Category Archives: Texas 2013
We have now arrived in Vegas and emerged from a short sleep after a full day and late night. It was a bumpy flight up from Dallas. We were in the last row seated behind a group of Vegas school girls returning after taking on their Dallas counterparts in some sort of sporting event. Princesses to a tee. Very entertaining giggles and squeals.
Finally hit the sheets at 2am after traversing the strip and seeing Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage in their Beatles performance. Early on we ascended the Stratosphere Tower to get the general lie of the land and see the various rides atop this 380 m structure.
You can jump from level 108 which is about 280 m up. Now one of the Stars gave this some consideration,. but only for a very short period of time. The other Star faded at the thought. Quite a few took the plunge while we were there and it looked pretty straight forward. There were a few other rides that took you out over the edge, which seemed pretty tame. R went to the top open air deck to take in the views whilst L settled for a chardonnay in the bar.
L encountered a crocodile at MGM Grand.
tchell celebrated his 33 birthday along with brother-in-law Jared at a crawfish cookout held at Kerrie’s Mom and Dad’s place. This reminded me a bit of the deep-fried Thanksgiving Turkey affair of 12 months back.
The same implements are used except that instead of oil we have the crawfish boiled up in a special Louisiana spice mix. Prior to this a whole lot of potatoes, garlic cloves and corn cobs are cooked up in the mixture and these are eaten as sides to the crawfish. Now these crawfish are not unlike Aussie freshwater yabbies perhaps a bit smaller. One has to eat several plates to get a feed. We cooked up about 70 lbs of them to feed the 15 or so adults, there were a few serves left over and a big pile of shells.
Later today we head off to Las Vegas for a few days, via a short stop over in Dallas.
Leanne enjoyed a catch up here in Houston with Texas Pat, with R tagging along to keep things in order and so they wouldn’t talk about him. Texas Pat is a former practising member of the Thursday craft group in Brisbane. She retains honorary membership having now returned to Houston. She passes best wishes to all who follow allthego.
Lupe Tortilla is at Katy an outlying suburb of Houston, which is where Pat lives with husband Wes. The Lupe speciality is a lime marinated beef fajita and it was rather good I must say.
Back at Texas Pat’s house we had tea and coffee and had a look at some of Wes’ hunting trophies. Quite an impressive collection including a black bear, moose head, a NZ elk and some rather large fish. Kerrie’s dad has not long returned from a hunt where he bagged a deer. He is having the head and shoulders preserved for display, whilst the rest has made a significant quantity of various Venison cuts and sausages. Hunting runs in the blood down these parts.After some technical discussion around knitting and cross stitch we headed back to base.
Along the way we came across a small herd of Long Horns .
It’s a day off on the allthego trail and we have today visited Fuddruckers and many of my Brisbane readers will remember this ICON establishment from the early 90s thereabouts when it had an establishment down on the river about where Il Centro now is. Well they are still allthego in Houston. It’s a make your own burger place, along with the special Fuddrucker cheese sauce……..actually not bad and Mitchell says it’s the only place he has come across where you can get a fried egg on the bun, as well bacon. Plenty of coke to wash it all down.
Following the burger delights Russell headed for the rest rooms for a break and the rest of the gang, including the other Star said they would meet R at the car.
Being a caring group and thinking the Star might become disoriented and lose his way the gang waited at the entrance. But the Star is an enterprising fellow and exited by the back door recognising this was a shorter route to the car. After waiting sometime at the car he headed back to the restaurant thinking the gang had become disoriented and lost their way. Well the gang were most agitated having requested a Fuddrucker employer to check the restrooms for a burnt out Star. There was then some agitated discussion about doing things as a group etc etc before things settled down and we all moved on.
Yes, we are still here in Houston having recovered from the Bloomin Onion. Have enjoyed the last few quiet days lazing around.
Our peace was disturbed though yesterday with a trip to the Top Golf range for a round of ‘stand and deliver’ from the tee, blasting our chip controlled ball away out into the night sky to try to land on the computer controlled multi coloured greens. Scoring points accordingly. The trick with this establishment, however, is that upon arrival we discovered we had to wait 210 minutes to get our slot. This is apparently somewhat longer than normal as there is an NBA Allstar Game extravaganza on over this weekend in Houston, with all the attendant partying.
In the meantime we sat down and enjoyed some beers and a selection of chicken pieces in Buffalo, BBQ and Asian spices. Finally, we got our slot and proceeded to the tee. A bit of mayhem for the next couple of hours as all the skills were on display.
Earlier in the week Tyler had attempted the Woodland Orchard Drive underpants wearing record. He fell short by one (I think?) managing only 23 pairs and will have to try again. This was a most entertaining performance and we await a renewed attempt.
Attached photo does not do it justice but there are a couple of videos to record the attempt.
