The third annual Xanga party, now known as a ‘Xangbang’, happened in Houston on the 6th of July and as ever it was a blast! The opportunity to meet in person people whom I have come to know through the weblog service has become a highlight of my summertime trips to the States.

When I awoke on Friday morning the rain was already falling as it had every day since I arrived in Houston. I wasn’t concerned as I assumed that it would clear up later in the day as it had on previous days. But after lunch, as I sat in a small coffee house on West 19th street, the rain still hadn’t stopped, and was in fact coming down harder.

As I watched the intersection become a lake and drivers turn do complex turns to avoid getting stranded in the water, I began to think that the Xangbang that I had been looking forward to was going to be completely rained off. At one point the rain was so hard I could barely see across the street. My final night in Houston looked set to be a washout. Thankfully though, the rain eventually slowed enough for the flooded streets to clear and the driving conditions to become safe, or at least safer.

Once again Karen and Albert were kindly hosting of the event at their home in The Heights area of Houston, and as I arrived Karen was making some (delicious) sandwiches. The Xangbang has become somewhat of an annual event now. The first back in 2005 was small in comparison to the last two, and despite the rain and the obvious perils that presented for people driving into Houston, this year there seemed to be as many, if not more, people than there was last year.

For laughs I tried to make some Xangbang07 t-shirts with an iron-on kit I purchased some months earlier. The kit came with 5 white t-shirts and seemed easy enough according the the instructions. Having the t-shirts would be fun I thought as I began making the first one back in the UK before my trip. In the end though, I destroyed 4 of the 5 t-shirts and was only just about successful making the t-shirt I eventually gave to Karen. (If you looked closely at it you will have noticed it was a really shoddy job!) I ended up creating my Xangbang07 t-shirt using an online service. It was a pretty good deal costing only $8, including delivery thanks to a special $2 t-shirt offer.

As in previous years the hangers on all ended up sitting outside in the garden drinking the last few remaining beers. Bethany spent a while explaining to us how much she enjoyed a party at Karen and Albert’s house (see the video), which to some extent at least, we could all relate to, we were after all the ‘hangers on.’

In the end it was a great way to spend my final evening in Houston. Kicking back with friends in the warmth of a summers night is just about perfect at anytime I think. Below are just a few pictures that I took of the evening. I didn’t really take that many, I guess I was just having too much fun.

Perhaps the next Xangbang can be in England? I mean come on, it’s costing me a fortune to keep flying over there too have a few beers with you Xangbangers. Don’t some of you want to come to England and drink a warm beer with me sometime?

Regarding the Houston part of this trip I wanted to say a few public ‘thank you’s’ to the following people. Firstly Rachel was fantastic at not only rescuing me after Shae forgot I was coming into town (Yes Shae, I am going to dine out on that for a long time to come!), but also at going out of her way to be a great host. Thanks also to David, Francis the French painter, and Rachel’s uncle Richard, for putting me up (and putting up with me). And, of course, Karen and Albert for allowing us all to decend once more on their lovely home for the Xangbang, and also for letting me crash there on my last night in town.

[Video] Bethany talks about “the salad bars”
Over-priced Xangbang07 t-shirts and stuff!
The original Xanga party in 2005
Xangbang 06