A Travellerspoint blog

Flying into Dallas

The first stop for three mates on our trip including the US, Mexico City & the Bahamas

Day 1 – The Flight to Freedom

2.5 hours travelled
Fortunately, I am writing from the relatively comfy seat on our QANTAS flight from Sydney to Dallas. Conclusions drawn from this are that the morning went smoothly with no crises to confess. Our first beer was welcomed from our “Overtly Friendly” middle aged male flight consultant, shortly followed by another. It’s lovely he’s looking after us, however I get the odd sensation that next time I wake up his grin will be 3 inches from my face with another replacement, which, to be honest, would freak me the fuck out. Right on cue, he leans over my shoulder and plies me up with more beer, while I nearly fling my computer into another aisle. I shouldn’t complain, I’ve always dreamed of a hot chick to deliver me free beer whenever I need one… I guess this is close enough.

Checking out the flight path we have 12 hours flying time remaining. I’ve come prepared for the journey, my computer full of old crappy games, my iPod crammed with tunes and a good book. Oh, and I have my two travel companions to converse with. Goodie, just hit our first bout of turbulence. So in failing all of the above I can always vomit my numerous beers into an inadequately sized sick bag for a laugh.

Looking around the cabin, there are a few stereotypes to gawk at; the short of patience American businessman, the manatee-like couple taking up three seats between them, the beer swilling half cut Aussies (oh wait that would be us). “People Watching” is a great pastime provided you are subtle enough about it. Don’t feel rude, either, because no doubt you too have been people watched at one time or another. It fascinates me to think what someone’s background is, where they are ultimately headed, whether they have travelled to meet a lover they met on matchmaker.com or to seal a multi-million dollar business deal. The fact while all this is going on you can watch how weird some people look, act and walk is just an added bonus.

2am AEDST

Get me to Dallas already. I’ve been on this freaking metal bird for 9 hours and thoughts like “What if I just started gnawing on that woman’s shoulder,” have started passing through my head. Madness is starting to run like water from the shower of insanity into the bathroom floor grout that is my mind!
Fortunately I managed to hold my cannibalistic thoughts in check, and to occupy myself turned to the saving graces of a quality in-flight movie. Best option was Kung Foo Panda 2. That will have to do, better than picking human flesh out of my teeth I suppose.

Quick Stats: (Will put a little footnote at the end of each day noting how my aim of gaining 10kg is going)
Food eaten: Muchos Airline food of various and sometimes dubious quality
Alcohol devoured: 3 beers, 1 whiskey.
Sleep: 45 minutes


Day 1… again – The Big D

Finally arriving in Dallas, we wearily slumped our way through customs without incident and jumped in a cab. The cabbie, a man of few words, only piped up when he pulled in to the surrounding area of our accommodation. “Ahh you like girls, ay boys? Many hookers come to this spot…” Also found out that the huge club adjacent to the hotel “B’s” was a black club that the local law enforcement have been trying to get shut down due to all the shootings. Well-chosen accom first up there.

We decided not to stick around for too long before we headed off to McKinley Avenue, the hot spot in Dallas for bars and restaurants. After knocking back a few cold ones and our first taste of American food on the trip, we took a cab over to the very impressive American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, but in this instance we were keen to check out the Dallas Stars take on the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey match.

Although none of us are by any means die-hard ice-hockey fans, we loved the experience. Great atmosphere, massive beers, and the hockey itself was awesome; featuring some great skill, hard hits and most importantly, a bit of biffo for good measure. It also gave me my first taste of how proud Americans are of their own country. We watched as they relished in the singing of their national anthem, and witnessed the standing ovation when they introduced the “Hero of the game,” a Purple Heart recipient from the war in Iraq.
We kept a lid on the evening after the game, heading back to the hotel for a well-earned snooze.


Quick Stats:
Food eaten: Deep fried hot dog in Tex-Mex chili sauce, with a side of fries and sliced pickles.
Alcohol consumed: approximately 10 beers
Sleep time: about 8 hours.

