try being a tourist in texas. it didn’t last long…. but at least you tried. so it starts with a visit to the smu campus. southern methodist university. in dallas, a private college (here, university and college are the exact same thing) that is known for… well, you aren’t sure. except perhaps many of the people who attend the school are rich? but as with any college, public or private, there is always lots of money involved.
there are actually quite a few good universities in the dallas/fort worth area. tcu (texas christian university) in fort worth, unt (university of north texas) in denton, uta (university of texas at arlington) in arlington, utd (university of dallas) in dallas… etc… etc.
but why smu? simple. there’s a sculpture by the spanish architect santiago calatrava – the wave. giant bronze rods that move over a reflection pool to mimic the movement of a wave. it’s something you really have to see – still photos don’t do it justice.
you wonder if the tradition of throwing pennies into fountains and wishing exists in europe? you can’t remember. but in america, as long as there aren’t any fish to choke on coins, you can make wishes with the pennies you throw into the fountains.
your friend has an art opening. yes! intimate galleries you mingle with people. that didn’t happen in europe because you didn’t have any friends in the scene. but in houston? you hop right in and chatter away.
this time, the rules are:
1. must be in a sketchy and potentially dangerous area
2. must have flickering fluorescent lighting
3. must have a certain decor
4. must be cheap.
5. must be greasy enough to make you regret the meal afterwards
the next day, your friend is a bit busy so you take mini trip to galveston.
about an hour south east of houston, here you see the marshes.
which eventually transitions into the ocean. it’s not very pretty… but at the very least, the sound of the water is enough to make you happy. a coast is better than no coast at all, you tell yourself.
you are not sure how or where or why the flamingos-on-the-front-lawn movement started, but it is something pretty typical in texas. you can think of a certain spot in austin that is just filled with them.
and what is this yellow box? why, it’s a parking system. you park in a numbered slot, and then stuff your money into a slit. and when the parking guy checks the box, there better be money in the slit with the number with your car, or else you will be towed.
take parking seriously in america. tow trucks are always always happy to take your car away.
galveston is also an important port for cruise ships. lots of cruises depart here. also lots of industrial stuff going on here, which does not make for a very pretty scene. is that an oil platform? why yes it is.
and then you drive back to houston. you’re struck by the highway systems… it really is something you forgot that existed. multiple bridges crossing each other going in all sorts of directions. if you don’t pay attention and miss a lane change you can easily end up somewhere else.
that is the always most important thing, wherever you are.