The American way of life
Back to the point. In my apartment there are other 2 people living, a Colombian girl named Karen and a Mexican guy named Lohengrin. Do you see a pattern here? What became of Maria and Jose?! Well, Karen’s story I don’t know, but Lohengrin has this name because his father was very fond of Wagner’s music, and therefore decided to name him after one of Wagner’s operas, much to his happiness, I’m sure. Luckily, I bet that Lohengrin’s school companions did not know this is the opera the famous nuptial march comes from, otherwise his childhood would have been much worse... Anyway, both Karen and Lohengrin are nice people, friendly enough PLUS, they don’t have the bad habit of playing drums loudly like my previous housemates. Hehehe. Not that I minded… I mean, here, with these shaky things mimicking solid surfaces they call walls, you can hear everything, as if it were in your own room. And I shall say no more.
And with Karen I had the first attack of “Europeanitis”. Two weeks ago, I was invited to go to a pub by my Italian neighbours and also invited my housemates, and Karen replied with a “I can’t have beer”. I left with the feeling that the poor girl was sick, maybe taking antibiotic, which is more or less the only reason why I would deny a beer… Then I found out she was underaged, that is, less than 21, and that was why she couldn’t drink. This was the first detail that really made me realize I am in America now. I don’t know anyone in Portugal, or the Netherlands for that matter, that would let a minor thing like “laws” get in the way between them and a bit of fun.
Therefore, while sitting in an Irish Pub in Houston, TX (yes, Irish pubs do look all the same everywhere), I sipped my Corona (produto importado de Mexico) with extra pleasure, happy that the wisdom that apparently comes with age allows me to do the same stupid things any teenager would do, right under the approving eye of Law and Order.
So, you may ask, what IS there to do in Houston? Well. Not much. I heard the museums are very good, though. The only thing I saw so far was the Butterfly Tower, which is a building located at the Natural History Museum that simulates a tropical environment and where you can see hundreds of butterflies fluttering around you…
Needless to say I was deeply in love with the place at first sight. You enter this extremely moist place, with exotic plants everywhere, and butterflies, like the one in the picture, flying around you, almost landing on your hands, shoulders and head, of all colours and shapes… It is really beautiful… There is also an iguana, and I managed to take a picture of it, which was quite difficult despite it being very still, because there was a swarm of people around it saying in a very American way: “is it real???? Yes, it’s real, look at it moving!!! It’s moving, dad, come and look!!” Well, shiiiit, I thought to myself, why would they put a plastic iguana there? I mean, why not then put plastic plants and plastic butterflies? Dude, these guys are like soooo stupid. Yeah, they really talk like this. And then I managed to squeeze in and take a picture of the poor iguana that was probably feeling like a scaly greenish version of Lady Di. By the way, in the Natural History Museum there is also an exhibition about Princess Diana. Don’t ask why... Dinosaurs to the left, Diana to the right… makes A LOT of sense.
After you leave the butterfly greenhouse, you step into the entomological exhibition, which is extremely good, I must say. It’s like Entomology ( = study of insects) 101 and it really touches every important point there is to know about insects… If you want to wander around, you can, and don’t pay much attention to details, but if you’re curious to know more, you can spend your whole afternoon there, reading the posters, with very accurate information about mimicry, plant-insect interactions, mutualisms (a whole poster dedicated to leaf cutter ants in Texas, ANIEK!!!), life-cycles, development, wow! I loved it. My Italian neighbours, with whom I went, weren’t that much interested in the giant cockroaches (the biggest are the ones from Madagascar, I shit you not, I’m never ever ever going there…), black-widows and horned-beetles, and I had to hurry through the exhibition so that they wouldn’t be waiting for me eternally…
My Italian neighbours!!! I still didn’t tell you about them. Valeria and Alessandro are both computer geeks and working in networks. They are here for 6 months like me, but Alessandro has already done almost all of his time, ehehe. He’s leaving in the end of February. Valeria will stay here the same time as me. They are both very nice, and so far my weekend plans have been with them. They live in the same 2426 Quenby, but in other parts of the house, actually you can see Valeria's front door in the next picture. They are lucky enough to have their own studio each, with private space, private bathroom, etc. No, I’m not complaining. Well, ok, I am.
Ok, that’s it for today. I’m going to the University now to plate some Klebsiella aerogenes! Ehehe. Great fun, really. Seriously.