The trip continues in Mexico...

Posted by roamingbullocks 04:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Chicago

The city, not the musical.

Day 7 – Adios Mexico, Howdy Windy City

Another well organised morning of packing and getting to the Aeropuerto on time makes for a day of stress free travel. I’m starting to think we will never come close to being stressed, sprinting through an airport, hip & shouldering any old age pensioner in our way and boarding a plane to the bronx cheers of the other passengers. Please refer to a later entry to find the moment when I regret saying this.
The flight from Mexico City to Chicago is 4 hours, which would normally seem like a fair hike, but as Sydney to Dallas is still in the forefront of the memory banks, it should be a walk in the park.

As predicted, the flight flew by (bad travelling pun, insert eye-roll and shut down of your computer here), and we arrived in Illinois to a beautiful sunset. After a hectic cab ride (driver was worse than anyone in Mexico) we arrived at the Wyndham hotel. I must say, Mexico was grouse, but it felt good to be back on American soil where everyone spoke English (albeit with a slight twang). We nipped out for a quick snack to T.G.I Fridays where I enjoyed a good morsel of local cuisine/pigged out on a rack of pork ribs, a dozen crumbed shrimp and “slaw”.

Before you judge me, the last week I’ve been lucky if I knew what I was ordering, and this was the biggest thing on the menu so it would have been rude not to.

After a few Buds, we rolled back to the hotel, had a dip in the hotels spa, before we flopped into bed. It was a nice hotel, made all the nicer that we weren’t allowed a roll-a-way bed in the room due to the fact it’s a fire hazard, so Snap and myself had to spoon...err... share a bed again.

Quick Stats

Food eaten – Aforementioned feast at TGI Fridays
Grog spilled – 6ish.
Sleep – Some odd dreams but about 7 hours.

Day 8 – The Windy City

As this was our only day in Chicago, we made an early start and started walking. Chicago is a beautiful city, the skyscrapers and the picturesque Lake Michigan make for diverse photo opportunities. After a relaxing walk around the pier that lies adjacent to the lake, we put on our tourist hats again and climbed aboard the Ferris wheel. After much deliberation, and thanks to a voice-over on the ride, we found out that the Ferris wheel was in fact named after some hombre back in the old days, not Ferris from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, no matter how much Nut was trying to convince us otherwise.

We then tried our luck on the public transport system, catching a couple of trains out to the United Centre, home of the Blackhawks, and most importantly my Bulls. My numero uno thing on the list coming to America was to see the Michael Jordan statue that lies in front of the building. I’m kind of a fan (of the man, not necessarily the statue). After taking a number of terrible photos, we spoke to a cool Chicagoan in the merchandise trailer and miraculously I only walked away spending $75. This could have well been my last entry as there was a chance I could have blown all my pennies on a Derrick Rose signed bobble-head or game worn Toni Kukoc underwear. We clambered back onto the train and hit up the city centre. After looking at the beautiful Millennium Park, we made our way back to the Wyndham.

We were shagged. Backs were sore, feet were aching, and legs were a chance of being voluntarily amputated. Instead of calling it quits however, we hit the spa for a rejuvenating soak. Feeling much better, we hit up TGI Fridays for some beverages and wings before heading out to Nobby O’Toolihans for what would eventually turn out to be the biggest night of the trip so far. Imagine our delight to find that pitchers of Miller were $10 each. We saddled up to some American food, and downed jug after jug. Even the waiter said he was impressed… he clearly hadn’t met an Aussie before.

Quick Stats

Food munched: Chicken burger, buffalo wings, two hotdogs with the works.
Grog inhaled: Many, many, many, many, many beers. Hangover inducing.
Sleep? A solid beer nap of 6 hours.

Posted by roamingbullocks 04:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bienvenido a Mexico

After a relatively average night sharing a bed with Snap, we headed downstairs for some breakfast. After receiving our much anticipated glowing welcome downstairs (a vacant glare from behind reception) we made quick with the food so we could get out to the airport in plenty of time for our flight to Mexico City.

