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Skyscrapers, downtown Houston
25th Apr 2008
Houston downtown, Rice university

Today I explored downtown Houston.  I was a little unimpressed at first, but by the end of the day had really grown to like the city.  Downtown is of course mostly a business district, with very tall skyscrapers, some of which I ascended for great views of a not particularly attractive city.  The buildings are linked via a bizarre network of underground tunnels (which had less asbestos and stream and fewer tramps than those under Imperial) or walkways and over-street skywalks.   Bill Bryson would have loved them.

I took a moment to enjoy some of the performances at the warm up for International Festival, which seems to be simply an excuse to install hundreds of overpriced food stands in the city centre. I enjoyed the Ethiopian dancers.

After my allegations that US undergraduate physics courses are sissy, I conceded that LSU was indeed perhaps not the best benchmark.  So I decided to see the exact same thing at an Ivy League uni - Rice.  A beautiful campus, set among moss-covered trees, contained old-school buildings.  Unfortunately I had missed the last lecture by two days, but was given a tour of the department by the woman.  The old fashioned lecture theatre, with its weighted black boards and not a PowerPoint in sight, was nostalgic.  I did discuss my opinions with the undergraduate co-ordinator.  She said that undergrad courses at all US unis, even Rice, were not as hard as Europeans ones, and that when she arranges for European high school kids to visit for a week (I think the program is called ASF or similar) she said that they always have no trouble with the degree level material. Her words, not mine. HOWEVER she also said that the graduate courses in the US are the world's finest.

I went to the park and enjoyed the Japanese gardens (I always do). Then after resting my sore feet (I must have walked 10 miles today) until nightfall I then walked the Buffalo Bayou as I had been told it was beautifully illuminated at night.  Yes, this is true, but only for a 1/4 mile stretch.  The rest is under the freeway bridges, bum city.  Rather alarming.  I walked very quickly and looked over my shoulder every 10 paces, conscious of the shadows and cigarette glows under the freeways.

All in all I am quite impressed with Houston.  I had been told there's not a lot here.  While it's not exactly culture central, it's a pleasant city that has some beautiful parks.  Worth a visit.


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Diary Photos

Skyscrapers, downtown Houston

International Festival, Houston

For my Costa Rica friends

Express elevator, Houston

Who says Hallmark invents lame holidays?

Skywalk, Houston

View from 60th floor, Houston

Model T Ford, Houston museum

Rice`s house, Houston

Rice University, Houston

Physics dept, Rice uni, Houston

Lecture theatre, Rice uni, Houston

Lecture theatre, Rice uni, Houston

Courtyard, Rice uni, Houston

Turtle, Japanses gardens, Houston

The seeing leading the blind, Houston

Koi and heron, Houston

Hermann park, Houston

Hostellers, Houston

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