The Houston & New Orleans Experience
Yes, you’ve read it right. Pay actually went to Houston, Texas. “Why are you going to Houston? What’s in Houston?” are the questions that were asked when I said I was going there. I guess it won’t be the first city that comes to mind when one decides to take a trip somewhere. Well, to answer that question, one of my closest friends lives there. We were supposed to go to Cuba together but due to circumstances the plans got changed to me visiting her. Earlier this year we talked about a roadtrip from Houston to New Orleans so we decided to plan that trip during my stay in Houston. Seeing I had never been to Texas or Louisiana, I was pretty excited to add 2 more cities and states to my growing list of places I’ve been.
Now, let me state that this was the BEST. VACATION. ever. Yes, I said it. As many travels I have had and beautiful places I’ve been to, this was the vacation that I desperately needed. Maybe it feels like that as well because the trip before that (New York in December) turned out to be not what I expected. Nevertheless, Houston topped everything. I think it has a lot to do with the people you’re with. Obviously I was with my sis Rabéa so yeah, couldn’t go wrong with that already. It may also had to do with the fact I wasn’t on a “music-work” trip, nor do I know a million people in Houston to be scheduled for meet-ups like usually in New York. Nah, this was a relaxing, no schedule having, no drama having, great weather having- vacation. I usually travel by myself as well but this time it was just Bay & Pay together. All day every day and I loved every minute, every second of it.
My flight had a 5 hour lay-over in Newark which made the trip pretty tiring. After about 20 hours of traveling I landed in H-Town right before midnight. Bay came to pick me up and boom, we were headed straight to the club. Not because we were going clubbing, I was tired as hell. My friend Jay Clipp from Dallas was spinning at club Belvedere’s in Houston that night and was leaving the next day, I had to go say hi. Entering the club all washed up from traveling, travel clothes and sneakers and people instantly looked at me like “uhm, ok?” A dude running up to Bay & me to take our pictures with some sunglasses (yes in the club) and then Jay giving me a shout out on the mic while DJ-ing. “Big shout out to my homie Pay who flew in from Amsterdam and came straight from the airport over here!” I felt instantly loved the minute I arrived in Houston.
Having gone to sleep around maybe 4 or 5 am in the morning, I was up at 7.30 am already. I barely got rest since I flew from Amsterdam, yet there I was up and at em again, trying to get as much in from Houston as I could. I was going to have breakfast/brunch with my friend Rontae who I hadn’t seen in about 12 years. He moved to Houston some time ago, which was a coincidence. Bay had to work in the morning, Rontae picked me up around 11.30 and we had some breakfast at IHOP (we don’t have IHOP where I live so leave it alone lol). Then we drove around the city and hit up the Beercan House. (Gettin’ my tourist on.) That evening Bay took me to the Cellar Bar where it was some Vinyl Only night with some good Hip Hop music. I met so many wonderful people that night and had a blast! Seeing it was my birthday that week and I usually celebrate it abroad, I celebrated it in Houston that night. Apparently (thank you William and Cree), people give you a dollar for your birthday and you wear it. I didn’t believe them at first, but then other folks came asking me if it’s my birthday haha! I collected some dollars that night. I had a blast.
Yes, we went to sleep very late again. After the bar, Bay, Cree and myself went to get some food from the BBQ food truck and snacked it away at home. Going to sleep at about 5 am, only to get up at 7.30 again to hit the beach in Galveston. The beach was plowed nicely and it was clean. (Unlike the beaches over here…) It was hot but there was a strong breeze so it felt nice. The water was warm! Like jumping into a bathtub. Yes, we splashed around like some kids and got knocked over by waves breaking on our asses. One huge wave even slapped me a cramp in my left butt cheek! (No lie!) We had a lot of fun. No BP oil spill could have kept me out of that water. Despite the non execution of our plan to catch up on sleep at the beach, it was a great day. I got to taste some of that Frenchie’s that night also. Excellent fried chicken!
Monday was girl-pamper day. We got our toes done at the nailshop, went to have lunch at Cafe Brasil, shopped and relaxed the rest of the day. I’m kinda lost on what we did that evening. I think that’s the day I took a nap around 6 pm so we could go to the movies later, but ended up waking up at 6 am haha! I needed that sleep.