I had my first brush with the law as we passed through security today, as I had to surrender my hair product. Yes, I know you can imagine my outrage as I punched the woman in security in the throat before overpowering the police officer, stealing his taser and giving him a good jolt to the privates. Once I was done, I grabbed my product, smoothly styled my hair and caught up with the boys. Or, maybe I said thank you to the security lady, dropped an “F bomb” as I was walking away before a police officer told me to watch my language. I’ll let you pick the most likely scenario, but I know which one I’ll be telling my grand-kids.
We exchanged our $300 USD for $3,000,000,000 Mexican peso’s and jumped on our flight.


Our cab ride from the airport to our accommodation in Mexico City was like a scene from 2 Fast 2 Furious, with the slight exception that we were going faster than they were in the movie. I think about 160kmh was our drivers record. Fortunately, we arrived at the hotel in the same state as when we landed. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for our underpants but I guess that’s ok.

Mexico City has the same feel to it as a Phuket or Kuta, but with less people hassling you, and it seems there is less poverty here. There are still some confronting beggars (the armless, legless, sick children etc.) but it certainly isn’t as “in your face” as other cities. I do feel bad for not giving, but if you give to one, supposedly they report it to the head of the Guild of the Homeless (GOTH for short) and then they all come asking.

Unlike the other cities however, there are shoulder to shoulder people. Mexico City has roughly the same population as the whole of Australia so there is more room to dance the Macarena in a sardine tin.

We took it pretty easy today, ventured to a couple of restaurants, which is an adventure in itself when the waiter and the menus have as much English between them as myself after half a carton of Coronas. We hit the hay relatively early, as we were still quite munted from the lack of sleep.


Quick Stats:
Food eaten: 1 bagel with scrambled eggs, Enchiladas, Mexican Shrimp
Alcohol consumed: 6 beers
Sleep time: 4 hours

Day 3 – GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!

The start of the day was somewhat frustrating thanks to our friendly, yet somewhat dim Concierge. We were in the hunt for some soccer tickets for that evening’s game at Stadia Azteca, so he sent us to various Ticketek’s throughout the area, of which none sold soccer tickets. So there was a fair chunk of the day spent wandering the streets looking like tourists, which I suppose is okay, as we are in fact tourists.

We caught a taxi out to the stadium, bought ourselves some jerseys in the home team’s colours (wise choice we thought to avoid daggers, metaphorical and literal) and continued on to the ticket seller. Nut used his best bi-lingual abilities to inform the hombre that we wanted good tickets, which he happily sold to us for about $60 a pop. Imagine our surprise being personally ushered in to the stadium to our “seats” which ended up being in the VIP area. Leather seats, silver service and surrounded by rich, beautiful people. Tough day at the office in store for us. Coronas were brought to us with a mere wave of the hand so it was our duty as Australians to drink as many as we could in the 90 minutes allotted.

A pretty entertaining game in all, passionate fans and a 1-1 draw as the final result made for a great day. With about 20 minutes left in the second half, the heavens opened and it rained like the proverbial. The goalie for the home team even climbed the posts to avoid drowning. Actually that last part may or may not be factual as I had ingested a reasonable count of cerveza to this point. Hell, maybe it didn’t even rain.

Our reliable taxi driver was outside to pick us up and bring us home even if we did look like the soaking wet, drunk tourists that we were. He had prepared for us too, putting on the only English radio station, so we were singing along to Tracy Chapman one minute, and enduring such classics as Devo’s “Whip It” the next. Have you listened to that song lately? It is nothing short of ear poison. I think I would honestly prefer it if you poured caustic acid in my ears, closed my mouth, nose and eyes, and shook my head than have to listen to it again. I’ll give you a moment to have a listen, enjoy….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbt30UnzRWw

Once home, we continued on our merry way drinking whatever beer we had, before going out to buy more. The liver torment had officially begun.

