Friday, August 21, 2015

Houston, Texas

Assalaumalaikum! Here my post for the next leg of my journey road tripping in the United States!

I left off at the part where we drove for a whole day and arrived in Houston, Texas. That was Sunday night, the 2nd of August 2015.



Monday, August 3rd was spent visiting my uncle's clinic (he's a cardiologist) and we spent more time at Dairy Queen than at the clinic itself. I didn't know Dairy Queen had great fish burgers- they were wayyy better than McDonalds (for those who don't know, the only kind of burgers Muslims can eat in fast food outlets are usually fish burgers because the chicken/beef is usually haram since they haven't been sacrificed in the correct way). 

Tuesday, August 4th 2015 was spent at Main Event, which is an indoor gaming place- they have bowling, mini-golf, lasertagging and an arcade! We went mostly for the laser tag which is a pretty tiring game so most of my cousins and I tried out mini-golf too. Like I said, the entire place was indoor, so the golf course was almost completely in darkness, lit up in neon colors thanks to ultraviolet light. There was some pretty nice wall graffiti too!


Objects in picture are cooler than they appear.


Close up of some of the wall art.

The second time we got tired after lasertag, we went on a round of arcade games. Most of the games were really nice- there were even some themed games like Transformers and Batman! I however, like to settle for something I can control completely, and so I played this old-fashioned shooting game.


Great set up for the game!

All I had to do was shoot various targets. Luckily, I realized the gun was actually modeled after a rifle and that I had to use the eye piece properly so I could actually get my aim. The only thing that freaked me out was how the already creepy background would suddenly jump to life every time I shot a target...

Wednesday, August the 5th was spent at the library! Originally we only planned to go for an hour or two but we ended up staying for like almost four hours. There were so many books, I probably spent the first hour just walking around aimlessly before finally picking up A Song of Ice and Fire (GoT #2) which I put away after a while because I realized it would take me more than two hours to read especially since I forgot all of the first book.

I picked up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn next- I might write a book review on that soon.

We went to eat out and Bundu Khan that evening- the drive was over 40 minutes ;-; things seem to be so far away from each other in America. It just seems to be the land filled with highways and more highways...

Thursday, August the 6th was the day I wrote my last blogpost (it seems like forever) and I had mentioned how I was going to Best Buy. It's basically an electronics store. There are tons of computers and cameras and tvs and accessories. The first thing I did was go check out the Windows 10 section- I had to see what this was. However, most of the computers didn't seem to be updated (despite the salesman saying that only a quarter were left to be updated) but anyway, Windows 10 didn't seem that bad- I'm thinking about downloading it, but I want to stay on 8 for a while longer before making the switch.

As we were browsing, we also found this super cute set of Lego USBs. That's right, USBs shaped like little Lego bricks! Each was 8 GB and I decided to purchase it since it was only $5. So I went to the counter and tried purchasing it and they told me it was $16 and then I panicked and called my dad (I know, I know...) and he told them how the shelf price was $5. Long story short, there was some sort of misunderstanding and I decided not to buy it.

When we got back, I went swimming before writing some more on my blog. I spent a lot of time swimming, now that I think about it...

Friday was spent doing nothing except some studying and reading and sleeping.

Saturday, August 8th was spent almost completely at Moody Gardens, a type of zoo/museum at Galveston Islands. There were a lot of things there- living or otherwise and it was really enjoyable! Moody Gardens consisted of three buildings shaped like pyramids, one pyramid had the forest, one had the aquarium and one was some sort of science exhibit. 

 

The rainforest had a whole section for butterflies!

 

And birds! Fortunately none of the birds seemed very hostile, then again, nobody tried bothering them either!


Check out this molting chameleon!


Apparently trying to give a cloudy mountain look? I have no idea...


I don't even know why I took this picture.


Yay aquariums!


And tunnels!


It's that fish from Nemo! The one who was obsessed with his bubbles!


Dinosaurs!



And Kanra trying to be photographic with dinosaurs!


And more!


And my brother! (he's the one at the bottom lol)


And baby dinosaurs!

After touring Moody Gardens, we had to go home early because there was a formal function we were all invited to. 

Sunday, August 9th was also spent somewhat lazily. My cousin was going to MIST 2015 in Houston and today had been the last day for him. We went to pick him up and then go out to eat at a Persian restaurant called Kasra.


