I had to return my car to the DFW airport Friday afternoon, so in the morning I went into Dallas. I decided to check out the Dallas Museum of Art. It was pretty nice. I didn’t see anything that really blew me away, but it was still a nice place. There was an exhibit of African masks. That was kind of neat, though that stuff is not really my thing. At least not in museums. If someone gave a presentation on the masks and their significance, then I might be more interested, but looking at them and reading about them in a museum tends to bore me. There was also an exhibit called “The Mourners” I think. It was just a collection of old figures from tombstones. Basically they were all bishops or monks. I think they were on some royal person’s tomb. It’s one of those things that’s been done by plenty of kings and important figures through time. The idea being that the person who dies wants someone to go with him to the afterworld, or to pray for him or protect him. Sculpture’s not my thing. And while I like reading, I can only do so much of it on museum walls. There was also an exhibit of Jose Posada’s work. I liked it, though it’s probably not the most technically difficult work. Again, I didn’t read all the history about him and his work, but I know he did different commercial works; book covers and ads and other things along those lines; and also got involved in more political work. He also used skeletons a lot in his work. If you look him up that’s probably something you’ll see. Other than those things there was some pretty good modern art, and I always like that stuff. Unfortunately the section where the impressionists would have been displayed was closed for some reason.
After that I had to take the car back and get a shuttle to my hotel. The hotel I stayed at was really cool. I should have taken some pictures, but of course I didn’t. It’s called NYLO, and I guess there are a few of them around the country. Their whole thing is to make their rooms look more like lofts. It’s definitely a different feel from your standard hotel. The floor and walls are just concrete, and the bathroom has a big sliding door, and there are some exposed pipes. But, it’s still really nice. The bed was great and the furniture was cool looking and the bathroom was nice, too. It was really just going for a kind of chic, cool look. It’s probably the coolest place I stayed at during my travels. I think I already talked about the place I stayed at in L.A. which was also cool. I don’t think I mentioned, though, the place I stayed at in Albuquerque—if I remember correctly—which was also neat. It was just a motel 6 that I randomly picked from the Interstate. But, it was another one of those places that just had a little bit different feel. There was a cool color scheme, and an interesting little desk, more like a place you’d eat than a work kind of desk, and the bed was more like a futon mattress than a standard mattress. I realize that’s not the best description, but I’m probably already boring you. I do think it’s cool, though, to find places that are a bit different.
Back, to NYLO, though. After I relaxed in my room for a bit, I headed downstairs for dinner. Sticking with the chic style they had a really cool looking bar/restaurant and the bartender was great. I started to think, though, that I was not cool enough to really fit in. Most of the people around were in designer jeans and nice shoes, button down shirts or nicer polo shirts, and some had on jackets. I was there with my sneakers and linen pants and short sleeved plaid shirt. But, just as I was thinking I wasn’t cool enough to strike up any conversations, I got to talking to a guy two seats down from me. I don’t remember how it started, probably something about the Rangers/Yankees game. Anyway, we got chatting a bit, and it was all pretty intelligent stuff. Turns out he was born in Zimbabwe, and has been living in the U.S. for about 6 years. So we talked a little about Zimbabwe—mostly he just told me some things since I don’t know much except their economy is terrible. I think we were talking a little about my adventures traveling the country when he asked me something like “How crazy you wanna get tonight?” I should have said, “Not crazy at all. I want to go up to my room and watch the baseball game away from all Rangers fans.” But instead I decided to go with him to a bar he thought would be a little more exciting.
The place was called Chaucers, and it was alright. A fairly standard sports bar kind of place. There were plenty of people there and plenty of TV screens, too. We sat at the bar next to a couple girls who we started talking to. One of them was a big Rangers fan, so we had to do some trash talking. She was kind of young looking, but I resisted asking how old she was for a long time. It wasn’t her response that made me feel old—she’s 22—but just the fact that I asked.
