I haven’t featured a City Code Snapshot in a while. What little flying I have been doing of late has been of the straight-to-the-hotel-straight-to-bed-straight-back-to-the-airport variety, which is generally pretty efficient, and helps me maximize my time at home, but offers precious few snaps worth shooting — how many Airport Marriott rooms are you really hoping to see? (If you’re like me: not that many.) Our Houston layover actually falls into this same category, with the added Boredom Bonus that the hotel is attached to the airport — we don’t even get to stand around and complain about Where’s the Van? for ten minutes, which is usually quite a popular layover activity. Especially late at night. Especially when there’s snow. Here we just walk from the plane to our room and back again, fingers fervently crossed that there will be time on one end or the other to stop and grab some Popeye’s. (Note to America’s airports: you wanna start winning awards, travel magazine reader’s polls, and acclaim on misterstewardess.com? Get you a Popeye’s.)
Everything’s Big in Texas (Hey, Boys), and Houston — the fourth largest city in America, behind only New York, L.A., and Chicago — is no exception. They have a Ballet. They have a Fine Art Museum. They have a house sided with beer cans. We get to see none of these things, because they also have two airports, and we stay at the giant one, way out close to nothing. But what we do get to see, besides runaway electric carts, cute boys at the E Gates Starbucks, and the occasional Emirates A380, is this giant cow in a cow-patterned space suit planting a Texas flag on the moon. Conceptually, there’s kind of a lot going on here, what with Houston’s connection to the space program, and cows jumping over the moon, and if there’s a companion sculpture of a dish running away with a wooden chili spoon, it hasn’t been installed yet, but I still feel like this cow deserves her moment in the spotlight. I work for a conservative, business-oriented airline, where touches of whimsy are few and long-and-lonesome-Texas-highway far between, and I’m a sucker for a good non sequitur. For all that I love to complain about airport layovers and painstakingly enumerate the reasons I’d rather go downtown, if you’re gonna give me Popeye’s chicken, hot guys pouring coffee, and zany public art? Houston, we got no problem.