The only reason I took this picture was so I could get the glass of Fanta from my brother (he wasn't giving it otherwise)

The next two days of Houston were mostly spent shopping at different places before finally heading out to New Orleans on Wednesday, August 12th. The drive was super long but we reached there before sun-down. We only stayed the night in New Orleans and headed out to Tampa the next morning. That drive was a bit longer and we reached there after sunset- which may have been due to the fact that we stayed in Gainesville too long. Gainesville was really nice- we drove through a lot of the University of Florida and the campus looks amazing! We were looking for a masjid to stop and pray at and the one we found was small and seemed to be built mostly for the college students.

Anway! The Florida chapter will be continued in the next post! Have a great day!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Atlanta, Georgia

Assalamualaikum ^^. I've been meaning to write earlier- but I hadn't really got the time yet! But now that I'm here, I'll get started.


Wednesday, 29th July 2015 was spent entirely on the road. We were driving from Fairfax, Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia and that was around 12 hours by road. We set out early in the morning (around 7 am) and stopped by a couple of places on the way.


Only worthwhile mention of place we stopped: McDonald's. I don't really eat McDonalds in Pakistan because I start off with my Israel Palestine rant where I mention how McDonalds is a multinational company whose earnings are used to support Israel in it's terrorism war against Palestinians and then I force my friends down a guilt trip which is successful only 80% of the time. But I can't use the same argument here because there's no food outlet that doesn't pay the American government. 

(The other stops were mostly at rest areas for bathroom breaks and a little leg exercise)



And then we finally arrived at Atlanta! Atlanta is a huge city, seriously. It takes half an hour to go anywhere- but I guess that's because we were staying in the suburbs. 

The first day at Atlanta (the next day after we arrived) was spent swimming! After that, we went to watch Minions!

minions movie 2015 poster wallpaper bob kevin stuart scarlet overkill sandra bullock despicable me

I liked the concept of the movie. I really liked Scarlet Overkill because she seemed like a really interesting character- especially how most of her actions really did seem villainous (despite how nice she looks most of the time). I really enjoyed the whole take on villains in general too- they weren't a bunch of radical people who thought they were evil- they seemed like ordinary people, just with different hobbies. And the minions themselves were surprisingly easy to 'get along' with- I didn't feel annoyed at them at all!

After the movie, we went to eat ice cream at Coldstone and then roam the mall for a while.

One thing I learned so far is that people in America are obsessed with Bath and Body Works. I don't know what it is that hits them- is it the pretty colors in the bottles? The fragrances? Colors AND fragrances? I suppose this is all very interesting, but I really couldn't sit around browsing hand soaps for even a minute. And that one minute is thanks to the colors.

But I DID get myself stuck in Barnes and Nobles (the book store). I just really like being around books- even if I don't get time to read them that much anymore. Walking around the aisles and looking at the covers and authors and book merchandise and everything makes me feel like I should just pitch a tent right there and consume everything my hands can reach. Did I mention that there was a small shelf for Doctor Who too?

The next day (Friday, 31st July 2015) was spent at the Georgia Aquarium!! It's a really great place- except it's indoors so it was really stuffed especially since it was a Friday. We explored all the exhibits and spent a lot of time at the main tank.


This tank in the aquarium is considered to be the largest tank in the world- with the biggest piece of glass ever! But it's not glass, it's acrylic. Acrylic is supposed to be 17 times stronger than glass, plus the whole thing is like 2 feet thick and they constructed the whole glass right on the exhibit. So yeah, I thought this part was super cool!

There were loads of fish- three big whale sharks (that would grow even bigger) and lots of manta rays that really liked swimming loop the loops!


There were also lots of little exhibits with smaller, cuter fish like clown fishes and Dorys. (I have no idea what the Dory fish are called, I just call them Dory fish).

After spending the day at Georgia Aquarium, we finished it off with a the dolphin show which was, honestly, amazing! It was fantastic seeing the dolphins jump really high in the air and swim their trainers around the pool!

The day ended with dinner at a restaurant called the Mughal which had great food honestly.

Saturday, the First of August was spent mostly relaxing because the long drive to Texas was up next!

to be continued shortly in the next post which I will write after I come back from Best Buy with my dad .__. Allahafiz!
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