Living in Houston, Texas 2001 - 2002

I enjoyed living in Houston, Texas. So many friendly people, and many interesting things to do and see if you were willing to spend some time in your car. I would like to come back one day. See also the "Special places" section for something on Big Bend National Park.

I lived on 3rd floor here, in the Old Farm residences. This was a gated property, and only about 2 years old. A nice pool area on the back side, gym and other facilities. In Houston, it is not common to build highrises, except in the downtown area and a couple of business districts.

The view from my balcony. A K-Mart superstore and Westheimer Rd to the far left. Not very interesting, but typical Houston: Flat, spread out and with huge parking areas. Car is a necessity to get around, hardly anybody walks, so if you run a business or restaurant, you must assume all customers come in their own car. Taxis and buses are not very common to use. See the "Texas USA Flooded" sections for other pictures from Houston. The other pictures here are from other places around Houston.

When driving around in East Texas, pumpjacks are common sights. Some of them have been pumping for 70 years, and the daily production can be as little as 15 barrels of oil. To indicate it's size, I am posing in front of it.

An old boomtown in East Texas from around 1910. This was when the first oil-boom hit Texas, and the place is now run as a museum. Interesting for me to learn something about the history of the business I am working in.

George's Ranch is a must if you are interested in cowboys and the history about the typical western style cowboy life in the period 1860 - 1880. George's ranch is still being run as a 1930's ranch, and also has a collection of older items. This 1830 style house tells the story of the tough life out her in those early pioneer days.

Ranching in the 1800's was a good business, allowing the owner to live much more in style 60 years later. This is a typical 1890's large ranchouse. George's ranch has an impressive collection today, but I was told it had a much larger collection of houses and even a small railway before, but this had to be sold due to poor management of the place a number of years ago.

Part of the daily action at George's Ranch. You could also have a typical cowboy lunch prepared in the field with equipment from a traditional wagon used by the cook in a 1870's cattle drive.

Near George's Ranch is the Brazos Bend State Park. These trees were plentiful in the park, as were the many alligators and other animals living in the swamps around the park. The park was well managed, and had a lot to offer for various outdoor interests.

One of the popular outdoor interests to enjoy in Brazos Bend was riding a bikecycle. The park had many well prepared bike trails, but a bit boring if you were looking for mountain bike trails.

Bird watching opportunities were plentiful, particularly at dawn and dusk. This photo was taken from a tower built for the purpose.

If you get tired of the sights in the park, there is also this star obsevatory. On some days, you were allowed to take a look in the big telescope for a couple of dollars. Amareur astronomers also rigged up their gear and many would happily allow you to take a look. Some of them could get surprisingly good images with their equipment.

Galveston is a smaller town by the sea about 1 hour from Houston (if little traffic). This used to be a major town, but was hit by a hurricane in the early 1900s killing thousands. The worst natural disaster in US history. The city never recovered as the major town in the region, and has kept it's historical charm. This is The Strand, the main street in Galveston. The city also have nice beaches, but the water is not very clean.

Galveston has several mansions, and obviously had some very wealthy citizens in it's heydeys.

The last train called at Galveston some time in the 1960's. The main station and some of the locomotives and cars are now forming a museum.

The Grand Opera House in Galveston was built in the 1890's and is still in use. Separate tours are available if you are more interested in the building than the performances.

Indianola is one of many sleepy coastal towns in Texas. It seems high tides or floods is a regular problem in these areas. Houses on stilts like this are common.

I wonder if they will clear this road. In Norway we are used to clearing snow, but if you don't, it will melt in the summer. Sand is a different story....

In Western Texas, there are long distances and a climate that is easy on wooden buildings. This old court-house is now a museum, but kept very much as is.

The Americans are world champions when it comes to moving things. It is not uncommon to see large houses on the road. If the house is bigger, it is transported in two sections. These kind of houses are referred to as "manufactured homes". You can order one and get it delivered in a few days.

When going camping, Americans tend to bring a lot of stuff. A large camper (or RV) towing a smaller car is common. However, to tow a pickup truck loaded with a boat deserved a photo. Luckily, I was not driving when passing this rig, allowing me to use the camera.

San Antonio and the famous Alamo where Davy Crockett and his men fought the Mexicans and died in the 1830's.

San Antonio is not a coastal town, but has these nice canals going around downtown. Plenty of nightlife and nice restaurants etc. here.

(c) Thomas Høven 2004