Quick Stats
Food Eaten: Hotel breakky, chicken & cheese Mexican roll thing.
Beers devoured: Somewhere in the vicinity of many & lots.
Sleep? Best night’s sleep of the trip so far!


Day 4 – OMG FASHION!!!!

We had one aim for today, to shop like the real men we were... um... are. We had our trusty concierge call for a driver to take us to the biggest shopping mall in Mexico City, featuring no less than 2,500 stores. I had an image in mind of us walking in with our thongs, half-torn t-shirts and baggy shorts and walking out in suits in slow motion like the cats from Reservoir Dogs. So Samantha, Charlotte and I (sorry I mean Nut, Snap & I) took the 45 minute ride out of town to throw our money around like monkeys hurling shit in a cage, with little to no success. We spent 3 hours in the mall, circumnavigated each floor multiple times, and splashed out on, wait for it, 3 Gatorades and 2 waters. Whoah there big spender! Still it was a good day, saw plenty of sights, got plenty of people watching in and came out more hydrated than we went in so… bonus.

Funny addition to the day was that when we got back to the accommodation, there was clearly something wrong with the front glass sliding doors. A tell-tale sign of this is when half of the front office staff is locked outside, and the stocky little manager is holding both fists above his head making a slamming motion, before we caught him in the act. “Smoothly” he asked if we had our key, which we were only too happy to oblige and let them in. Fortunately for the man in question, we are not the type to raise it or make fun when we see him. Unfortunately, we are the type that will pull the piss as soon as we reach the elevator, the next day, week, month and of course posting his little mishap online.
Apart from the energy it took to give the aforementioned escape artist a hard time behind his back, we took it pretty easy for the rest of the day. As you can imagine (unless you’re Irish) we were pretty slow after yesterday’s grogging, so we checked out a few shops close to the hotel before heading out for a bite to eat. Whilst downing our recovery beverages, God decided to do that thing he does and made it absolutely bucket down… again. Seriously, there was so much rain I saw a member of GOTH asleep on a lilo floating down the street.
After holding out as long as we could, we became resigned to our fate that we had to make like a Usain and bolt back to the hotel. Needless to say, moistness was achieved in the first few strides, stomach cramps and stiches were a factor 2 blocks down the road, and I am still thanking the Gods of comedy that I didn’t tweak a hammy.

There was a moment of beauty however, when I stopped sprinting, and noticed we were the only people running down a cobble stone street in the middle of Mexico City (a town with a population of no less than 26 million). I think it’s moments like this that can be taken for granted on holiday when you see so much amazing stuff that some things can go under the radar only to be forgotten forever. Despite the fact I only have two blurry photos for proof, I will remember this rainy night.

Quick Stats Food Eaten: Bugger all (hangover) & quesadillas.
Beers forced: 6
Sleep: Not a great deal.

Day 5 – The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane (aka Culture Day).

Today we hired yet another driver to take us out to the ancient pyramids which are situated about an hour’s drive from the hotel. We spent two hours exploring not only the ruins and the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, but also exploring ways to avoid buying useless knick-knacks from the dozens of locals trying to offload their crap and make a dime. Yes, yes, I hear your argument that they probably took hours at home neglecting their children in order to make what is no doubt their only source of income, well answer me this… Why did they all make exactly the same crap? Did they have a united assembly one night wondering how they can boost the country’s economy, and as a result all went home with sketches of medallions, face masks and whistles? I think bloody not!

Ahem, the pyramids were beautiful. It felt great to get out of the city, breathe in some fresh air and see another side to Mexico.
We ventured back to the hotel for a quick change, before venturing out again to another area of Mexico renowned for its shopping, bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, the shopping opportunities seemed limited to either a Mercedes (too poor), a wedding dress (none fit), or Armani suits (not cool enough). We did find a nice local Irish bar for lunch, so we found ourselves eating Mexican food in an Irish bar. I thought it would be cool if we bought suits and were drinking Cascade Draught, so we could be drinking Australian beer, in Italian suits in an Irish pub in Mexico. How’s that for culture! Now if we had cigars, we could be smoking Cubans, drinking Australian beer, in Italian suits in an Irish pub in Mexico… but I digress.

