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Joel Achenbach: Not A Fan Of Houston

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Joel Achenbach is the well-respected writer-of-all-things for the Washington Post; he's in Houston, or at least was yesterday.

Color him unimpressed. At least with the weather.

I keep my car AC cranked, and all internal spaces in Houston are air conditioned to meat-locker levels. But when you step outside you're hit with that furnace-in-the-face feeling. At one point my clothes become so hot I feared they were going through a chemical reaction, some kind of phase change, and might actually convert directly from a solid to a gas. Poof: gone.

Then he gets to the empty downtown, and the offerings at one BBQ restaurant. Commenters pile on.

The downtown seemed to empty out rather dramatically at 5 sharp. By 7 p.m. I had the whole place to myself, including these tall buildings, the purpose of which I never ascertained. I think they may be full of lawyers trying to figure out who they can sue over this oil spill.

Oh, and we don't know nothing about no book-larnin' here: "I went into a historical library and asked for some books and they looked at me as if I'd ask for live snakes," he writes on his blog.

That could possibly be because the "historical library" is for research and that big, modenr building next to it is for circulating books, but who knows?

He winds up his tour with this picture:

achenpic.JPG

"Eat a side salad and there's no need to feel guilty!" he writes.

Commenters were quick to add their takes:

-- "Years ago I spent a night at an airport hotel in Houston. People seemed friendly until they heard the 'Yankee' accent, then they were not. I couldn't live anywhere that flat and hot - need the ocean and some hills and trees. Stuffing my face with ribs in that heat seems an agony filled way to die ;-)"

There were some defenders, though:

-- "Downtown empties out (really no different from Wall Street or most business districts) but you don't have to go too far southwest to Montrose or West U or out Westheimer for a very vibrant restaurant scene. Houston is probably the fourth best restaurant city in the country behind NY, Chicago and San Francisco."

All in all, not a clip the GHCVB will be quoting anytime soon.

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