I spent the last 5 days down in Houston, Texas. Here’s some of what happened:
Flight: CLT –> IAH
American Airlines, 5:59 PM flight. Airport was a mess again. The kiosks at CLT were having some technical difficulties, a lot of people were confused about checking their bags, as some of the kiosks were for “light” (carry on only) travelers, and others were for the, um, heavy weights such as myself! However, due to poor labeling and a huge crowd, people were seriously confused. I finally got to a kiosk that allowed me to check a bag, although it did not let the two women in front of me check one. Not sure what that was about, but they were extremely upset. When I finally got to the podium to hand my monstrosity of a bag over, the attendant was arguing with a customer and told him “don’t you put your angry face on, sir,” well, at least she called him sir? I tried to be extra pleasant to her but she was still a little nasty with me. Perhaps she was nearing the end of her shift. Must’ve been a tough day.
Security was a little backed up but went along smoothly. I quickly boarded the plane and relaxed. Lucky to be in the front again. For dinner they served tamales…I was a bit nervous at first but it ended up being pretty good. We landed about 30 minutes late in Houston. I proceeded down to baggage to find the carousel ramp filled with bags, yet none coming down. The carousel was stuck, and people were getting very angry. Like, very, very angry. Multiple people were on their phones trying to get a representative down to help, but it took a really long time to finally get someone down there. People were complaining about missing their dinner plans and rides and some climbed up the carousel to retrieve their bags. I stood there and laughed. And took pictures. It made for a really stupid snapchat story. Once I finally got my bag, I had to wait even longer for an uber, as the taxi line was backed up. Blah. The craziness of the evening was balanced out by some nice wine and cheese once I made it to the apartment. Phew.
Friday morning I slept in. I needed it. My one priority for the day was to hit a yoga class, and conveniently none of the morning classes appealed to me. Well, they at least couldn’t compete with how comfortable the bed was.
I finally made it to the 2:30 PM class at Yoga One, Midtown, and here are my notes from the class:
I took Chioma’s (“Chi”) 2:30 Flow class. The room was warm, but I don’t think they had heaters on. The studio is a lot nicer inside than it looks – the shopping plaza storefront is definitely misleading. They had some really cute clothes and yoga gear, a cool juice bar, and beautiful locker rooms. The class itself was a basic vinyasa flow class. Chi was awesome. Probably one of the fittest people I have seen in a LONG time. She was super calm and peaceful, although I could tell that she’s a badass athlete and was likely going to go crush a cross fit WOD immediately after class. There were only five of us in there, which was nice. I’m used to being in really crowded classes, it was a welcomed change. As with most of the yoga classes I have been to, this one was exactly what I needed. I thought that I wanted a fast paced sweaty flow class, I was looking forward to getting lost in the music and tuning out. This was NOT that. We focused on breathing. We moved slowly. There was music, but it was soft, and sort of like something you would hear in a spa. I was definitely sweating early on – but it wasn’t that crazy-dripping sweat like i’m used to at Y2 back home. We played with arm balances for awhile, I tried out some side-crow variations. Chi was supportive and the mood in the room was light. Awesome class.
My über drive back from yoga was interesting. He said he stopped practicing yoga a long time ago, mostly because he had started power lifting, and had bulked up. I told him that it still might be good for him to work it in here and there, find some balance, dude. He told me that recently he had been doing a lot of hiking with weighted vests on, and that he and his wife were going to hike up and down the Grand Canyon in two weeks, with vests on. He then invited me to come with. Given that we had been chatting for all of, um, 4 minutes, I graciously declined his offer and wished him the best of luck.
Friday night we had dinner at El Tiempo – a delicious mexican restaurant nearby. I was advised to drink a frozen margarita. I (briefly) hesitated, as I usually drink my margs on the rocks, but gave it a try. Holy deliciousness! The consistency was perfect – not too “icy,” just smooth and tasty. The other highlight of this place was the salsa. Probably the best salsa i’ve ever had…and here’s why: cheese. YES, CHEESE. They put cheese in their salsa. MIND. BLOWN.
Saturday afternoon we went to Spec’s to stock up on wine. Immediately after walking in, it felt like christmas morning. This place reminded me of a duty free store you’d find at a major international airport. They had everything you could dream of. We got A LOT of wine, a bottle of prosecco, and at the last minute I picked up a tervis tumbler, because, well, I’ve been living in the south for six years and we get excited about tervis tumblers down here. The cashiers took my picture with said tumbler – apparently it was the first day the store was selling merchandise. It was pretty funny that they wanted my picture with the plastic cup we bought, given the amount of wine that was purchased.
