By Ruud on Mar 17, 2009
I was in Houston, Texas, the week of March 7-14, 2009. The purpose of this trip was twofold. I was going to visit Barbara Chapman's Computer Science group at the University of Houston, as well as give an OpenMP class at Texas Instruments. In this blog I would like to share my impressions and pictures made during my stay there.
I've been in Houston several times now, but I continue to be amazed to see the indoor ice skating rink in the middle of the huge Galleria shopping mall. Given how hot and humid it typically is outside, it is fascinating to see people skating inside. In good US tradition there is a food court around the rink. It actually makes for an entertaining view while eating.
I stayed in a nice hotel in Sugar Land on the South West side of Houston. The hotel is along the Southwest Freeway. The name of this part of Houston is kind of charming. It dates back to the days of sugarcane plantations. Below two pictures of the hotel, as well as two from the town hall.
It is always a pleasure to visit the University of Houston campus. I like the way it has been organized, as well as the lawns, the trees and the walkways. Below some impressions. The second picture shows the Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall, the home of the Computer Science department. The third picture has the library on it.
Barbara and I met several times. I also had an interesting discussion session with her students and staff members. Also the social side of this visit was not overlooked. Below a picture of the joint dinners we had. The first one was made at a dinner we had in a local pub called "Cafe Adobe" in Sugar Land. The second one was made in the "Mo Mong" Vietnamese restaurant on Westheimer.
Wednesday evening we went to Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show. This is a very big and lively event that was held March 3-22, 2009, in the Reliant Stadium. Prior to going there we went for dinner at a Texas Barbeque place on Kirby Street. Below a picture of the restaurant, as well as a group picture.
Next to the BBQ restaurant was a place I recognized from a previous visit to Houston. It is called "Goode's Armadillo Palace". There is a huge armadillo in front of it and I could not resist to make a picture of it.
This was my first rodeo experience. Quite entertaining and very efficiently organized. There were short sessions with various contests. With some of those you had to be really quick to watch. It could be over in a few seconds, but that is after all the whole purpose of these contests.
Below a picture of the stadium, plus an early evening view on Houston. Our seats were very high up. The upside was that the outside view from there was really nice. The boots shown in the third picture attracted a lot of attention from people that wanted to have their picture made together with these boots.
Below are four pictures made at the show. On the first one can clearly see how the bull is mastered by the cowboy. The second one is not so fortunate, as he is about to fall of his horse. Luckily he did not seem to have any serious injuries. The third picture shows the wagon races. Quite spectacular. It reminded me of what the definition of "horsepower" stands for. On the fourth picture the podium for the concert is wheeled in.
The last picture shows the Texas Instruments building where the OpenMP training was held. The turnout was really impressive and I very much enjoyed the discussions, as well as conversations with the attendees. They had really good and detailed questions.