our first stop was on the strand. the strand is the historic district with tons of fantastic old buildings, many of which are converted into shops, restaurants, and homes. i really love how galveston seems to have a very strong sense of maintaining its architectural history. it really is gorgeous.
we went to the pretentious-sounding Mod Cafe because their online menu promised vegetarian fare and coffee. we looked totally confused as we walked in all encumbered with toddler, booster seat, and the Good Stuff bag. we were scanning the place for the food menu since all we could see was a chalkboard with a coffee menu. i wasn't really sure how it was supposed to work. i'm convinced the girl behind the counter hated us on sight and me accidentally ordering a "tall.. i mean small" latte probably made her hate us even more. maybe she was childfree and loving it and we were stepping all over her vibe.
we discovered the vegetarian fare was trapped in plastic take away boxes inside one of those glass doored fridges so we got hummus and cheese and grapes and zucchini bread and coffees. oliver ate a banana. he's a fickle wickle these days, but bananas seem to be taking priority over most all else.
we eventually vamoosed on out of there and were off on the daily adventure: kemah boardwalk.
kemah was once a solitary, quaint shrimping village just up the coast from galveston. they reached their population apex in 1970 with 2000 residents before beginning to decline. during an historic moment in 1997, they decided to build a boardwalk kind of like a tiny, straight-laced, corporate-styled coney island. we figured it wouldn't hurt to kill a couple of hours there.
despite the periodic and pleasant breeze, it was pretty warm. first things first, brian rode the new wooden roller coaster which was built about fifty feet from those condos i was telling you about. and that bitch is LOUD. i made the mistake of standing in this little covered walkway right next to it while holding oliver and that thing came roaring right past us. oliver threw himself against me with all his might like i was peanut butter and he was jelly and it was all i could do to remain calm and not duck for cover and pull the bread up over our heads. so we dallied alongside the rail by the ocean instead. we watched this one latina chick in an elaborate, shimmery, strapless gown bolstered underneath by 10 yards of taffeta who was escorted by several young men in white tuxedos sweating away under the sun. we thought they had gone nuts and gotten married on the boardwalk, but it turned out they had just gone nuts and celebrated her fifteenth birthday on the boardwalk. it seemed like a rather miserable prospect to me.
after some technical difficulties (like a stuck roller coaster), brian finally finished his ride and we hopped on this tiny train that goes around the park. it was my lazy man's ride. at the end, it went through this tunnel marked "BLASTING TUNNEL" or something like that which gave me worries for the baby. and, lo and behold, the "engineer" announced we had better watch ourselves because we were in some kind of gun fighting territory and then there were all these animatrons swiveling around all herky-jerky style firing guns and looking creepy and pretend explosions were going off noisewise like they were being played on that old jam box i had in middle school stuck up in the fake rocks somewhere and the train was all slowed down and i hoped the baby wasn't gearing up to have nightmares or lifelong therapy. and then it was over.
it sounds like we didn't do much at the old boardwalk, yet it was still time to go. it was hot. oliver was tired. the rides were something ridiculous like $3.50 each and i didn't have two quarters to rightfully rub together anyway.
on the way out, we decided to get oliver a t-shirt with the only airbrush design i've liked since the mid-80s: a turtle. it was going to take 30 minutes, so we hustled on over to the Bamboo Bar which is apparently still part of the boardwalk pricewise, as i discovered when i paid our tab of two $7.25 shiners. while we were in there, i saw a statue monkey hanging from the ceiling with glitter on its titties.
there was also this middle aged guy with a setup where he had all these tracks playing and he would play along on the guitar and sing rock classics to the crowd (which was maybe 8 people). on our way out, oliver became mesmerized and stood three feet away staring at him (he likes guitars). so the rocker was all "what's your name? do you like the doors? [cue music] c'mon oliver, light my fire. oliver, we couldn't get much HIGHYUHHHHH! YEAH! YEAH!" and we were all laughing and laughing and pulling out the video camera and oliver kind of did this little bouncy thing we considered dancing and sort of clapped a little. then the guy was through singing and brian put five dollars in his tip jar and oliver was all "BUH BLAH BLAHBLAH BLAH BUH" and the rocker started unfurling his microphone so oliver could talk into it and then oliver would stop talking and so the rocker showed him his rubber elvis chicken and asked him if he liked ZZ Top. and he was off again and the camera was on again and oliver finally couldn't stand it a second longer and started to close the distance between himself and all those buttons and cords right there on the floor, but brian did this dive and roll and intercepted him and then went back to filming and then we left.
outside, there was this "band" up on a stage with two black ladies singing that hip hop song that you would recognize if i could make the music sounds for you in this entry, but i don't know how to type that. by the time we had walked over to the stage, we noticed an elderly couple doing this slow, dainty, methodical line dance right there in front of the stage and nearly passed out from how cute they were.
the t-shirt is fantastic.
on the way back, brian filmed texas city in all its massive refinery glory and he especially liked the part with the tower that shoots flames out the top like it's from the set of lord of the rings: fire mountain edition. then i pretended to call 911 when this truck full of yahoos started tailing us because they were in a hurry to get to the dickey's barBQ, i guess. or, maybe, the styrofoam ice chest needed a restock of the lite clamato beer.
after a short reprieve at the hotel, we ventured back up to the strand to look for a place for dinner. i fail to recall why we didn't know where we were going for dinner before we left. that's very unlike me. i've been known to chide my parents for getting into their car to go to dinner without even knowing where dinner will take place. and in a town the size of tyler, you have to think fast or you'll find yourself outside the city limits.
we parked in a lot promising no fees with restaurant validation. i saw some humongous contraption off the shore on the bay side which i imagined must be an offshore oil rig. i don't even know if that's possible in a bay. later, i wondered if it had been the battleship galactica and we missed out on a tourist opportunity. we walked until we found yaga's cafe, which i had remembered as having several vegetarian options. once seated with menus, i realized i was kind of wrong. one of the options was a burger containing eggplant. brian would rather peel off his face than even think about eggplant. and it was grilled where dead cows were grilled, so that counted me out. we settled on a pizza with half cheese/half no cheese. as expected, the waiter later announced the pizza had been made with all cheese. the baby was already beside himself at this point and it was taking ages to get our order, part 2. we could finally no longer deny that this order would need to be to go.
oliver melted down enough that i had to escort him from the premises and walk him up and down the street and through a little cement square where there had earlier been vendors. he was throwing tantrums left and right and we finally got our food and got out of there. then brian's receipt turned into dust and blew away so that he had to pay $8 for parking.