For the first time in a while, I was given the opportunity to visit somewhere new on behalf of work. I would be hopping over both to Dallas, and Texas, for the first time. My obligations were actually in the nearby Fort Worth, but I flew in a day early for the chance to walk around and see some of both. The flight arrived without issue, and then a short cab ride had me at the Wild Wild West Backpacker’s Hostel, in the suburb of Irving. There was only one other guy staying there, but the place was actually pretty decent. Once checked in, I was only up for getting some grub and to relax. I wasn’t feeling 100% for some reason, and didn’t mind the opportunity to sit down and catch up on life. Here’s the inside of the place.
Irving isn’t much of a tourist draw, but it had personality. I was struck by the sprawling ranch homes – almost nothing went above a single story. For food I walked a short way down the road to El Jefe’s Cocina Mexicana for some authentic Tex Mex. Judging by the quaint appearance and maximum occupancy of 12, this was going to be legit. I scanned the menu and assessed the depths of my hunger before inevitably caving to an enormous burrito. When I travel anywhere, these are the sorts of restaurants that always lure me in.
After waking rested and well the following day, I walked a few blocks over to the train station to get myself time in Dallas. After alighting I was approached by another tourist for directions. I fessed up to knowing nothing myself, so we set out together. Food was first, so we sat down at a Corner Bakery where I brunched and learned a little bit more about my companion. He had just come from the UK to take part in a world grappling competition, which he had in fact won [for his age group]. Hard to believe he was 42, but here he is atop the podium.
We walked around a bit but time was short and The 6th Floor Museum was our primary objective. This of course is all about the JFK assassination. I’ll admit to knowing little more than that Dallas was home the the assassination, and Lee Harvey Oswald the shooter. There was a lot of potential to learn nothing new about this major piece of American history. The bullets were fired from the 6th floor, corner window into the motorcade traffic below.
The museum was informative, and actually located on the same 6th floor, in the same building where LHO made the fatal shots. It was a bit eerie looking out the same windows, with the same view as the man who assassinated a president. News to me was that JFK was actually the fourth US president to be assassinated – roughly 9% of those to ever hold the office. The continuation of the debacle, where Oswald was shot point blank by some vigilante club owner from Chicago was all new to me. Towards the end of the exhibit was information on the various conspiracy theories abounding over this case. The two of us shuffled through the gift shop, where he picked up a novelty newspaper running the headline. I thought it a bit crass for them to be selling ‘The Game of LIFE’…
From there we parted ways so that I could to Fort Worth, where duties awaited me. I only needed to set up the booth at the Omni by the morning, which didn’t take much time. The plan for the remainder of the evening was to locate a Texan feast, sip a local brew, and then pass out in my enormous bed. After walking a few blocks into town to the concierge’s recommended spot, I gorged on the best beef brisket ever, and quaffed an average lager.
The next morning I made a few finishing touches to the booth and waited for my flocks to come. What I’ll say is that we sell a number of a great, established products which are well known and used in the sports and turfgrass industries. This makes the process of wrangling people in to go over things and explain new products a whole lot easier – no snake oil necessary. Fast-forwarding a couple days, I can say that the show was both a complete success and fantastic opportunity for me to get out and prove my worth to my overlords.
That last night before going home, I walked back into town to check out a show happening at the Jazz Lounge I spotted earlier. To get in, I had to walk down a dark alley to a neon-clad marquee and pass through a door which opened directly to an elevator that took me down to the basement. The secluded entrance, and cigarette smoke wafting inside really gave this the quintessential lounge feel that I had hoped for.
The music started and I was impressed. With Big Sexy on the drums, a 7 string bass, awesome guitar playing, and strong saxophone lead, they cobbled together a fantastic sound. What amazed me was that entrance was free when the level of musicianship was so high, and also that there weren’t more people there enjoying it. For a rainy evening spent alone in Texas, this one turned out quite alright. My flight home the next day was in no way exciting, but I was able to meet friend Ian Hudson at the airport.