically, The Queen is wrapping up her second trimester, and we'd heard that most major airlines prohibit women in their seventh-eighth-ninth month of pregnancy from flying (although a little post-vacation Googling revealed this to be, for the most part, an urban legend).
In deciding our destination, I only had one requirement: I wanted to go somewhere. The Queen, on the other hand, had two: she wanted to be warm, and she wanted to look at plants. (This might be explained by the fact that she's a professional botanist. On the other hand, I'm a professional programmer and I had no desire to go somewhere and look at machine code, so maybe it doesn't explain anything.) Anyhow, I let The Queen pick the city, and somehow Corpus Christi came out the winner. I think it was the new "Texas: Now With More Republican Legislative Districts Than Ever!" ad campaign that it won her over.
We stayed in the Corpus Christi 'burbs, which was notable for containing one retail outlet for every single chain store in America. It was ridiculous. We even turned it into a driving game, where one of us would say "I haven't seen any Krispy Kremes yet!" and then the other -- usually with 20 seconds -- would shout "found one!" and point it out. We saw a Circuit City, a Best Buy, and a third enormous electronics store all on a single block. We saw a Wal*Mart half a mile from a Target.
In a way, the dismal, generic landscape worked to our advantage, because it drove us out of our hotel room bright n early every morning and out to the Gulf Coast. [11:00 am constitutes "bright n early" while on vacation -- ed.]
The first day we went to the Corpus Christi Botanical Garden, which was quite lovely despite the fact that nothing was in bloom. Fortunately for The Queen, she doesn't need no stinkin' flowers to enjoy plants: she can identify them all by their leaf shapes and stem colors and, I dunno, nodes or stamen or whatever. Hand her a piece of bark and she can tell you a tree's social security number. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of spiders and frogs and lizards and raptors to keep the 7-year old boy in me happy.
The next day we went to the beach. And once The Queen got her tosies in the sand it was beaches from that point on. First we went to Padre Island, which was beautiful but lousy with Portuguese man-o-wars -- iridescent jellyfish renowned for their painful stings. They were about every ten feet up and down the tideline, and the question "if this is how many washed up, how many are still in the water?" deterred us from swimming.
When we later went to Mustang Island, though, we discovered there are worst things you can find on a beach than man-o-wars: junk of all types, specifically. Bottles, diapers, syringes -- you name it, it was there. We'd seen signs at Padre Island (a nation park) telling us the beach was cleaned every day, but we didn't understand the need until we visited Mustang -- apparently state park aren't as meticulously groomed. But I did find an enormous washed-up TV -- score!
More details to come.
You need to add the third reason I wanted to go to Texas: the Mexican food in Seattle is really, really bad, and, since I've been pregnant, I fantasize about burritos all the time.Duly noted. Posted on November 18, 2003 to On The Road