INDULGE YOURSELF THIS SUMMER.
DON’T withdraw into your air-conditioned cocoon to dream of cool weather, football, and the kids back in school. You did that last summer, and where did it get you?
Find something to do that will change your life; learn to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do; explore an out-of-the-way corner of the state or a part of your own city you never even knew was there; learn a sport; master a craft; set your sights on something you’d ordinarily do for entertainment in the winter.
If you think there’s nothing you can do in a Texas summer that will change your life except perhaps to have a fatal sunstroke—well, just read on.
Tunnels and Towers
Sound the depths, scale the heights of downtown Houston. The city has two major tunnel systems in the downtown area, and several shorter ones. You can travel underground from City Hall to the Alley Theater, or from the Gulf Building through the “financial district” ending up at the Hyatt Regency Garage. Then, if you like, you can walk through the red-carpeted, tube-like hallway that links the garage to the hotel. The architecture in this towering hotel is, in a word, remarkable; and if nothing else, the Hyatt-Regency is very Houston. You can take the “Spindletop Express” elevators up to the restaurant for a drink or a meal, although this revolving bar is far more commendable for its panoramic view of Houston than for its food.
Speaking of views, one of our favorite old Houston buildings is the Gulf Building, a fine old structure straight out of the 1920’s: for a good eye-to-eye look at it, go to the 18th floor of the Rice Hotel and turn east.
As far as Texas rivers go, the canoeing waters closest to Houston seem to lie in a ten mile stretch of the Trinity River from Lake Livingston to Highway 59. According to the publication Texas Rivers and Rapids: Canoeing Guide to the Rivers of Texas, this section of the river is relatively calm, deep and easy to negotiate by even a novice canoeist. Put-in point is at the concrete launching ramp opposite the Dam Site Marina below the dam at Lake Livingston; take-out point is on the right bank almost directly below the Highway 59 bridge. The Brazos River is also a popu1ar canoeing site for Houstonians, with several put-in points reasonably close by. Your best bet for canoeing information is the Texas Rivers and Rapids publication. You can get it for $3 by writing P.0. Box 673, Humble, Texas 77338.
It’s Got to Be Beaches ‘Cause There Aren’t Any Mountains
If you’re reluctant to drive down to Galveston or Freeport on a weekend because of overcrowded beaches, you might be interested in what our beach expert has to suggest. This gentleman, who has spent a good deal of time exploring beaches up and down the Gulf Coast, says that Bolivar, the peninsula east of Galveston, is an interesting place a lot of beach-goers just pass by. For one thing, you have to take a ferry to get there. (The ferry dock is on Far-East Seawall Blvd.) Bolivar has a pleasant beach and various historical oddities as well.
As far as the best beaches along the entire coast go, our beach nut recommends Mustang Island and the beach just across the border at Brownsville, about six miles east of Matamoros. Of the latter he says rapturously, “It’s like being in another world.”
Don’t Knock It If You Haven’t Tried It
Yoga. Though less faddish these days than a few years ago, Hatha Yoga (the “physical” Yoga) is a worthwhile endeavor for those interested in bodily control, particularly as an aid to mental clarity. While there are countless books on Hatha Yoga, it is probably better to study with an expert Yogi or Yogini, if you are seriously interested in this ancient discipline: Yoga is subtle, powerful and really rather difficult to practice except through example. Some of the more popular places to study Yoga include the YMCA and YWCA (check your phone book for the one nearest you), the Jewish Community Center (5601 Braeswood Blvd), Neiman-Marcus in the Galleria and the School of Yoga (517 Lovett Blvd).
Browsing for Books
Houston is not noted for its bookstores: if you are looking for a book even mildly esoteric, chances are you’ll have to order it. For casual browsing, however, you might find interesting if eclectic summer reading at the Libran Bookstore, 3700 Yoakum, or the South Main Bookstore, 6624 S. Main. The Libran has an extensive psychology section, plus a large but spotty selection of fiction titles. The Libran is perhaps the only bookstore in town with the complete, paperbound collection of an old series of fairy tale books, each of which are designated by a different color, like the Red Fairy Tale Book, the Violet Fairy Tale Book and so on.
The St. Thomas University summer session opens June 4, with registration through June 1.