Monday, March 23, 2009

A Trip To Beaumont, TX.

It all started as a bit of a joke. A friend and I are sitting at beautiful Lucky Lou's in Denton, TX. six or nine months ago, as we had so many other nights. He had recently gotten his MBA from North Texas (hey, an MBA is an MBA, right?) and couldn't find a job outside of meager debt collection, which he'd been doing through graduate school. The job market just wasn't there, and he was rightfully frustrated by it. So we're sitting there, and the conversation goes a little something like this;

Friend: So I got a job offer finally, i mean it kind of sucks, but the
money's good...

Me: Oh? What is it?

F: It's for Conn's. Executive in training. Good money, thing, I'd have to move to Beaumont.....

Me: Where the fuck is Beaumont?

F: Outside Houston. It sucks, but I'd only have to do it for a year and
then I could move somewhere else.

M: That sucks man, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Just get a strippers n' blow fund started.

F: Huh?

M: Dude, you're going to be a well paid executive in Beaumont freaking Texas. What else are you going to spend your money on?

F: Point taken.

M: Tell you what, you get that started, and I'll drive down there and
visit, help you spend it.

And thus was the birth of the Strippers n' Blow jar [note: blow is just a euphemism for excess, there was no actual cocaine consumed]. Friend moved down to Beaumont in early December and has been there ever since saving money and only getting one weekend a month off. A few weeks ago he calls me, says he has a weekend off in March and the jar is getting full, and I should come down there. Meanwhile I'd just gotten a new car (who doesn't want to break in a new car with a road trip), so I decide what the hell-sure man, see you in a few weeks.

So friday afternoon I head down there. I'm expecting a 6-7 hour drive (truth is it was just 5 and some change), and honestly it was a fairly scenic drive. Bluebonnets everywhere, not a lot of traffic until Houston, it's really not a bad drive at all. Before I continue, let me make one small confession. I don't think I've been south of the Trinity River (i guess Arlington technically is, but you get the idea) since a river trip to Austin with my then girlfriend some 4-5 years ago. In fact, if you take Austin/San Antonio out of the equation, I'm not sure I've been south of the Trinity River since I was a child. My only memories were of obscene humidity and oppressive heat, and that combined with no actual reason to go south of the Trinity other than Austin (Shreveport is East, everything else worth going to is North), has kept me where I've been.

Truth is, Central and even Southeast Texas wasn't that bad. I mean sure, Houston is still an homage to strange smells, humidity, and urban sprawl of the highest order, but the changes in the geography from prairie to pseudo-hill country to forests to the coast is a pretty cool thing to see. Each town individually may be fairly forgettable, but as a composite there's something unique about rural Texas-sure the giant statue of Sam Houston is excessive, as is the World Capitol of Jerky, but part of me wishes I'd had a little more time and stopped in these small towns to absorb that rural Texas I've never really known. Sure they're a little over-religious for my tastes (there must've been dozens of pro-life billboards I saw during the trip) and ya, they might embrace the white trash ethos more than one would think healthy, but at the same time from the pseudo-cosmopolitan confines of Dallas it's almost like going to another country, it's a culture entirely foreign to me. I used to make occasional jaunt to Stephenville (damnit, I guess that's south of the Trinity too) with an ex-girlfriend to visit her family, and while that was an experience, many of the towns between Dallas and Houston make Stephenville look like a hotbed of culture.

Anyway, friday night I finally get down there...have a fairly skunky Dos Equis, and we head to this place called Madisons [side note, the name Madison seems to be a theme in SETEX, and I'm curious why that is] which had some awesome crab nachos (much better than they sound) and a Golden Tee machine before we headed over to the Vortex, the local Rockabilly/Punk Club. Cheap drinks, fairly cool scene (still can't figure out why they had a ping pong table though....), but a music venue you couldn't smoke in....something so absurdly foreign to me. It took me 45m to figure out why the place smelled like ass, until I lit a cigarette and was told I had to go outside...then it all made sense. And so from there to a pool hall, the lone bar in the city in which you could smoke. Capped the night off with whisky and 'Army of Darkness'. Good times.

