“I haven’t really gone anywhere…” she said. I just about freaked out.
“ You live in GALVESTON! How can you say, you haven’t gone anywhere? What’s wrong with you?” I scolded my friend, Febbie, when she apologetically admitted that she hasn’t explored Galveston. “Galveston is a vacation spot, with a beach AND near Houston!” I continued, indignant that she let a year go by without really doing anything or going anywhere. Well, technically, she’s been to Waco and Canada a couple of times but that doesn’t count. When you live in a tourist island, you go out during the weekends and go hopping around the island. At least, that’s what I had in mind.
In a couple of weeks, I will be living in Galveston for six months as part of my ongoing job as a traveling Physical Therapist. I will miss Longview Texas for sure, it has been home for 11 months. In fact, I love my apartment there. Like, I really love it. *crying a little*
The weather was great that weekend I drove down to check the place out. Everything was going smoothly, sky was blue, clouds were white, sun was bright and I-45 South was closed. Wait… what?? Yes, I-45 South, which is the main entry way to Galveston was CLOSED for a couple of miles. The interstate became a parking lot. The cars were moving SO SLOWLY that one man in the red pick up truck actually could stick his left leg out his window while driving. I eventually made it to Galveston by way of Texas 3 and 146 which meets back up to the part of I-45S that wasn’t closed off.
When I finally made it to Galveston, Febbie whisked me off to have seafood lunch at Gaido’s Seafood restaurant. SEAFOOD. Did I mention that Galveston is an island and is surround by the Gulf of Mexico? No? Well, it is. Hence, SEAFOOD. As with any other town I go to, I try to eat in at least one restaurant which is local to the area. And Gaido’s is exactly that and more. It’s been around since 1911, serves fresh seafood in Southwest and Creole flavors. Febbie and I aren’t super hungry since she had a late breakfast and I have been munching on almonds during the drive but the menu looked awesome. Our server was also very engaging and had launched into a long and detailed explanation of the dishes the chef can prepare for us which can’t be found in the menu. We ended up ordering Watkins Bisque (a lobster bisque which was super good), half dozen oysters with different flavors, combination seafood platter and their complimentary bread (this bread, I wanted to continue eating forever.) While we not that hungry, we wanted to taste different things. I made a good decision to wear something light and flowy that day because I felt like a crab stuffed shrimp after eating a little bit of that feast. I will say that it took forever for the food to come, probably because everything was made from scratch.
Just when I thought I no longer have space in my stomach, I did. Febbie took me to MOD Coffeeshop located in the Strand district where I tried their iced raspberry mocha. While the coffee had that interesting of fruity and chocolatey, it didn’t leave that much of an impression on me. But maybe because I was already a crab stuffed shrimp from the prior stop. Nonetheless, I made a mental note to come back to this coffee place, which is another local establishment as far as I know. I pretty wanted to slap myself silly for not being able to take pictures (Yelp has some!) but I figured that I would have time for that anyway. They place gave a hipster millennial feel but the patrons were actually a mixed bunch from different generations. It had plenty of seating and they served all sorts of lattes with a few choices in pastries.
After attending Mass and a quick run to the supermarket and gas station, Febbie and I made our way to the beach. Finally, a beach. We parked the car at Kroger’s supermarket and crossed the street to the beach. There were several beach parks in Galveston but the beach we went to is part of the Seawall Urban Park, which encompasses about 10 miles of beach as well as the “nation’s longest continuous sidewalk”. This beach is along Seawall Boulevard which is home to a whole bunch of restaurants and establishments.
Truth be told, Galveston does not have the prettiest beaches. They mostly have fine brown sand and the water seems to me, a combination of gray, dark green and brown. But there is something about open water space, we are looking out to the Gulf of Mexico after all, that makes me reflective and happy. Febbie and I made our way out to an outcrop of rocks to stare out unto the water. Standing there, my skirt flowing with the gentle breeze, I thought about how I didn’t want to leave Longview, how I’ve made myself a small home there in the apartment I loved. Looking out to the Gulf, I also thought about how God has never brought me to a place that wasn’t good. I thought about how I’m about to have the opportunity increase my knowledge regarding my profession, live with a friend, be in a touristy city with plenty of things to see and do, and go on another big adventure. And I thought to myself “All izz well” (Reference: 3 Idiots!)