Friday, October 09, 2009

9 OCT 09: Say C.C.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: While we're out of town, we're remembering other trips of recent years. Today we continue a Texas tale which we told a national audience in LaughLine, during the week of 30 Sep 02. Our usual format should resume Monday.)

Today our vacation review finally reaches Corpus Christi, along what's called the "Texas Riviera." In this area, success is NOT measured by the price of your Porsche - but the length of your long-bed on the pickup truck.

We rented a car to get around Corpus Christi - only to discover it had one of those "dealer tags" stuck to the rear window. That tag expired three days into our ten-day stay! We'd never heard of airport cars with a "rent-to-own" plan.

The rental company advised us to bring our car [a nice Hyundai Sonata, by the way] back to the airport to avoid any tag trouble. A staff member took out the expiring tag - and taped on a different dealer tag, expiring three weeks later! We didn't dare ask if this agency has a "referral fee" plan with local police.

The effects of Tropical Storm Fay were evident in Corpus Christi. Runoff rain from weeks ago has put several rivers above flood stage. In fact, "LaBonte Park" named for two NASCAR drivers from Corpus Christi was under two feet of water. The only things Terry and Bobby LaBonte could race there right now are canoes.

High tide also brought problems on the Kennedy Causeway, which connects Corpus Christi to Padre Island, Texas. Water would cover one lane heading to the island - on a road that's under construction! When the water all around you is waist-high and you're not wearing swim trunks, it can be scary....

Our vacation in Corpus Christi included stops at all the tourist sites. Our motel was near the Texas State Aquarium, which has plenty of fish - AND a Subway restaurant. We never did ask whether tuna salad sandwiches are the top seller on the menu....

Many people make trips to Corpus Christi these days to take a "Selena Tour," recalling the rising Tejano singer who was murdered in 1995. You know Selena is still popular when her graveyard has "no buses allowed signs" near the entrances.

The "Selena Museum" in Corpus Christi not only has items from the singer's life. It also doubles as her family's recording studio. We were told we could take photos in the lobby only - and of the walls, NOT the desks. So much for proving how little songwriters really get paid....

Our Corpus Christi trip ended on the weekend of a big music fair called "Bayfest." As we walked past a booth selling funnel cakes, a man promised once we ate one, "You will never be the same!" We had to agree - at least about our waistline.

We're sad to report some people in Corpus Christi have trouble with their spelling. Take the phone book in our motel room - which had a section filled with "money-saving COUPNS." That second "o" apparently is one of the discounts....

Then there was the restaurant in downtown Corpus Christi, with a menu that appeared several years old. It offered a variety of "DESERTS." We were thankful the bay was only a couple of blocks away.

This city is SO deep in the heart of Texas that the big supermarket chain in town [H-E-B] sells Texas-shaped tortilla chips! It was so much fun to find damaged chips in the bag, and pretend a tornado ripped El Paso off the face of the earth.

The big bedroom store in Corpus Christi is a chain called "The Mattress Firm." This struck us as a bit intolerant - because what if we like our mattresses extra-firm?

While we were in Corpus Christi, a street was officially renamed "Whataburger Way," after a hamburger chain with its headquarters there. We ate at these restaurants a few times -- but we're sad to say at times, instead of saying Whataburger, we were asking Wheresa-manager.

All good vacations must come to an end, so we flew home from Texas last Sunday. We were amazed to learn the Corpus Christi airport is SO SMALL that when we boarded the plane for Houston, the airline employee didn't use a public address system. When it doubt, just yell....

The Atlanta and Houston airports featured some strange billboards for the March of Dimes. They say in big letters, "Daisy Fuentes is NOT pregnant." Did we miss the tabloid where this rumor started?! And more importantly, does this mean Fuentes is still available?!?!

Continental was an on-time airline, making the trip from Corpus Christi to Atlanta right on schedule - well, almost. Once we landed in Atlanta, we had to wait 45 minutes to pick up our luggage. Admittedly one of our bags was ripped - but the staff didn't have to keep waiting for something to fall out of it.

We entered the baggage claim area in Atlanta to find a man holding an unusual sign - for "E-S-P-N mascots." After watching this cable channel's commercials, we were stunned when the man told us the mascots would NOT come out dressed like animals.

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BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: Suspended for vacation

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