Monday, March 21, 2011

Galveston, oh Galveston. . .

Last weekend we were looking for something different to do, so we decided to drive down to Galveston. It's been years since we had been there and pre-Hurricane Ike which did considerable damage to the island community.

There were signs of the hurricane, but we had been told that "nothing's there anymore" and "only one or two restaurants open." Wow. What lies! Or perhaps just misinformation. There were not a lot of people there, but that is okay with us because we don't typically like crowds.

While driving in and crossing the bridge into Galveston, nothing really looked destroyed. In fact, there was evidence of buildings abandoned or in some state of disrepair and a few tarps here and there. But if you didn't know a hurricane had visited, you would not have suspected it. We past by a couple beautiful homes, including the Moody Mansion. We found the Strand, the shopping district as old as the city and found a good place to park. We walked up and down the street stopping in the various shops and enjoying mild weather and sunshine. We looked for the Jamacian restaurant we had eaten at before, but it is no longer there. It was a great place with a lot of atmosphere, but there was still a good selection of restaurants. The area was clean and even though the buildings are old, they appear to be maintained and evidence of hurricane damage was not easily visible.

That was not the rule out on Seawall Drive, however. I don't mean to say that Seawall Drive was trashy--it was not. But one could see areas where buildings once stood and other areas in various stages of debris removal. There is no doubt that the city has worked long and hard at cleaning up and renovating what could be salvaged. We drove most of the length of the Seawall Drive and found a place to pull out onto the beach. We parked and walked out to the water. This was the most disappointing. You surely remember the oil rig disaster of last year. Well, that continues to affect the beaches here. The water looked terrible, it was very rough and choppy with large waves. The water was dark and oily; and as we walked on the sand, the black streaks confirmed that it was oil and not just dirt churned up by the rough water. There were hundreds of people in the water, which had to be cold. I am surprised they were allowed in it, but I guess there is no stopping spring breakers. I would not have let my family into that oily mess. A couple homes we saw appeared to be too close to the water. These homes have been condemned since the hurricane and will be demolished. They actually were further up on the land, but the storm has changed the beach and brought the water closer to the road.

We drove back up the Seawall Drive and saw the famous statue arising from the sand over the seawall. Traffic was heavy and I didn't see it in time to snap a picture, so I will provide a link to it. It was placed in memory of the many lives lost during the 1900 hurricane.

We stopped at Gaido's, an old established restaurant on the ocean. We had great food and a great time. When we left there we continued down the road. We saw a hotel that was built out on a pier and it was partially destroyed by Ike. This hotel has been in the news recently because apparently the demolition crew has been dropping large chunks of concrete and debris in the water which has created hazards for people. They were working on it as we drove by and they have large nets up now to catch debris. They are going to completely remove the hotel and the pier will revert back to a fishing/observation pier.

We had an enjoyable day and were glad to know that Galveston is alive and well and continuing its recovery efforts.

Till next time. . .


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