Tuesday Bay took me for breakfast to Baby Barnaby’s. Lovely cute spot. We went to some of her favorite stores after that and I found some nice things. We also went by her studio, which was great to see. The artistic vibe at the studio felt inspiring, not to mention the beautiful work that I saw from the artists at the studio, including Rabéa’s work. That evening we went out to dinner with Mohamad to an Arabic Food place. It was really good. He then took us to a Hookah Bar, yes yes, I smoked a little apple tobacco and it got me really sleepy. But we were going to the movies still so I could not fall out. We went to go see Bad Teacher. Paris joined us at the movies but it turned out that it didn’t play at the time we wanted to go, due to technical difficulties. We ended up going to Super 8. Yeah, no. Cool movie, but not really. You can skip the theaters for that one.
Wednesday Bay had to prepare for work that evening so I hung out and relaxed at the house. When Bay went to work, Paris came over to hang out and I got a taste of what Star Pizza tastes like. Although I did feel like some Frenchie’s again haha.
The next day we got up early cause that was our Thelma & Louise day, our roadtrip to New Orleans. We stacked up on food, snacks and drinks for the road and went on our way. Driving on the I-10 felt like driving through the country in Holland. Two lanes on the highway and nothing but grass and trees. I saw some swamps though. That was about the only difference there was. When we arrived in Nawlins, Bay drove through St. Charles Ave and it was so amazing to see all the beautiful buildings, the architecture and the beads on all the trees and trolley wires.
We happened to go to New Orleans when the Essence Music Festival was taking place so everything was full booked and the city was crowded. Thankfully some of my friends had to perform and my good friend Rick let us crash at the hotel, right on Canal Street in the French Quarter. Couldn’t have worked out better. That evening Bay, Rick and myself hit up Landry’s for some good food. The shrimp etouffee was a lovely recommendation by Stokley (Rick’s friend). Then we hit the streets and I got my tourist on in Bourbon Street. Madness, but no different than Amsterdam streets in the red light district really. Aside from the heat and the sewer smell, it was pretty much the same; drunk, loud people, music & lit up signs everywhere. We ran into Wanya from Boyz II Men on Bourbon St and also had to deal with a drunk but huge fan of Rick (Mint Condition). He just didn’t wanna let him go. I think it took us about half an hour before we were able to pull his drunk and sweaty ass off of Rick, in all embarrasment of his lovely girlfriend that tried just as hard as we did haha. We got up with my friends Dwele & J. Tait as well for a quick minute before we decided to call it a night. Yes we some old ladies, but we drove all day and wanted to get up early again.
Friday, get up and explore New Orleans. I think we hit the streets about 9.30 am and got our breakfast at The Market Cafe, provided with some live music from the band that was playing there. (Funny fact: The guitar player was the same guy that played the night before at Landry’s where we had dinner. He actually recognized us too.) Gotta love New Orleans for all the great musicians that play everywhere around the city. It was HOT as hell that day, we walked and walked, took pictures, bought stuff, ate more food. We spotted Steve Harvey at Cafe Du Monde. Which is by the way a very overrated spot in my opinion, after having been there. It looked like everybody was snorting coke with all the white powder on the floor, tables, everywhere. The beignets were like “oliebollen” cept our treats are a lot better. Anyway, we went back to the hotel to take a nap (grandma style) seeing we were going to the Essence Music Festival later. Rick got us on the list, gotta love that guy. We get picked up at the hotel around 6 pm to drive to the Dome. Yep, I now also have set foot in the home of Superbowl champions The Saints. How awesome is that? 🙂
The line-up was crazy but so many areas and overlapping shows and miles to walk from one area to another, we kinda left most of it alone. We caught some of Boyz II Men, Jennifer Hudson, Macy Gray and some others. But we went to catch the first part of Dwele’s show, only to walk back through half the dome to catch Mint Condition. Now THAT show was awesome. It was packed so I could barely see anything, but hearing them live, whew. It definitely required a boo next to you during some songs. (You Send Me Swingin, Pretty Brown Eyes, So Fine, You Don’t Have to Hurt No More, What Kind of Man Would I Be?, etc.) It was a great evening. And yes, the two old ladies planned to hit the streets after that, but fell out once we got back in the hotel room haha.
