Yehaaaa I'm in Texas!!
Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
77Trip End Feb 22, 2012
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The flight with budget airline Spirit was entertaining ... Spirit were $200 cheaper than the other airlines, but I had to pay a taxi
to get to the out-of-town airport (2 hours away from Mexico City), throw
away a pair of shoes and stuff the rest in hand luggage to get past
their 18kg weight limit and for some reason they even prevent their
seats from reclining
I was sat in the emergency exit seats. It turns out that if you don’t speak English then you can’t sit there, presumably so you can understand instructions though surely if the plane's going down it doesn’t matter what language you speak?! Back to the western world of stating the obvious, as we were shown how to fasten our seatbelts. If you don’t know how to faster a seatbelt without instruction then frankly you shouldn’t be on a plane in the first place, in fact you shouldn’t be let out of your house! It then turned out that the couple next to me were French, and, living up to the stereotype, when the (very gay) steward asked if they spoke English they replied ‘non! Francais!’ although later I swear I heard them speaking English. The steward, also living up to stereotype, told them they had to move, which they didn’t understand. He then lost his patience and just shouted ‘You! Out!’ until they got the message. They were swapped with a middle aged Texan man and his 20 something son. The French couple looked very bemused but did as they were told. The steward continued to piss everyone off by refusing to let anyone buy a drink without a credit card – apparently this is their rule and ‘it is what it is, as stated on our website’
Eventually I arrived in Dallas, Texas, and Dulce came to meet me at the airport. I said goodbye to the gypsies and we wished each other well, then we drove down to my home for the next 2 weeks, the little town of Cleburne. Dulce is studying a MA here and living with a Texan couple, Gayle and Tom, who have kindly offered to have me stay as well
On my first day, Gayle too me around Cleburne, which is the tiniest town. Everybody knows everybody, and everybody was extremely friendly and keen to welcome me to Texas. Everybody says "y'all have a good time now!" or "how y'all doing?" which I love! For example we were admiring a cowbow muriel on the wall and who should walk over but the father of the artist, who is about 80 and took us to see his own gallery. We visited a cowboy who is one of the few remaining gun-smiths and he happily posed for a photo :) Dulce and I went to Fort Worth for the weekend to hit the town, starting with Billy Bobs on Friday night
On Saturday they took me to the Rodeo which happens to be on right now. Well .... I had no idea what to expect from a Rodeo, I guess I expected some horse riding and cattle displays, but it's a big deal out here in Texas. Starting with several glamourous looking blondes galloping around the big arena holding the national flag and singing the athem, I found out the Rodeo is worth big bucks. For some of the contests, the prize money reaches $200,000. These cowboys are rich!! So, the contests ... starting with bucking bronco - how long can you stay on a bucking horse for? I hated this after I learned that the horses are going crazy and bucking because they have tied their balls up in a garter, for want of a better expression! Same goes for the main event, the bull riding. No wonder the bull is so angry! Next up was a competition for school kids who have to catch a calf and drag it into the a circle and if they do, they win a college scholarship. There were also the roping events where teams of 2 cowboys race out on horseback and lassoo a cow. To be honest, whilst it is interesting to see a traditional Texas event, I found it very cruel, the animals are terrified but the crowd finds it funny, and if I had known what it was about I would not have come
During the rest of the two weeks here, apart from relaxing and spending a lot of time at Starbucks while Dulce studies, we have visited Dallas. I was a bit disappointed in Dallas, having grown up watching the TV show of the same name. I think I expected to see JR Ewing walking the street or to come across a cowboy shoot out, but it was all shiny new office blocks and deserted streets. We did go to the JRK museum which was very interesting. It's in the actual buiding, on the 6th floor, where they believe JRK was shot from. I learned a lot about Ameican history here. For example I never knew that the guy accused of killing JFK was shot dead a few days later by someone else at point blank range in the middle of a press release and its all caught on film.
We are going to have one last night out in Fort Worth tonight and see if we can spot a few more cowboys. Men just walk around town here in their boots and hats. Then it's time to move on - tomorrow I am taking the train (the idea of taking a bus caused most people here to recoil in horror, 'do you have any idea what the bus is LIKE??' they ask - well it must be a hell of a lot better than the buses in Vietnam and Guatemala!!) down to Austin. After that I'm heading to New Orleans. I am not sure how I'm getting there yet and if I do opt for the bus ride I'm going to have to keep it quiet! I'm off to eat some cookies, see y'all later! :)