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Sunday, September 25, 2005
12:30ish p.m. - IAH - HOUSTON, Texas
(To figure out what's happening, you'll likely want to start reading the post titled "And so begins an adventure...", and work your way backwards up the page. --Guy)
• Arrive in Houston, head to the station, and then head out...
After what seemed like a REALLY long flight (it was only 3 hours, but seemed like forever for some reason), we landed in Houston, at a airport that will remain nameless, just because it has something to do with a current US president who seems to come across as a buffoon.
While taxiing the plane to the gate, I got a call from my IT manager, wondering where I was. Apparently, the plane was a bit late, and he wondered if I was already there. Finally, I'd said my necessary "Buh-bye", and "Buh-bye, now" to the flight crew (one of which must've been gay, as he attempted to pick up on the guy sitting behind me for most of the trip) and trudged around trying to find my luggage. Lucky for me, my luggage arrived on the same flight I did, so my IT guy and got my stuff, and headed for the car. And that's when it hit me.
The air that is. See, after California, with its recent moderate temperatures and low humidity, walking into post-hurricane Texas air is like getting hit up side the head. You have to wade through this air, hurricane or not.
We left the airport, traveling on deserted roads. I mean, yeah, there were cars here and there, but apparently Houston traffic is as bad as, if not worse than LA traffic, and there was NOBODY on the roads. Soon I learned why. Everybody that had a car with any gas in it at all was in line at gas stations, trying to get more.
Lines were so bad at some stations that you had police, and rangers, and constables, and whatever-other-type-of-law-enforcement-personnel-they-wanna-call-'em-in-Texas there just to keep things orderly. Most gas stations seemed to have no prices listed, as the numbers had either blown away, or simply been taken down to show that there was no gas to be had.
Many stores and businesses were boarded up, and it was almost as if you were in a ghost town, with a few tourist spectators thrown in.
The radio and TV studios are located some distance from the airport (like 45 minutes to an hour) so we finally arrived there and headed in. My company has a nice building in Houston, and it was running on a generator, even though power had been restored. Apparently the power was a bit flaky, so they chose to use the generator to be on the safe side and not get surges and outages. Just a few people were in the station, but there was plenty of bottled water, snacks, and canned foods laying about.
After a few phone calls, some equipment loading, and a raid of the provisions, my VP and I headed out to the transmitter. Finally, I noted that I was hungry, so we found a McDonald's that appeared to be open and serving. Of course, they didn't have any salads (so much for that "Salads 'N More" menu), so I ended up with fries and a fish fillet sandwich. I'm not too fond of the fish, but at least I've had it before. Don't think I could stomach a hamburger.
One red-neck customer came into the McDonald's and felt it was his duty to inform everyone that there was gas at such-and-such a gas station across the way, and he knew, cuz he'd just cum from thar and filled 'er up himself.
Well his announcement didn't cause the mass stampede he'd hoped for (I think he wanted to cut the line to get food down), many people expressed their thanks. As if to further get to the front of the line, the redneck-style man started to wonder aloud how long the McDonald's had been without power, and if there were indeed serving food that had been stored outside of proper temperature. Still nobody seemed to care, and continued ordering anyway.