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mistybleu Dallas - A travel report by Amanda
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Dallas,  United States - flag United States -  Texas
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mistybleu's travel reports

What a nightmare on Elm Street

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I always thought of Texas as being west, wild west; as I associated it with cowboys. However, it is classified as south central America and sometimes southwestern. It is bordered by Mexico and then 4 states: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Dallas travelogue picture
My journey started in London Heathrow airport – my favourite airport, as it brings back memories of my childhood and my first international flight. I travelled with American Airlines who have their hub in Dallas, which is twinned with Fort Worth where the international airport is situated. It took around 9 hours and I was surprised that there was only a 5-hour time difference from GMT, but this meant I could still keep in contact with friends/family at a sensible hour.

I found out that Texas was technically owned by six countries before becoming the 28th state to join the Union of the United States, one of them being Mexico. So as a result of its location and heritage it has a high percentage of Mexican inhabitants; in a 2010 census 42% of the population described themselves as Hispanic or Latino, which was intriguing.

During the summer months, the weather is really hot and then mild winters, however I was a little unlucky and experienced a cold snap. The day before I arrived it was 30oC and the same temperature the day after I left, but while I was there it was around 10 degrees, brrrrrh.

Dallas had a very successful farming industry, mostly cotton and cattle, however back in the 1930s oil was discovered and the city’s fate completely changed. The resulting economic boom allowed them to move into banking and technologies; and as a result of good investments it became quite wealthy city. However change is constant and some of their larger companies are now moving their headquarters to Houston.

I can't say Dallas is overly exciting but there is enough there to spark an interest. I was especially intrigued to find a link to pop culture the film ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ with Elm Street (Dealey Plaza), which is part of the historic West End district of downtown Dallas and the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963.

Favourite spots:
The last moments of JFK
The last moments of JFK
Surprisingly I enjoyed visiting the place where JFK was shot. For many years I had seen the TV footage, but it was kind of spooky going to the place where the first gunshot missed him; then the spot where the 2nd and 3rd shot hit and killed him. Elm Street is quite busy and it was funny to see tourists standing in the middle trying to get a photo on the 'X' which marks the spot of each shot.

There are many people around who will tell you what happened for a few bucks. But it's worth going to the Sixth Floor Museum to get an official understanding and be in the room from where the shots were fired.

There are so many conspiracy stories about the shooting; starting with the switch house which sits just behind the Grassy Knoll mound and could this be the location of a 2nd shooter and whether Lee Harvey Oswald was the actual shooter. It's said that 80% of Americans believe there was a cover up. It really is so fascinating!

What's really great:
Dallas travelogue picture
A trip to Dallas isn't complete unless a journey is made to Southfork, the ranch which was used in the hit TV show that ran between 1978-1991, and then in 2012 was brought back to the screens.

It is located 25 miles north of the city and was privately owned until the occupants got fed up of tourists dropping by, swimming in their pool and reading their mail. It was then owned by various companies before being redeveloped as the conference location.

You get to tour the grounds but it starts with a visit to their little museum with some memorabilia including the scripts of 'Who shot JR?'.

The funny thing is, that no filming was done inside the mansion. In fact the building is actually quite small. Even the pool is small; they had to tie a rope to swimmers to slow them down, making the pool appear longer. But all the scenes outside were shot there. The classic shots of them by the pool or eating breakfast in the veranda.

Some of the tour is corny but it is enjoyable as a tv buff.

Dallas travelogue picture
Five of the best things to do and see in dallas:

1. Dallas cowboy stadium - now called the AT&T Stadium, I wonder which is more famous the American footballers or the Dallas cheerleaders. Unlike Wimbledon, visitors can play on the pitch, and kick field goal if they can.

2. Southfork Raunch - the setting for the 1970s and 2012 TV drama Dallas. Now a functioning conference centre.

3. Sixth Floor Museum - The Texas School Book Depository was the location on Elm Street where Lee Harvey Oswald worked which provided the spot from where he shot JFK.

4. McKinney Avenue Trolley - the M line operates antique electric trolley which dates back to the early 1900s. Free to ride, but a donation is suggested.

5. Dallas Art district - a relatively new area, it has approximately 13 entertainment venues in a small area including Booker T Washington High School for Performing Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, Opera House, Morton H Meyers Symphony Centre, etc.

Dallas travelogue picture
I stayed in the Sheraton; it is a massive twin tower hotel, with each building straddling the street. It is an incredible hotel and has some wonderful views of the city.

I also stayed at the new Omni Hotel which is connected to the convention centre by a sky bridge. It is a very modern iconic building and it was the location of where I meet Larry Hagman aka JR Ewing prior to his death in 2012. His iconic Stetson will always be remembered.

Dallas travelogue picture
The cuisine in Dallas has a rich Mexican influence, whilst the state is known for its barbecues, undeniably Tex-Mex is the most widely available. The term Tex-Mex refers to the use of American ingredients to create Mexican food basically. It is charactised by the use of a lot of beans, shredded meats (pork and beef), grated cheese, rice and tortillas. Texan-styled chili con carne and fajitas are both Tex-Mex inventions.

One of my favs is Chicken Chimichangas and here's how to make them:

Mix shredded cooked chicken, picante or salsa, cumin, oregano, grated cheese and chopped onions together. (Picante is kind of salsa puréed.) Place a generous amount of the chicken mixture in the centre of a flour tortilla. Fold opposite sides over filling, then roll up from bottom and place seam-side down on a greased baking tray. Brush with melted butter and bake for 25 minutes or until golden at gas mark 6; then garnish with the remaining grated cheese and onion, and serve with salsa.

Other recommendations:
One of the things I missed on my trip to Dallas was that I was unable to attend a real rodeo. It is best to head up to Fort Worth to experience one of these shows; maybe to the Cowtown Coliseum and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, as they are indoor venues so less subject to the weather. Every weekend at these kinds of shows you get to see bronco riding, wagon racing, calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.

I was treated to a mock event, at a venue inside the city which included mechanical bull riding, lassoing wooden calf heads, toy wagon rides, etc to give a idea of Texan culture.

These events also have an opportunity to buy stuff and a Stetson, with cowboy boots and cowgirl bling is always welcomed, for some reason my wardrobe.

Published on Saturday December 7th, 2013

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Sun, Dec 15 2013 - 01:49 PM rating by krisek

An interesting report, with a rather strange JFK-related aspect. I have never been to Dallas, but I would have also wanted to see a rodeo. Thank you for sharing.

Thu, Dec 12 2013 - 08:52 AM rating by louis

Very enjoyable reading. It made a good start for planning Texas trip (soem day :)

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