Texas– where we spent the month of January hopping around various city destination. From the wide-open expanses in the West, to bustling urban centers, to slowing-it-down on the Gulf Coast, we enjoyed the diversity and vastness of Texas! Throughout our month, here are a few things that stood out about Texas along the way:
We always hear about Tex-Mex food, but it wasn’t until we were presented with “Tex-Mex” menus, that we came to understand how the vast majority of the “Mexican” food we had been consuming for years was really an Americanized interpretation & blending of cuisines. A culinary awakening within our melting-pot culture.
Being called “Ma’am” and “Sir” by strangers definitely caught both of us off guard, to begin with, even more so when the terms became more intimate, like “baby”. Whichever word used, we came to appreciate how it infused our interactions with a sense of warmth and originates from a place of friendliness and respect.
Oil Rigs on Land and by Sea
Crossing through West Texas, America’s oil presence is omnipotent. Resembling bobbing drinking birds, these “pump jacks” command the landscape and the attention of newcomers. When we journeyed down to the Gulf side of Texas, spotting large offshore oil platforms was another reminder that oil is very much an institution in Texas.
Filling-up at the pump in Texas was consistently the cheapest we have encountered throughout the states so far. An unanticipated surprise for all the miles we had to cover. But really, no shocker when oil is abundant and sourced from Texas.
We often see them in Western films or their skulls hanging on the wall as “Western” décor, but, until Texas, had not seen actual longhorn cattle roaming about. Expecting something the size of a Spanish bull, we were surprised to see that despite the incredibly intimidating horn span, the cattle itself were generally of average size.
Unexpectedly Unforgiving Weather
We did not learn our lesson the first time we tried to winter in Texas, and headed to Texas in January to escape the cold, or so we thought. Our first winter trip to Texas 2 years ago had us evacuating a tornado zone only to be stranded in Amarillo for 48 hours while the highway was closed due to a blizzard. On this latest trip, we thought that staying towards the Southern half of the state would ensure safety from cold weather, but were again grounded for a few days when an ice storm hit, closing many of the public facilities and schools in the area. Despite its Southern location in the U.S., the weather is no joke, don’t mess with Texas.