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Who shot JR?
By Mikey
Monday, 26th April 2004 06:23

I was very keen to visit Dallas as Texas is one state that I haven't visited (actually there are many that I haven't visited) and Texans pique my curiosity. After all, this big state may be devoid of such iconic cities like Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (to name only a few) but it does have its fair share of history. The setting for numerous tales of the "Old West", the place where JFK was shot, the home of the Ewing family (not that I watched Dallas when it was on) and a big NASA presence in Houston. I'm sure that there's more that I could witter on about but I won't. Of late, what has really come to fascinate me about Texas is that it is the home state of the biggest threat to world peace (in my opinion) for many years. I talk about none other than George "Dubya" Bush. What I was curious about was whether he was a typical Texan or hopefully just an exception. I also wanted a nice, long hot shower and a launderette to get over the heat and stickiness of Belize!

I was a little sad to leave Belize as the people there were very friendly and the country was something to behold. Having said that though, it could have been better yet but for some areas where there was quite a bit of litter. However, we were very happy to be on our way to Dallas for a number of reasons. The promise of a long, hot shower I have already mentioned but also whilst in Belize City airport, we learned that our house sale had gone through successfully and that our bank balance looked a lot healthier. Admittedly the latter wasn't exactly linked with Dallas but it was one less thing (and a big thing too) to worry about. So now we are both homeless and jobless, wandering the Earth because we can and we want to. You could think of us as happy-go-lucky scamps if you like.

We arrived in Dallas at about 7pm and after a long day of bumpy bus journeys and seemingly endless Country and Western music, all we wanted to do was sleep. One taxi ride later and we were safely relaxing in luxury, well, comparative luxury anyway. It was then that I realised that it has been many weeks since we had been in the presence of a television. It's weird but we've done so much in those weeks that I can honestly say that I haven't missed it. I should admit though that I did stay up quite late finding all sorts of weird rubbish to watch. Some old habits die hard!

Saturday morning felt really good. I felt 100% clean for the first time in a while. Sure I'd had showers etc in the previous weeks but some of them left a lot to be desired. I felt ready to tackle the long list we had made for ourselves. Dallas, besides being the place we had to fly to in order to go from Belize to Peru, was intended to be a sort of re-stocking or replenishing stop. Being more or less English speaking (colour has a "u" in it!) and littered with Malls, it made sense. Top of our list was a visit to an Optician to get a backup pair of glasses for Claire and we needed drugs (legal ones).

Our choice of hotel turned out to be better than I had expected. This was not just because there was a large drugstore over the road, most of our tasks turned out to be accomplished nearby. Of course we have a drugstore story to tell. It turns out that Americans do not know what paracetamol is. The pharmacist there looked blank when we asked and eventually asked if we had meant Tylenol. We patiently explained a couple of times that we don't have Tylenol in England before we gave up and bought it anyway. Paracetamol sounds better to me and you can make jokes out of it.

Getting Claire's glasses had worried us both for a few weeks and we were not reassured at first when we had found an optician that they would not make the glasses unless Claire had an eye exam even though we had the details of her perscription handy. But we persevered and another optician in the same mall was only too happy to oblige. We were even given spare washers for Claire's glasses that were breaking. All this we managed to accomplish by midday despite walking to the mall.

I should mention at this point that Dallas is big. If we were there for any longer than a day, I would have given serious consideration to hiring a car. As well placed as our hotel was for what we wanted to do, you just can't do anywhere in America justice unless you have a car. Of course we're made of stronger stuff and prepared to walk (or maybe we're fools, you decide), but, for any who haven't been there, you need a car.

Where was I? Yes, at the mall. Whilst there, we also purchased a compact flash card for my camera and I got a haircut. We were also on the lookout for people wearing stetsons and cowboy boots as surely that's what every Texan wears. However, we saw none and we were disappointed. Regardless, we'd had a very productive day so far and now we were tired and so we went back to the hotel for a nap. Actually, the nap turned into three loads of washing in the hotel laundry and me phoning home to wish my mum a happy birthday.

After the washing was done and dried, we set off is search of the Dallas Galleria believing it to have a cinema screen or five. The route we ended up walking to get there was a bit roundabout but it wasn't far and I think I mentioned the "stronger stuff" earlier. The shops there were decidedly more up market than the mall we went to that morning. Louis Vitton (I believe Sian's a fan), Versace and many others. There was also and ice rink but, alas, no cinema. The cinema was on our list by the way, we weren't bored. It was planned.

We discovered after a short while that the nearest cinema was a couple of miles away along the highway. Undeterred we found a bright purple taxi to convey us there and whilst it was slightly further than "a couple of miles" in my opinion, it was well worth it. We saw Kill Bill Vol 2 as we had planned and in many respects it surpassed Vol 1. We will have to add both to our collection when we get back to England. We can afford it, we've sold our house!

That's about it for what we did in Dallas. We didn't eat much whilst here, neither of us felt like it. We had lots of hot showers and now we're off to Peru refreshed and replenished.

As for the matter of George "Dubya" (he has a turnpike named after him) and Texans in general, I think he is most likely just an exception. Having said that though, Texans did elect him Governor before he became President. What does that say about him? Answers on a postcard please.

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