After lunch we sought out a new pub, as we were starting to forget which country we were in. Unfortunately, the only other option in the area was full of clowns. Not the metaphorical sense, but the quite literal sense. About 10 or so fully made up clowns congregated at one of the tables. As clowns generally freak me the fuck out, we decided to steer clear.
So we made our way to a little place called “Zona Rosa,” where we lasted all of about 5 minutes. Turns out if you were a stripper, gay, or a gay stripper, this is where you were. Not really in the mood to get a lap dance from anyone named Riccardo, we decided to play it safe, and jump in the closest cab that would take us to the sanctity of our hotel.
We had dinner downstairs and watched the Mexico vs Brazil game on the telly in our room with the normal accompaniment of Dos Equis, had a few laughs (generally over the front office manager, who earned the nickname “Slick Rick”) and called it a night.

Quick Stats
Food eaten: Chicken wings, Guinness Chicken, and cheese Mexican roll thing (again).
Beer downed: 8ish
Sleep? Enough.

Day 6 – The last day in Mexico City.

Routine started setting in, which I suppose is a good thing as at least it meant we were getting out and about and exploring. Advertised in our “Welcome to Mexico” book was a factory outlet mall, so we thought we would try and get our shop on again. The cab took about 45 minutes to get us all the way across town, so there was no way I was leaving without buying something.
The mall had a few more man friendly shops than the previous failure, so hopes were high. We did manage to pick up a few bargains, even if the threads never get worn at least I spent peso’s, which may have emptied my wallet but at least left me with a feeling of accomplishment.
The cab ride back took about 1 ½ hours, as traffic was at a standstill. In honour of R.E.M. breaking up we decided to start singing “Everybody Hurts,” get out of the cab and start walking. Not really. We just sat there and copped it.

Once home, right on cue, the rain fell like a blind roofer. It’s a good thing we are leaving tomorrow as the hurricane that was rocking the coast was getting closer, plus I’m running out of bad similes for rain. We asked our concierge where a good place close by to fill our bellies was and he sent us sprinting into the dark once more. We managed to stay relatively dry and saddled up for some nosh in a small but groovy cantina. Menus only came in Spanish, and as our guts were on somewhat shaky ground already we decided on 2 pizzas and a steak. What was interesting was the round of cervesas we ordered up. We stuck with Pacifico, which was a beer we had grown to know and love. We weren’t however, expecting them to be somewhat modified. Our waiter brought out 3 salt rimmed glasses with about 10mils of unidentified dark syrup in the base of the glass. The brews tasted somewhat odd, so when the next round hit the table we asked what it was. Soy sauce said he. I’ll be f@#$d said us. At first, we thought they were having a laugh at the expense of tres white ignoramuses, but fortunately we did see others with a similar situation happening. Didn’t stop it from being freaking weird however, and may not be a practice used at home unless I lose at cards.

As routine would have it, after dinner we grabbed some Dos Equis, chilled out at the hotel and enjoyed each other’s company. At no stage did we critique X-Factor for an hour or so. Nope. Not even for a moment.
Overall a good last day in Mexico City, a place I can highly recommend visiting for the cheap beer, great food (if you have a relatively strong stomach), and a good dose of culture. Another plus is that Spanish is a relatively easy language for picking up some of the basics. Such favourites as “Hola” (Hello), “Como Est Das” (How are you?) and “Amigo, Muy bien banyo!” (Friend, very good toilet!), are useful phrases that you may use yourself sometime.

Quick Stats
Food munched: A Hawaiian burger, most of a jalapeño pizza (not a very Mexican day today).
Beers licked: A good 6.
Soy drunk: Two too many.
Sleep? Solid 8 hours!

Next stop Chicago!