On Sunday we went downstairs to Christian’s Tailgate, which happens to be a Buffalo Bills bar. We had some delicious wings and beers. I ordered Labatt Blue not because I particularly like it, but because I could. I’m from upstate New York, born in Buffalo, and that’s a staple up there. I never thought that I would ever find comfort in seeing a Bills logo or the blue light on a menu.
Sunday evening we met up with one of my friends from Northwood (boarding school). It was great to catch up with him, and always interesting to hear how others perceived me as a teenager.
On Monday I made it back to Yoga One. I went to Liz’s “Hot 60” class. I expected this class to be a variation of Bikram style yoga, and I guess it was. It moved slow and there wasn’t any music. It was extremely hot in there. Liz was calm and sweet and had a great handle on teaching. She provided awesome assists and I really enjoyed her class. We did vinyasa’s but still held poses, and there were bikram poses worked in. It was very interesting, definitely not something I have experienced before. I was exhausted from the weekend and took it easy, although the class itself was NOT easy. As usual, practicing made me feel much better. After class, Liz introduced herself to me and we chatted a bit about yoga, teacher training, and our “other” lives. She told me that she had been a professional chef for a long time, but working in the industry, particularly where she had, hardened her personality. She told me that yoga teacher training brought her back to herself and lightened her back up. Love it. Liz, you’re awesome, and I’d love to practice with you again. Thank you.
Another cool thing about Yoga One: they sent me this follow up email, welcoming me, asking for feedback, offering an advisor, and information about proper yoga etiquette. If I was brand new to yoga, this email would have been gold to me. Yoga studios can be a little intimidating if you don’t know what’s going on, or anyone there. The follow up email answered questions and took the scary part out, which in turn, makes it easier for new yogis to go back. Well done, Yoga One.
I started to feel a bit under the weather monday evening, and jumped on a flight back to Charlotte tuesday morning. My uber driver to the airport was very nice, and very interesting. He explained to me that most uber drivers have a lot of different things going on – he was in financial services/estate planning, ran a non profit, and hosted a local radio show. His non profit provides people with information about estate planning and the importance of getting your affairs in order. We had a great discussion about this – I used to work at wills clinics for elderly, low income residents in Charleston, South Carolina when I was in law school. We would (accompanied by attorneys) often go to churches and provide people with information sessions, and even do their wills for them, so long as they were simple enough. He also told me that he had a lot of people listening to his radio show from random parts of the country and world, which surprised him. I share these sentiments – I always find it so amusing when I see that people from countries far, far away are reading my blog. How, on earth, did you find kilikina??
Flight: IAH –> CLT, 11:55 AM flight
I arrived at IAH with about an hour and a half til departure. The American Airlines kiosks there were clearly labeled and there was no crowd – they also printed out the bag tag, making it super quick to get through ticketing. There were two agents there to take my bag, and they were extremely sweet and apologized for taking more than a minute to get my bag checked. WHAT? I breezed through security without a hiccup and went to the gate. I met up with my sweet friend and roommate Heather, who was flying through Houston on her way back from Costa Rica. She gave me a brief recap of her trip before I had to go board. The service on the flight was excellent, and we arrived 30 minutes early. I was so happy with AA that I tweeted at them, and they tweeted back, and said they would send my praise to the crew in Houston. Good stuff. PS: I’m new to this tweeting thing. Not sure how I feel about it.
Finally, my uber home. This guy. THIS GUY. He was nuts. My phone died right before I got in the car. When I got in, I told him that I was happy that he could find me, as my phone was dead. he said that he had tried to call, and pretty soon he was going to park, get out, and start screaming “KRISTIN!!!!” Seriously. He was yelling this to me in the car. Then he told me that his mother’s house was on fire – I told him that if he needed to go tend to that I could find another ride – then he clarified that his mother’s house HAD been on fire, and started telling about this contractor who was scheming her. He proceeded to ask me if I travel a lot. I responded with “sort of,” and he asked what type of work I did. I told him that I didn’t travel for work, and then he said “oh, you yuppies, you just get up and travel whenever you want.” Ok, ok, I was carrying a Louis Vuitton and he was taking me to Myers Park, but, c’mon! 🙂 I just laughed at him and told him that I need to find a job with an airline. He told me that he guessed that it was ok that I traveled a lot, because it was just me, but that if I was his girl, he would have a problem with me being gone all the time, and that he would have to find a way to travel with me. After that, he went on to tell me about a Groupon he found for a trip to Israel. His explanation of why he wanted to go to Israel (and Egypt) was a little confusing but extremely entertaining. He wanted to see the “piece of real estate” that the Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting about for so long. When we finally got to my house I thanked him and urged him to take the trip to Israel. $999 for 8 nights + airfare is a solid deal.
So I made it back safely. Thanks to everyone who reached out in concern for my well being. Honestly I didn’t think the weather was that bad!