We did not know in advance that the big Christmas parade was taking place today. 350,000 people attended.
My favorite float was probably the Star Wars float. It was just cool to see so many stormtroopers. It was weird to have them right behind Spongebob, though. The local culture was reflected in the other groups, e.g. Blond women in cowboy hats and mini skirts, Hispanic women in Mayan garb
Checked out the Grassy Knoll and book depository where Kennedy was shot. Most tourist traps are sites of historic achievements. I had never been to a site of an assassination. One guy was following me around trying to get me to give him money for an impromptu tour. He kept talking about ‘the head shot’ and ‘the throat shot’. I found it tasteless.
The Dallas Museum of Art turned out to be one of the best museums (musea) I’ve been to – extensive collections of everything: art and artifacts from all continents and periods, organized by material, theme, region, etc.
One exhibit was the furniture of Charles Rohlfs. His wife was a mystery novelist and she often had her characters looking at evidence through microscopes. So she would know what she was talking about, she and Charles bought a microscope. Charles became interested in the structure of cellulose, the hydrocarbon that wood is. He took the shape of cellulose and replicated it in some of his pieces. The striking thing is that was in the 1880s and 90s. When I started reading the description and saw the furniture I assumed it was from the 50s or 60s.
I was walking from the museum, wondering where to go. I tried taking the light rail they have there but all of the ticket machines I tried were broken. My feet were starting to get tired and suddenly a trolley rolled up alongside me and the driver beckoned me aboard. The trolley was old and wooden (and real, running along rails) and it felt like something out of Harry Potter. The most remarkable thing was that it was free. The restaurants along McKinney avenue pay 5 cents for each rider that takes the trolley – cheap for them, but it brings business to that neighborhood
The restaurants we went to were okay, but not exceptional. One problem was the beer. Another was the bread. The craft beer culture that seems to be all over the east coast and northwest does not seem to have yet permeated Texas. Not only is beer bad in Texas, bread is as well. I an say with confidence that I have not had good bread in The South. There does not seem to be a culture of or an appreciation of good cheese either – all fermented things are out
Food generally like what I had in Iowa – flavored with salt and fat and gravy and ketchup. I miss food that has internal flavor: herbs and garlic that soaks in
Hard to find a bar that does not have lots of TVs. I want a bar with no TVs, but settle for one with only 10 or so
Texas is not exactly southern, the way Tennessee is, and is not exactly western, the way the Mountain states are.
One difference between southern culture and Texan culture seems to be that I frequently experienced people in Georgia pretending to be less intelligent than they were, particularly women. They would even, after making some error, say, “That’s just so southern of me!” or “What do you expect from a southern girl!” I never heard that kind of thing in Texas – not that Texans are any different in intelligence, but there’s so much pride here that they don’t belittle themselves like that.
In one conversation, a local claimed that “just as Atlanta is trying to be the New York of the south, Dallas wants to be the Chicago of the south.” Apparently Dallas recently lost a bid to host a major event, and the bid went to Chicago because Dallas didn’t have enough local culture and amenities. I don’t know if that’s true, but the local government seems to be putting a lot of money in museums, parks, etc.
Overall, I was impressed by Dallas, and think I could enjoy living here – if the opportunity arose.