I’ve got a spare 15 minutes before break. I may as well post one of these.

So I was in Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental airport (terrorists, take note) when I heard that Argyle had lost 1-0 to Watford. The same score and result as ’84. Pretty gutting, but never mind. Maybe in another 23 years.

I’d been in Houston for an IB training conference at Rice University. I’d seen quite a bit of the city (more than I would have liked, and more than I can remember – but more on that in a second) and I can honestly say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The University itself was gorgeous: spread out over a huge campus, the sense of peace and tranquility was very unexpected. The beautiful buildings were scattered far and wide, separated by vast expanses of green lawns and green trees. The area around the University, Rice Village, was more reminiscent of England than America, and especially Texas. There were some really nice restaurants (Indian, Thai, Tapas, etc.) and…and here’s the best thing…proper pubs, with proper beer gardens and proper beer garden benches and proper beer. And when I say proper beer, I mean it: Old Speckled Hen.

So we (myself and colleague Paul) arrived on Thursday afternoon. On Thursday night we went out for a couple of drinks and discovered said establishments (in particular, a pub called The Ginger Man. I bought a t-shirt for Alex. I lost it). Paul went home early (40-odd, married, kid, physics teacher) and, needless to say, I didn’t. So I get chatting to some locals in the pub, and end up going into town to a club. Here it all gets a bit hazy. To cut a long story short, I found myself staggering out of some student digs at 3 in the morning, stoned, drunk and more than a few bucks down on Texas Hold’em (in Texas, mind). I had no idea where I was, but I knew I was a long way from home. I may have forgotten I was in the States. I may have tried to speak Spanish. It happens. Anyhoo, after clambering over a few fences, walking for a couple of hours in the deepest darkest suburbs of the forth largest city in America and genrally wobbling a lot, in circles, I was befriended by a 7ft black dude, who walked me to the nearest Hilton, from where I caught a cab to my own. A charmed life, I swear. This sort of shit happens way too often.

The next day, after class, a group of us teachers got together (a mix of Canadians, Americans and Brits, mostly) and went back to the pub. And more pubs. And this time I got even drunker and at some point must have fallen over. I know this because of the amount of blood on my face the following morning, and the deep scar on my forehead which will be with me, I imagine, for the rest of my days.

I’ve not much else to add, really. I didn’t make it into Uni the next day, though I did go on Sunday, to collect my certificate, thus making me an international commodity. Which is nice. And a complete joke. The only thing I’m truly qualified to do is lose weekends. And t-shirts. Reality: pretty gutting. But never mind. Maybe in another 23 years.

Houston’s nice though.

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