Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm Not the Only One Blogging My Way Through Houston

It would be bizarre if I were. As far as I know, I am the only one with the quixotic goal of touring every single street in Houston, and unlike most of the other travelers, I am devoted almost completely to the idea of serendipitous discovery. In other words, I don't know what I'm going to find when I set out. I don't think my approach is inherently superior, though. Just different.

One traveler of this sort is Tim Lomax, who is a feature writer for the Houston Press. He's written about epic walks along the entire length of Westheimer, Bissonnet , Navigation, Shepherd, and Telephone Road, and recently did Long Point/Washington Avenue. These treks are filled with photos and smart-ass, funny writing.

But primarily Long Point is a binary street combining Mexico and Korea. In contrast to the multi-ethnic riot that is Bissonnet, or the Pan-Asian explosion that is Bellaire, Long Point is binary. Some businesses fuse into MexiKorea. The Koryo Bakery, right next door to the only Korean bookstore in Houston, touts its pan dulce y pastels, for example, and it seems that many of the Korean-owned businesses aim at Spanish-speakers more than Anglos. (Someone should open a restaurant out here called Jose Cho’s TaKorea.)
Or further down the road...

Somewhere around Wirt we came upon Polly Pawn shop. There was a gaudy primary-colored parrot on the sign, which also informed the public “Se habla español.”

“Man, is that really necessary?” Beebe asked. “If you put a parrot on your sign, there’s no need to tell people you speak Spanish.”

I told him that I once considered getting a tattoo of the Fiesta grocery parrot on my arm.

“What, you mean Pepe?” Beebe asked.

He also digs up a little history, which is interesting to me.

Actually, Spring Branch was settled by German farmers whose names live on in streets like Conrad Sauer, Hillendahl, Wirt, and Moritz. Their legacy also lives on in the astonishingly still-existent, white clapboard 160-year-old St Peter’s Church and the graveyard behind it. (This was the hub of Spring Branch’s official history – you can read the whole thing here.)
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(Obviously Hedwig Village is a part of that tradition as well.)

They link to another blog tour of this neighborhood on Metroblogging Houston. The blogger, Jen, even provided a hand-drawn map in the same fashion as yours truly:

As a Korean-American Houstonian, she had a somewhat deeper understanding of the neighborhood than Tim Lomax (she knew, for example, that Thinga Thinga Noraebang was a karaoke place, noraebang being karaoke in Korean, apparently).



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