215 Kipp Avenue
Kemah, Texas 77565
November 2010–After driving 30 to 45 minutes from Houston, from a spot at top of the freeway; we finally see the immense park. Rides boldly stand out and make the whole place feel as if it surrounds you. Three of my friends are with me; my friends from church, Ruth and Eva, and my best friend Chance from school. It’s a hassle parking in a sea of cars, and as we step out of the car, “finally” my best friend Chance says, sipping the last of his Dr. Pepper and squeezing the can. Kemah Boardwalk is a new waterfront development on Galveston Bay, home to a major cruise ship port. It provides a new fresh destination, especially for families.
“Cheer up!” the environment says as we enter the park. It is my second time coming, and I feel the happiness that I felt before. Something in this park makes it special, people compare it to Six-Flags, but Kemah Boardwalk and Six-Flags are only the same experience-providers. The same experience that you live in Six-Flags, you live in Kemah Boardwalk. However, Kemah Boardwalk has many advantages that Six-Flags doesn’t. Lines are shorter, rides are closer to each other, and Kemah Boardwalk is a lot less expensive.
Today, the crowd looks like roasted walking-sausages and steamed vegetables dripping butter from their faces on this sunny day. I’m melting while in the line to get wristbands that will allow us to ride every single ride in the park. Ruth stays with me. The gigantic, maybe 6’9” tall guy in front of me looks like he’s going to faint because of the heat, and I imaging him crushing me to the ground as he falls. My other friends Eva and Chance decide to stay in the Cool Zone, a 20’x20’-square-shaped section of the park that refreshes you with a mist of cold water. I wonder how it is cool if thousand people are trying to fit in, that must be hot.
I watch a family with a mom and a dad and three kids—one of them is waybehind because he got distracted watching a train with people waving before it disappears into a tunnel. Children all over are smiling from ear to ear, and smiles don’t fade away easily in this park. Just as I think this I see a sobbing child grabbing his mom’s hand trying to pull her back where the man with blue shirt and multi-color spotted white jacket is selling cotton candy—his strengths aren’t enough to make his mom go back. There’s a different scene in every single degree as you turn your head 360 degrees.
Chance has my wallet in his pocket, I realize, and now I am one person away from the window. The thirty-two dollars and seventy-five cents in my left side pocket will not be enough to cover the price of three wristbands—only three because Ruth has money to cover her own. “What’s the hold up!” a man angrily yells when it’s my turn and I’m still trying to locate Chance in a crowd of a thousand people. “Hurry!” I voicelessly yell to him with only the movements of my lips as soon as I spot him. He understands and runs toward me, cutting off all the people in his way. Wristbands on, our fun is about to begin. Laughing is all I hear. We walk closer to the rides and we stare for a while. A little boy with khaki shorts and a white shirt is standing next to me, idly admiring his sister: the one with the red ribbon on her head, who has bravely and fearlessly decided to ride “The Inverter”, the ride that swings back and forth, up and down, flips you upside down, and swings back and forth again. We had decided to ride “The Inverter” first. Just as we are almost up, I turn and see my friend Eva behind me, her dark brown skin turning to completely white skin, terrified and cold; her skin froze the drop of sweat running down my own arm as I try getting closer to her. This is nothing new for us because she always gets scared for little things like getting on a ride. After a little begging, we convince her to ride today. Once on it, there is no way back. As soon it begins I can’t hear anything but screaming. My brain never quits imaging the ride breaking apart and launching us far away into the sky, like a rocket. Swinging up and down, people below stare at us. They look like ants from the top, and then zoom into normal size again as we head down. The adrenaline is on top of my head coming out of my ears, and this is just getting started.
