Thursday, March 23, 2006

No Brake - No Jam

Since the past ten weeks I have been enduring an unusually heavy traffic driving to and fro my workplace in Houston's central business district. Houstonians love to drive: with wide roads and expansive highway network Houston can rightly be called a city of highways.However, beneath all the traffic and the associated noise and environmental pollution is a often neglected public transport system. Cars are cheap here- you can get a used Japs for less than 2 thousand buck and an American jalopy for about five hundred buck. So why bother? But after going through this stress for ten solid weeks I finally decided to try what is more convenient- take the bus baby!

This is my first full week of taking the Metro Bus using the Park and Ride system that allows me to drive five minutes (from home) to a parking station from where I take the bus to work and back using the high Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane which facilitates quicker access endless traffic. Normally, I drive 40 mins to work and 1 hr 10 mins back(Total: 110 mins). Indeed, today it is 45 mins to work and 50 mins back; plus 10 mins (making 105 mins) as the handover time from the station to my house I figured out I saved couple of minutes. And then that is not real time. Since I can do what the heck I want to do while on the bus (like sleep or read) and not suffer the fatigue and hypertensive pressure of driving- this makes it an even greater plus. Indeed, I don't have to put up with Houston drivers anymore- a breed of drivers I think require psychological examination plus driving test. And add this- I save on gas and car maintenance: it costs me approximately 30 dollars weekly, plus $12 weekly toll road expenses-now $20 will just do for the whole week. I feel good about this new way of getting to work.

The Bus drivers are very polite, the system buses are very clean and well kept but heck I miss something. One observation though, most if not all of the drivers are African Americans; it appears to me that the Whites prefer to drive the school buses a sector they seem to dominate in Houston- excuse my stereotypes. In any case, I miss the noise inside naija danfos (Hiace buses) and the crankiness of the bus driver/conductor. Everyone is proper here-no smoke, food or radios. But is all good-Houston indeed is the home of the playas and pimps. I hope my parked car helps preserve the clean air of this great city and reduces my insurance: Heck, it is America and I am always trying to save on something; much like the good people of Richmond Avenue/rd are trying to save their neighbourhood (see last picture in album) through which the next phase of Metro Rail will pass. They are trying to save it from metro riders like me: talk about one man's meat is another man's poison.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Beach Going Spring Vocation- Spring Bling!

I am back to town from a short weekend business-pleasure trip; I was out to the beautiful Island of South Padre off the coast of Texas and Mexico for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city of Houston to let out and have a good time. This was my first getaway in a year since my trip last year to Miami Beach. It was a hugely successful one also for the matter.

Somehow in my heart I am a beach boy. I love the beach - it is the ultimate rest laboratory for me. In fact I consider the beach God's purest creation of nature, an opera house of earth's creatures in beautiful harmony creating music sweet to nerves and beautiful to the soul. At the beach you find the sand from which man was made, as well as water and the creature it holds that sustains man. Air which is a basic necessity for living on this polluted planet of ours is also bountiful and mostly purer on the beach side. When I walk the beach I see the beautiful creation of God in the blue sky and the beautiful people that walk on it. The diversity of our earth and the wonderful chirps of birds even make the music sweeter and the beach irresistible for me.

South Padre was a blast. The people were friendly- and the service were superb. For a trip planned in 4-5 weeks it was extremely cheap too. The spring breakers were in town and there was no shortage of reveling. However, for those that had to go back to work on Monday- exit day was Sunday. It was three nights well spent and I perhaps did inculcate the lessons of my trip to Miami last year which was very helpful in planning l, especially traveling with a buddy - I had Hendrik Mason my college day friend and ex-student political associate with me; we both held it down before, and did it again. While he is considering entering the Catholic Priesthood we indulged ourselves for the weekend from the burden and pollution of the city.

Back to South Padre, I find the people here spectacularly nice. It was at South Padre I met the nicest waitress ever - in Dennys Called Lorraine (Lori for short). A 20 years old Hispanic girl that works 2 jobs and attends university (University of Texas at Brownsville studying management) and still manages to flash a smile that brightens up your day and be extremely polite to the extent my friend and I had to excuse her courtesy! She is well noted. The Hotel, Airline and Car Hire attendants also proved extremely accommodating allowing us slack on time for 30 mins to 1 hr as any young men will- no extra demand no waiting on tips (like everyone in Miami seemed always to be). How can I forget the French tourists we played soccer with (see picture 4 in album) and the group of 4 locals that played beach volley with us (Picture 8)- they made the journey worthwhile. These is a city nice people, and I will recommend South Padre Island and the Valley Area (including Harligen) to any beach going tourist any day any time. If you don't have a flash player to see the album here is a LINK TO THE PICTURES.

However, I must confess I am glad to be a home: Houston. Coming back to Houston and feeling like I missed out makes me realize how much I have come to fall in love with this city that I live, work and school. H Town! I hardly call anywhere home- for a a true son of Ekiti, born in Ibadan and raised in Warri - later schooling in Lagos and Texas, home is everywhere. But everyday, Houston seems to assume that title more than any place else. I am back to my Bachelor's pad- my little palace, it is quiet- heck, it is a well deserved one.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Life ...Just move on!

I often ponder what life has wrought me. Don't get me wrong - I am an extremely lucky person. What others dream of , I achieve - what many imagine, I live. Life itself have dealt me varying luck, but one thing is permanent : my actions often times seem planned, many times seem precise. Where I am at, what I do or what I engage in not only intrigue me, but virtually everyone around me. But alas, even though I am a man giving to much planning I will say I have less than 1% to do with what side of life I find myself. In many ways I am learning in life- one thing I always seek to learn is how to handle disappointment.

Life is full of ups and down. The life of those that have gone before me have taught me to enjoy the ups and revel in the downs. I am a freespirit more so I am a lively highspirited fellow. Gloom and I are totally diametric opposites! That is why handling disappointment often comes with its own challenges- but I have learnt. I have learnt dry jokes work, self deprecation is a sure fire way and forward planning provides a soft landing. But knowing that life deals you the hand that the Almighty uses to favor you, is a comforting feeling. Like it said in the good books: "All things work together for good..."

Any disappointment lately? Sure you bet. Georgia Tech. Sure they suck! I loved to be at Gatech. Everyone that knew me in the undergraduate years knows Atlanta was my exit point. I wrote the GRE with the Gatech cut off points in mind, all roads led there! But alas, I had not even finished applying before I got that dreaded letter: Rejected. Sad, sorrowful, mad? NO! Disappointed? Maybe. I moved on- I wasted a lot of money on applying to other schools I didn't even like- but even B Schools had the nerve to create one road block or the other! Damn they suck! But I realized at one point- maybe afterall it is not grad school I was supposed to go in January. I gave it all up, focused on getting me a good paying dream job- and guess what? What others find so hard came so easily.

Such is life- for what the creator wants is beyond your imagination. Just move on!


this is