A day of rest today after the golf
We are now in Houston for a couple of weeks with Mitchell and the gang. It is a 3 hour flight from LA and another 2 hours time difference. Settled in well and enjoying suburbia after being allthego in LA. Out today for lunch at the Outback Steakhouse for some Aussie fare, including that well-known Aussie speciality the ‘Bloomin Onion’. This is a gastronomic delight and a recipe for cholesterol and heart disease, but it tasted pretty good! This speciality of the house is a 16oz deep-fried brown onion, with a secret batter recipe and cheesy sauce. We all hoed into it with the exception of the new Star Piper, who seemed to prefer a bottle of milk.
Mitchell and Kerrie will be off to work tomorrow with fingers crossed leaving Piper with The Olds for the day while Hayden and Tyler are at school.
The last couple of days have had us down the Malibu coast at the Getty Villa seeing some old stars from Geek and Roman antiquity and then at Paramount Pictures seeing some stars from more recent times. Getting to the Villa was a long local bus trip down Sunset Bl to the ocean followed by a twenty-minute walk along the Pacific Coast Hwy to the Villa. It was a really excellent site though. The villa was originally built by Getty to display all his collections of art. It was subsequently restored and expanded and now ‘just’ holds the antiquity material, the rest of the paintings and furniture is up at the Getty Centre in the hills behind LA. The villa is modelled on an original villa at Herculaneum that was buried when Vesuvius erupted.
The modern stars at Paramount was also an interesting visit where we saw the working studios as well as a bit of film history retold on the lot. NCIS was being shot while we were there and Leanne was pleased to see Mark Harmon running around in the flesh. Afterwords we strolled around the Hollywood Forever graveyard where many of the old stars lie gazing up at the Hollywood sign up in the hills.
Head off now to Houston.
Well, well aren’t there just a lot of people around here hanging around looking for a buck! And not just stars, all sorts of street jockeys and their angles. From guys selling tours at half price just for you to CD sellers and would be actors masquerading on the streets as MM and Iron Man, Cat Woman and Spider Man not to mention Disney characters and the rest…..
Just had to go on the Hollywood Sign and Star’s homes tour to escape them. Guess who sold us the ticket (at half price of course) …a guy called Noah from Wingham, NSW! Leanne’s sister Sandra and family come from there. He said the only things worth seeing in Hollywood could be seen on his tour….as you would expect of course. Well it was OK the guide played spot the celebrity, you had to try to stare down people in side-walk cafes and cars to see how much they flinched before driving off when the lights changed. Didn’t see any celebs, maybe they saw us and headed in the opposite direction……….anyway we drove past a number of homes, many of which you could only see the front gate and letterbox, for all the trees and walls around them. Frank Sinatra’s last LA digs had just been levelled for a redevelopment of some sort.
We also travelled today on the Metro to Downtown LA for a walk around the sights. A busy CBD centre with a few historical leftovers from the Spanish days, which go very much understated. The relatively new Disney Centre looked an interesting place to see some music and theatre action, but we were between shows here. The old Central Markets were a fascinating wander, these date back to early LA days when they were the first fresh fruit and veggie shop. We had lunch at a Kabab bar amongst the oranges, meats and nuts etc. Quite tasty.
Got back a bit late to the hotel after dinner, hoping to see some celebs, there were a few hoping to be celebs lurking in the hotel bar, we avoided them. Thankfully, they didn’t notice us.
Here we are allthego again in the United States. Off to visit our son Mitchell and his family, including the new grand daughter Piper. They live in Houston but we have stopped off in LA for a few days beforehand to aclimatise to all things US. On arrival there was a lot of action around town welcoming us. All the bars seemed to have parties starting, there were flags and people dressed up all waving at us. It was great, then someone told us it was for the Superbowl or something, bit deflating.
Yesterday, upon arrival we lobbed into the Hollywood Hills Hotel, which sits sort of underneath the famous Hollywood sign. Not a bad spot but a little further away from the action than it seemed from their website. Later on we wandered around the Walk of Fame (all those stars on the footpath) and then into Madame Tussauds to meet the Hollywood movie gang in the wax so to speak. Very entertaining spot and reportedly much better than the old Hollywood Wax Museum, which has been around since Cecile B de Mille. Caught up with all the girls, including Halle Berry and Angeline Jollie. Leanne met Jimmy Stewart and George Burns which seemed to satisfy her, bit old for her I thought.
Today was a bit more of the same after sleeping in. Down to wander the rest of the Walk of Fame, also the Chinese theatre area where there are a whole lot of Stars foot and hand prints with signatures and notes, many going back to 1920s and 30s. After lunch we were into El Capitan Theatre, one of those old style movie houses, and saw a re run of Peter Pan on the big screen. Back to the Hotel and dinner, steak followed by Leanne eating an enormous banana split and I a Chocolate Brownie waffle. Both covered in ice cream and the banana split cream. All this was accompanied by a bottle of house red…labelled ‘dago red’ after its Italian heritage. It was appropriate after a long day wandering around.