Thursday, April 9, 2009

Enter the Space City - Houston .. first glimpses

I guess I have seen many things, places in my first week in Houston. I have been temporarily staying with Dhananjay, my ex-collegemate, and a few others. Everyone has been very helpful and making my transition kind of easy. When these people arrived here in fall, they didn't have anybody to show around. I guess I am lucky in that sense.

Firstly, I did some required things - opening bank account, applying for a credit card n all. While doind that I had a small experience which highlights a kind of cultural difference that I'll be coming across. The lady officer in bank was asking for my personal details. She wanted know my mother's name. "Please tell me your mother's name before marriage if she was ever married.", she said politely. I was like "if she was ever married!! How weird is that!!". Would you expect same statement from a lady officer sitting at Bank of Maharashtra, Bajirao Road branch? Absolutely not!

Apart from seeing some Malls like Fiesta (a one-stop shop for grocery etc), Wallmart, Fry's electronics (a huge centre for computers and electronic stuff), I also visited a temple; it was a special feeling being in Houston.

They also took me to some area called "Hillcroft" where there is a variety of Indian stores and restaurants. We stopped by to have some chat dishes. As I entered I was taken aback by the rates of dishes. $4 i.e. Rs 200 for panipuri, $5 i.e. Rs 250 for Bhel. That's ridiculous man! I chose the cheapest one - $2.5 for a Samosa plate. Never in my life I had thought twice before ordering a samosa or a panipuri.

While doing all this, the roads I travelled on were fantastic; all cement roads, well paved area for pedestrians, lush green lawns on both sides of road, huge parking lots. I guess being fourth largest city in the US, most part of the Houston will be similar. You get to see only a few motor bikes over here. In my stay so far I have hardly seen 5 may be 6 and all were racer bikes; no economy class bikes. Thats obvious when you get a gallon (3.7 litres) of petrol in just under two dollars. The thing I have noticed is driving on these roads would not require any skill but yes .. lot of discipline. That's why I think you can see equal number of female drivers out on the road :P

This week it was all fun. But yes .. a new beginning at a new place with new people.

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