Saturday, back to Houston after we got our breakfast in, well, lunch since it was already 1 pm. I tried some fried alligator. It was aight, tastes like salty chicken but the rubbery parts were not so cool. Unfortunately my eye started ackin’ like a lil b%^$ so I couldn’t really get my last minute sightseeing in before leaving. For some reason, the drive back seemed a lot quicker. We hit some thunderstorms on the way back to Houston but it was nice to cool off a bit after the 110 degrees in New Orleans, although I will take the heat over this cold here, any day. We got in around 8 pm and then went straight back out to finally go see Bad Teacher. We were pooped after that.
Sunday I switched on tourist-mode again. We went to NASA Space Center. Can’t set foot in Houston without having visited NASA. I was a little sour when we got there because my video camera decided to call it quits on me right as we walked in the building. Although it was more like a space theme park for children, it was pretty cool to see the rockets and the actual Mission Control Center where everything happens. In the evening we hit up club Belvedere’s again. I met some cool people again that evening. Bay, Danielle, Brandon and myself went to Denny’s after the club for some breakfast. When we walked into the spot, everybody was singing along to “Solid as a Rock”. That was hilarious. I felt like we walked straight into a music video and couldn’t help but join them. Honestly, the music at Denny’s was a lot better than in the club haha! Our waiter was all by himself that night but pulled it off. If Marlon Wayans and Nick Cannon had a baby, that would be him. He looked just like them.
Monday, my last day, we all got sad already. It was the 4th of July so I would definitely go out with a bang. We hung out with Kenya all day before going to Khalil & Regina’s BBQ on the rooftop, right near downtown Houston. It was amazing on top of their apartment building. The weather was perfect, little breeze, perfect view of the sunset. The food was great (good job first time BBQ Chef Khalil haha) and the company was awesome. Met more wonderful people that evening. We all watched the fireworks from the roof and after that, Bay, Kenya and myself hit up The Flat real quick. I met up with DJ Sun (who is born in Rotterdam). It was weird speaking Dutch with him out there, very cool dude. M1 hit me up that he was in Houston so we stopped by him for a quick minute to say what’s up. That was really random but pretty cool. And then the night had to end. Although I didn’t want it to, because I didn’t wanna go home. All good things come to an end. Sigh.
Tuesday the 5th. Time to go home Pay. Sadness. Paris joined us for lunch to see me out before Bay and Kenya took me to the airport. It was a sad day. But we didn’t cry, ha! I love Houston. I really do. I love the people there, everybody is so genuinely nice and kind. Even in the club, the women were all nice haha. Houston definitely ruined it for New York and all the other cities I went to in the States. New Orleans was awesome too. It gets a big fat shout out for having an INDONESIAN store! That was great.
I wanna give a HUGE shout out full of infinite love to the person who made my best vacation ever possible, to my PNC, meine grosse Schwester für das Leben, my monkey back skin-peeler, the Louise to my Thelma, the love of my life (no lesbo), Rabéa. I love you. No need to clarify why, you already know. Now go sweep my skin. ♡
Another special shout out full of love goes out to my wonderful and much appreciated friend Rick. I am glad we got to hang out. Thank you for always coming through, for always sticking to your word and for your everlasting love & friendship. Knowing that you always got me, means a lot to me.
Shout outs full of love to all the wonderful people I’ve met and hung out with during this vacation. In no particular order: Zula, Kenya, Paris, Rontae, William, Cree, Josie, Brandon, Danielle, Renetta, Khalil, Regina, Res, Brenda and everyone else I may have failed to mention, blame the overwhelming memories and the forgetfulness due to being back on regular scheduled program with work already. Much love to Houston!
I shall return! <3
And a little shout out to Mr. Reginald Daniels from Continental Airlines for being so nice to us, for giving me elite treatment at the airport and for offering his “great friends” to marry me so I could stay in Houston with my girls and never be sad again lol.