Friend's couch sucks, i mean this thing was terrible, so I woke up slightly hungover, tired, and wanting waffles Saturday morning, so I loudly wake his ass up and we hit the IHOP before deciding to find a beach. There are three things I wanted out of this trip; a beach, seafood, and strippers. Beer is a given. We follow the not terribly informative signs until we finally end up in some place called High Island that has a beach. And by beach I mean sandy area with lots of rocks, shells, and jellyfish...but it had sand, and the water was nice enough. Had a few beers, managed to break my toe on a rock, and on the way back realize we'd both gotten way too much sun to muster the energy to head to Lake Charles and their casinos (I was jonesing for that damned Top Gun slot machine that's my bane), settling instead for a Hooters (where we were asked if we were gay....not that there's anything wrong with that....) with not one, but two pregnant Hooters girls, and then booting/rallying and watching 'Coming To America' whilst re-hydrating.

And then its back out, for a bar or two and then strip club. Let me just say this, the first place we drove by was a place called Tonga. It was a fabricated metal shed with a simple neon sign saying Tonga. That's it. It's a BYOB strip club, and from asking the townsfolk, its the worst place on earth. This would be a much better entry if I'd been but I must be honest, I said heeeeeelllllll no. So we went to the "upscale" one, the Gold Club. And I will admit, it really wasn't a bad place. Actually looked like a real club, good lucking women, bad '80s cock rock sound track, and while you had to go to a patio to smoke, I fought through it. I was really hoping to write about how terrible the strip clubs were in Beaumont, and had I gone to Tonga I probably could have, but the Gold Club....not so bad. We had a good time-boozed it up, cabbed it home, and had a nice Cracker Barrel breakfast before I started the long drive back to Big D. All in all, Beaumont's really not that bad a town. So that's my story.

But of course, thats not all. I decided to use twitter for this entire trip. As mentioned in this entry, I've been struggling for any actual use for the cultural phenomenon that has become, twitter (my username is /superfuzzbigmuf). And other than NFL news updates and local news updates, I've yet to really find one that the rest of teh intertubes can't give me. So I thought I'd twitter my trip. It probably adds nothing, but was worth a try, so in is my trip to Beaumont in snippets of 140 words or less. Cheers;

corsicana. turkey jerky and spree. and peed. from mobile web

lost ticket signal. listening to the rentals. from mobile web

kind of wish i was hungry so i could see if texas burger is any good. from mobile web

centerville, tx. how could i not stop at a place calling itself jerky
capital of the world? from mobile web

honestly thought the prison in Huntsville would be larger. from mobile web

wow, black guy riding a horse next to highway outside New Waverly, TX from mobile web

why does Houston need warning signs about potential ice on bridges? from mobile web

wow, the trinity river actually looks like a river down here. from mobile web

theres something cool about listening to patsy cline driving through rural
texas. from mobile web

in beaumont, first beer of many in hand. from mobile web

crab meat nachos = awesome from mobile web

better than ezra! why did i exclamate that? from mobile web

jameson and shiner at a rockabilly dive bar. good times. from mobile web

beaumont, tx: epicenter of cosmopolitan living? from mobile web

my name is ash, and i am a slave. from mobile web

awake. not regretting army of darkness. want waffles. from mobile web

port of beaumont kind of reminds me of season 2 of the wire. from mobile web

riding dirty in Beaumont jamming to lisa loeb. now *thats* gay. from mobile web

mission accomplished. i have now peed in the gulf of mexico. from mobile web

had a 40z of Bud Ice on beach. Poured last of it to my dead homies. .4 PM Mar 21st from mobile web

there are not one, but two, pregnant hooters girls at the Beaumont Hooters.
Stay classy. from mobile web

beaumont strip club? amazingly not that bad. saw much worse in arlington. from mobile web

so ya, broke my toe earlier at the beach. i just havent been able to feel
it. nice and swollen now. from mobile web

isnt breaking any news here, but 'Stepbrothers' was pretty damn funny. from mobile web

lol, walker texas lawyer billboard. from mobile web

Aaaaaaaaand, fin.


melissa said...

you must have gone to "the fare" in arlington. i went there once with my lesbian cousin who, coincidentally, lives near beaumont. she looked up at one of the dancers and said, "i didn't come here to watch my mom get naked." totally shoulda gone to tonga for the experience.

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. Dallas to beaumont is a big deal to you? You need to open your eyes and travel a bit damn act like dallas to houston is salt lake city to jerusalem. Its a 2 to 3 hour drive people make it twice in one day