Hot Stuff in The States – Part 3: Dallas

Confession Time. We didn’t really think much about Dallas before we headed over to the USA. Nigh on all of our thoughts were around Las Vegas and our five days on the road. By the time we checked into the Hyatt Regency we had already been in the States for 12 nights, got married, and travelled 1,200 miles along stretches of Route 66 i.e. a holiday in itself. Therefore it almost felt a little bit strange to still have another week to go in a location we’d barely scratched the surface of during our pre-holiday research. What I’m trying to say is that we really didn’t do that much beyond wandering around the downtown area, and seeing what it had to offer. So instead of a day by day diary I’ll just let you know the highlights of our week.

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The view from our window (that is downtown Dallas)

I had a feeling the hotel was near Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated, but I didn’t realise it was as close as it actually was. In the picture above, Dealey Plaza is centre left – the area of greenery. This was our first tourist stop, which we made on our second day in town. Next to the Plaza is of course the Texas Book Depository, from where all (or some) of the fatal shots were fired. The Depository is now not a Depository and instead houses the JFK Sixth Floor Museum.

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Bet you could get a good shot from here. That’s our hotel in the background i.e. the glass thing.

The museum was fascinating. I expected it to back up the “Lone Gunman” theory i.e. it was all Lee Harvey Oswald’s doing, but it didn’t. In truth it left the mystery as wide open as ever. As an aside, this was the first time I’d ever had an audio tour (it was included in the entry fee) and it really enhanced the experience. The picture above shows where JFK’s car was when he was shot – the silver car in our picture is about 10 yards beyond where the fatal shot hit Kennedy.

On another day we took the JFK Trolley Tour which involved hopping aboard an old style trolley bus, and in essence following where Lee Harvey Oswald went after the shooting. As you may, or may not know, he simply wandered out of the depository and went home.

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A new photo of the mysterious man behind the picket fence

Enjoyed the tour on the trolley bus. For one thing it let us see parts of Dallas we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. You saw where Oswald boarded, where he shot police office JD Tippit and the cinema where he was arrested. Before I go any further the following picture needs to be shown, and admired! Deena sat clicking at the downtown skyline for an hour during a spectacular thunderstorm and this picture was her reward. She’d always wanted to capture a lightning bolt and now she has.

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A Deena Clements original…can you beat that Angela?

Downtown Dallas wasn’t really what I had imagined. If you think of downtown New York or London you have pictures of streets crammed with tourists and lots of places to see. This wasn’t what we got in Dallas. The downtown area was more of a business quarter with offices and places to eat & drink for the office workers. To see the best of Dallas and the surrounding area i.e. the likes of Southfork Ranch, you need to have a car. If we could do the holiday again we would have probably spent less time in Dallas and more time with the car, possibly including staying outside Dallas and nipping in and out when we wanted to visit downtown.

In the downtown area the main tourist destination, outwith the JFK bits and bobs, is the Dallas Aquarium. Got to admit my feelings on animals in captivity mean I’m not a huge fan of zoos and aquariums, especially if it feels like the environments are restrictive and unnatural. The surprise with the aquarium is that it’s not just an aquarium. In fact it’s more like an indoor jungle with birds, reptiles, monkeys, sloths etc as well as fish and mammals. The place was slightly oppressive. Didn’t smell very fresh and the penguin in his sun drenched pool didn’t look too happy. However, it is what it is. Wouldn’t recommend a tip if you’re remotely unsettled by animals behind bars.

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Pool or hot tub?

Our hotel was right next to the Reunion Tower. Think the tower was there first and the hotel quickly followed. On our second last day we took a trip up. One thing we got a great view of was the hotel pool. As the picture above shows, it was absolutely tiny. More than three people in it and it was full. Honestly, I’ve seen bigger hot tubs. For a hotel of the size of the Hyatt Regency it was utterly bizarre that they had such a small pool. Pity, because me and the Mrs both enjoyed our evening swim.

Above the main viewing area was a cafe with a neat trick – the outside section rotated i.e. not the tower, simply the floor between the cafe and the window ledge. Took about 40 minutes or so to slowly work its way round.

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Paul in orange.

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Pioneer Plaza

Other places we wandered too include Pioneer Plaza which featured a collection of large horse, cattle and cowboy statues. Nearby was a cemetery which was where most of the pioneers who founded Dallas were buried. Retail therapy was mainly limited to one trip up the Orange line on the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit – buses, trains, trams) to Northpark mall. Here we bought a carry-on suitcase as it appeared as if we were taking home twice as much as we’d brought. It wasn’t of course that much but we definitely needed some more space for the journey home. A few days we just went for a wander around downtown before relaxing at the hotel. As I said if we’d thought more about Dallas then I’m sure we would have seen more of it. As it was we were happy to chill after what had been a hot and tiring couple of weeks before even getting to our final hotel.

On our last morning we were up and out of the Hyatt Regency by 9:30. Handily the DART had a station at DFW (Dallas Forth Worth airport) and so it was a relatively easy journey from hotel to the departure lounge.

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At Dallas Fort Worth airport. The journey home begins.

Flight to London was around 9 hours, and a couple of hours after that we were in the air back up to Edinburgh.

Thanks for reading.

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