The sunset is amazing as we ride The Boardwalk Tower. It spins us around as we ascend up, appreciating the fantastic view of the dark blue water that surrounds three-quarters of the park and the endless number of boats sailing around. We witness fishes jumping out of the water and people taking pictures of them. It is the quietest ride in the park. You feel calmness, and you forget about problems waiting for you at home. My friend Ruth almost falls asleep during this ride. As soon as we leave The Boardwalk Tower, we run to the Kemah Train, for the first time today, we see the line is like twenty people long. “We won’t have to wait that long” Ruth gloats, staring at the curve where the train is supposed to come from. A lady, standing next to Chance, claims that “they all went to lunch.” Just smiling, I look at her, not knowing what to say I nod a “who knows?” We hear the choo-choo of the train getting closer, meaning that the time for us has arrived. The train stops, and people get out the train. As the guard opens the rusted green gate, he lets us get on the train. This is really relaxing, it tours you throughout the whole park and we now become one of the people waving good-byes to the spectators. It is really enjoyable and now I understand why they are always smiling. It is worth the time to ride the train because close to the end of the tours the train gets into a tunnel with an old western cowboy haunted city. And as you go through the dead cowboys start having a battle and it feels like they are shooting to you. “It’s above amazing!”
There again the lines are hundreds of people long to get on the rides. It seems that the Pharaoh’s Fury, a swinging ship ride, is a big attraction; all the times we have passed by, it always has a long line. We have walked by the same place so many times that once again I see the path of peanuts that I left when they were falling from my pocket down to the red adobe tile path. Three rides into the day, and we are aiming for something to eat. My stomach groans even louder than the train squealing on the rails.
The aromas of the different types of food makes me hungrier, and fill my brain with ideas: I can’t stop imaging the steak on the grill, juicy and tender medium-well-cooked from Saltgrass Steak House, BBQ sauce and a warm delicious roasted garlic mashed potato.Landry’s Sea Food House, Red Sushi, Aquarium, and many more are really making us ready to try it all. We spot for Saltgrass, not forgetting that more rides like the Drop Zone, Bouncer, Wipeout, Aviator, and—Chance and my favorite—The Boardwalk Bullet still await for us.
After eating we walk and let he food settle in order to get on more rides. We stop at every single carnival-style game bordering the sidewalk. These games start at two dollars in price per game, giving you the opportunity to win a prize that is worth probably more that the game’s price. It is not our lucky day, “Not your lucky day, right guys?” Eva teasing us expresses. Disappointedly, we keep walking around and seeing the prizes that other people are winning. A concert could be heard and the crowd rushes to the stage. We don’t recognize who is performing; however, we choose to go and take a peek. The pop-rock music boosts our moods giving us energy to move into the next.
Our day comes to an end for us, but our last ride is still waiting for us. From far away you could hear the girls screaming and the laughs of the boys; from far away you could see the huge wooden mountain. My feet were able to feel the vibration getting stronger and stronger as we got closer to it. Yes, I’m talking about the Boardwalk Bullet, a roller coaster. Once on it your arms feel like tearing apart from the rest of your body. The shaking is intense and the wind blows against your face making you unable to move it forward. It is like a 30 to 40 seconds ride which makes you think that those few seconds are the last of your life. We got off and my hands were still shaking while Eva was complaining and trying to get the buzz of the engine out of her head. Thanks to those whom invented such amusements and made us have a wonderful day. We really enjoy, here in Kemah. It is just a different way of entertainment. Rides, games, shops, and beautiful outlooks over the bay—it’s the perfect combination that definitely charms kids and adults (Kemah Boardwalk—Houston, Steven). Great day, great time, Kemah Boardwalk we now say “see you later!”
William Flores-Paz is a first year student at the University of Houston Downtown, his goal is to become a doctor. He likes helping people as much as he is able to. He is new in The United States as well as in the Houston area. He’s been living in Houston for three years. His native language is Spanish and now English has become his second language. With his goal in mind, William, puts all his efforts to succeed. People around admire his achievements reached so far in this new environment for him. William thinks to never stop until he feels he is done with his work which he assures it’s not soon.