Posted by roamingbullocks 03:57 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Flying into Dallas

The first stop for three mates on our trip including the US, Mexico City & the Bahamas

Day 1 – The Flight to Freedom

2.5 hours travelled
Fortunately, I am writing from the relatively comfy seat on our QANTAS flight from Sydney to Dallas. Conclusions drawn from this are that the morning went smoothly with no crises to confess. Our first beer was welcomed from our “Overtly Friendly” middle aged male flight consultant, shortly followed by another. It’s lovely he’s looking after us, however I get the odd sensation that next time I wake up his grin will be 3 inches from my face with another replacement, which, to be honest, would freak me the fuck out. Right on cue, he leans over my shoulder and plies me up with more beer, while I nearly fling my computer into another aisle. I shouldn’t complain, I’ve always dreamed of a hot chick to deliver me free beer whenever I need one… I guess this is close enough.

Checking out the flight path we have 12 hours flying time remaining. I’ve come prepared for the journey, my computer full of old crappy games, my iPod crammed with tunes and a good book. Oh, and I have my two travel companions to converse with. Goodie, just hit our first bout of turbulence. So in failing all of the above I can always vomit my numerous beers into an inadequately sized sick bag for a laugh.

Looking around the cabin, there are a few stereotypes to gawk at; the short of patience American businessman, the manatee-like couple taking up three seats between them, the beer swilling half cut Aussies (oh wait that would be us). “People Watching” is a great pastime provided you are subtle enough about it. Don’t feel rude, either, because no doubt you too have been people watched at one time or another. It fascinates me to think what someone’s background is, where they are ultimately headed, whether they have travelled to meet a lover they met on matchmaker.com or to seal a multi-million dollar business deal. The fact while all this is going on you can watch how weird some people look, act and walk is just an added bonus.

2am AEDST

Get me to Dallas already. I’ve been on this freaking metal bird for 9 hours and thoughts like “What if I just started gnawing on that woman’s shoulder,” have started passing through my head. Madness is starting to run like water from the shower of insanity into the bathroom floor grout that is my mind!
Fortunately I managed to hold my cannibalistic thoughts in check, and to occupy myself turned to the saving graces of a quality in-flight movie. Best option was Kung Foo Panda 2. That will have to do, better than picking human flesh out of my teeth I suppose.

Quick Stats: (Will put a little footnote at the end of each day noting how my aim of gaining 10kg is going)
Food eaten: Muchos Airline food of various and sometimes dubious quality
Alcohol devoured: 3 beers, 1 whiskey.
Sleep: 45 minutes


Day 1… again – The Big D

Finally arriving in Dallas, we wearily slumped our way through customs without incident and jumped in a cab. The cabbie, a man of few words, only piped up when he pulled in to the surrounding area of our accommodation. “Ahh you like girls, ay boys? Many hookers come to this spot…” Also found out that the huge club adjacent to the hotel “B’s” was a black club that the local law enforcement have been trying to get shut down due to all the shootings. Well-chosen accom first up there.

We decided not to stick around for too long before we headed off to McKinley Avenue, the hot spot in Dallas for bars and restaurants. After knocking back a few cold ones and our first taste of American food on the trip, we took a cab over to the very impressive American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, but in this instance we were keen to check out the Dallas Stars take on the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey match.

Although none of us are by any means die-hard ice-hockey fans, we loved the experience. Great atmosphere, massive beers, and the hockey itself was awesome; featuring some great skill, hard hits and most importantly, a bit of biffo for good measure. It also gave me my first taste of how proud Americans are of their own country. We watched as they relished in the singing of their national anthem, and witnessed the standing ovation when they introduced the “Hero of the game,” a Purple Heart recipient from the war in Iraq.
We kept a lid on the evening after the game, heading back to the hotel for a well-earned snooze.


Quick Stats:
Food eaten: Deep fried hot dog in Tex-Mex chili sauce, with a side of fries and sliced pickles.
Alcohol consumed: approximately 10 beers
Sleep time: about 8 hours.

Next stop Mexico!

Posted by roamingbullocks 03:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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