But, we were all having fun—even though the Yankees lost—drinking and talking. After the game I hit the dance floor, and then the fun really started. I was getting down with everyone. It was all fun, except for one moment when I apparently asked someone’s girlfriend to dance. She was just sitting there alone at the table, maybe with some other girls, so I asked her to dance, all in good fun. I think she said no, but I asked her again, trying to cajole her a bit, though I don’t think I was pushy at all. Anyway, at that point some guy comes over and puts his arm around her or something and I said “Oh, are you her boyfriend?” and he just sort of shrugged. And I apologized and explained I wasn’t trying to hit on his girlfriend or anything, I was just having fun. But, still he insisted on saying some possessive, alpha male junk along the lines that I needed to just move along. Then, even as I was backing up he waved his hand at me like he was waving me away. It just didn’t seem necessary to me. Of course, there is the possibility that in my drunken state I didn’t come off as harmless and silly to the girl I was talking to. Oh well, there were plenty of other people who thought I was fun.
This was all still pretty early because it was about 12 when I left Chaucers with Danford—that’s the guy from Zimbabwe—to go to some party his friend was at. On the way there he says, “It’s gonna be all black people at this party. Are you cool with that?” I hadn’t even thought about something like that before, but once he said something I did start to wonder if I was gonna get there and everyone would be like “what’s this white boy doing here?” or if I was dance get silly and dance with someone’s girlfriend and then get beat up. But, in the end there was nothing at all to worry about. I mostly just talked to Dan and his friends and they were all cool.
The place was pretty interesting. When Dan said party, I assumed he meant at a house, but really it was at a well, a club I guess. We pulled up at this kind of small looking block building and went inside. Right inside the door was a girl with a little guest list. Dan’s friend put us on the list, so she let us through and we headed down this long hallway that was all lit with red lights and all along the way were wooden doors. I leave it up to your imagination to decide what was behind those doors and what happened there. Eventually the hallway ended with a stairway down to the basement. I don’t remember when I could hear the music, but certainly by the time we got to the stairs I could hear it. We went down and there was a huge open space with almost nobody in it. There was one guy working the bar—if I can even call it that. It was maybe 5 feet long and had kind of a tropical/tiki theme from what I remember. Dan tried to order a mixed drink and the guy stopped him and said he only had beer. I saw he had a Heineken in his hand, so I ordered one for each of us. Then we saw Dan’s friends. Introductions were shared, and I got a little bit more of a look around. Like I said, there was almost nobody there, the four of us—Me, Dan, and his two friends—were kind of crowded back in a corner as if there was nowhere else to be. From what I could see, the room was a kind of L shape. Against one of the center walls was a big stage. There was nobody on the stage, but the poles on the stage and a joke Dan made about wishing he could see some strippers gave me the impression that there were strippers at this place from time to time. After Dan talked to his friends for a bit he pointed out the food table. I was a bit reluctant at first, since I was basically just a stranger, but he insisted so we went and checked it out. There was spaghetti and refried beans and fried chicken. It was all good. I really should have eaten more of the chicken. It was excellent.
We decided, though, that this place was not really that great, so we headed back to Chaucer’s. By this, time, though it was getting late and I was quickly losing steam. Unfortunately, Dan was my ride, so I was stuck with him. I tried to dance a little more, and chatted some with some more girls. Finally, though, last call came, and everyone was kicked out. We stood around outside for what seemed like forever before once again going to the place where the “party” was. I was done, and tried to get Dan to take me back to my hotel, but he said he’d be quick and I could just stay in the car. So, I slept in the car while he did whatever he was doing. Finally, about 4am I stumbled back to my room and crashed on my wonderful bed.
I didn’t mention before that part of the reason I stayed at NYLO instead of a cheaper place was because I wanted to be sure I was at a place where I could get a good night’s sleep before my marathon train ride. So much for that, huh? So, I woke up at 8:30 on Saturday and decided I could sleep another hour and still make my train. I figured if I was in a taxi by 10:30 I should be at the train station on time with no worries. At 9:30 and slowly and sickly dragged myself through the chores needed to make myself presentable and ready to go, and by 11 was on the road to the Amtrak station. Luckily it wasn’t a very long ride and I got there on time. The only thing was, my 11:50 train didn’t show up 2. I could have stayed in my hotel until they kicked me out at 12 and probably felt much better. Instead I had to take a bouncy taxi ride hoping I’d make it all the way without puking. But, I made it and there was no puking in the taxi or at the train station and as of the writing of this blog at 9:30pm on Saturday I’m feeling better.
Onward to New Orleans!