Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Great Pretenders

Patrick will tell you, as much as he loves me, that I can be a super mean wife. 
About a month ago I planned a Saturday packed with fun to celebrate our anniversary, and told him there was a surprise in store. Then I taunted him with my secret for 30 whole days. He interprets this as "mean". I say it's a build up of anticipation in an age where surprises are almost extinct. 
I'd decided since we usually go on a trip to celebrate each year of marriage, but were staying local this year, it would be just as much fun to pretend to be tourists and enjoy some sites of the city we normally don't make the time to see.
We started off the morning by stopping at Rusty Taco and getting breakfast to go, so we could eat it outside at the Klyde Warren Park. 
Resting on a very popular bridge over the Woodall Rogers Freeway, this billion dollar open space is a beautiful addition to the city where people gather for yoga, walks, food trucks, outdoor concerts, and letting their kids play in the water features.  
Ironically both stimulating and calming in it's unique setting, the park makes it easy to kick back, relax, and enjoy the botanical garden. 
I kinda feel like a I need to show off what Patrick got me in my favorite color.......I didn't even know he knew what Chaco's were!!!
Next on the list was an out of the box sightseeing adventure, which I thought was ruined a day before, when the company called to re-confirm our reservations and Patrick answered the phone (but he swore he still had no idea what we were doing). 
Oh wait.....is that a food truck full of design your own homemade ice-cream sandwiches made from real cookies???? Maybe just a little pit stop wont hurt. 
We were running a little late to our reservation, which had absolutely nothing to do with getting ice-cream (hello no actual sign on the outside of the building, limited parking, and the inside space looking suspiciously empty and under construction), but it turned out to work in our favor. 
Two more people showed up after us, and since 4 of us were late, the extra tour guide just split the group in half, so we basically got a private tour after our lessons. The very cool thing about Segways, is the technology that stimulates the motor to move forward when you put your weight in your toes,  backwards when you put your weight in your heels, and from side to side or in circles depending on which way you tilt your handle bars. It felt a little awkward at first, but we were regular old dare devil's by the time the tour ended!
I'm a big fan of guided tours because the more knowledge we have about what we're looking at, the more we can appreciate them. I've seen the Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive outside of the Convention Center several times before, but had no idea the statues were completely made of bronze, and cost so many millions of dollars, half of which was donated or raised by the community!!!
It represented a time before the Chisholm trail, when longhorns were herded north through Austin, Waco, and Dallas. 
Did you know that the City Hall, designed as an upside down triangle back in the day to provide shade on sunny days as it's employees walked into work, was featured in Robo Cop because it looked so futuristic, and even the show Walker Texas Ranger??
It was meant to portray beauty and quality of life in a time when Dallas was being severally hated on after JFK's assassination. 
Built in the 1912, the Adolphus hotel (the pretty one with intricate details and turquoise top) was the tallest building in Texas at the time, with 22 floors, and a earned reputation of flair and fancy. Of course it would soon be trumped by the Mongolia Building (next door with the Pegasus topper), but that's they way it goes in the game of architecture.  (I believe it was somewhere around this time that Patrick started getting a little cocky with his newfound Segway skills and in the midst of weaving through a ton of sidewalk trees ended up having to bail ship and roll the Segway into a little ditch in order to avoid hitting a tree trunk!)
The Main Street Garden Park was gorgeously quaint, and I hear is done up really nice during the holidays. It took over 17 million dollars to demolish the old buildings and parking garages that once inhabited this space. Wow!!! Another tid bit of info: Across the street is a hotel where Tina Turner had one of her famous fights with Ike. 
Thanksgiving Square was designed to show Dallas welcomes all denominations of people despite it's reputation, with a common denominator of being thankful. (Insert incident where I try to get off my Segway for a picture and do a couple of awkward hopping 360's in the process because my right hand unknowingly is tilting the handlebars and my right foot is still on the foot pad and the tour guide is trying to coach me out of the situation while everyone laughs at me.)
The mosaic piece of "The Golden Rule" is amazing up close and personal, and when you stand inside the gold plated aluminum ring and talk or yell (meant for your thanks), your words echo back to you as if you were inside a megaphone, yet sounds completely normal to outside bystanders. 
Nestled at the feet of the blue glass business buildings of down town is the brand spanking new edition of the First Baptist Church, complete with an every 15 minute orchestrated hymn and fountain show. 
Did you know Dallas has the largest Arts District in the United States?
With 68 acres of land packed with several Museums (some free), performing arts, and visual arts, I guess Patrick and I should do a better job of exploring the venues! 
I've seen Fountain Place from afar, but standing at it's base is a totally different view with levels upon levels of flowing water with cypress trees decorating the ground here and there. I'd love to see it during the week when the fountains are actually active. 
I look like a natural, don't you think?
Look, no hands!!!!
As the 6th Courthouse built in Dallas, and the 5th on this particular site, dating back to the late 1800's the Old Red Courthouse is one of the oldest buildings still standing. A pretty penny was spent to compose it of red sandstone due it's mostly fireproof nature, which paid off, since all the other courthouses have since burned down. 
The cool part?? You can see dark smoke stains on the outside of the windows from it's fiery battles. It's a survivor. 
Next to the Dealey Plaza Park is the Dallas County Administration building, also known as the building harboring the window (6th floor, far right, looks like it's halfway open) where JFK's assassin fired his deadly shots. 
Down the street is the Grassy Knoll, with eery X's on the street marking the spot.
The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial was designed as an open tomb to free his spirit, "a place of quiet refuge, an enclosed place of thought and contemplation separated from the city around, but near the sky and earth". During a time when so many serious things where happening in our world, it was meant to be a welcoming place of reflection. 
As soon as we closed the doors to the car, the wind dramatically picked up, blowing fall leaves all through the streets, shortly followed by gigantic rain drops falling from the sky. The clouds quickly darkened, and by the time we made it to the highway, it was raining cats and dogs outside. A humid and sticky morning's bottom had broken in just the nick of time for our tour to finish, but a little early for us to still enjoy the outdoor lunch I had planned, so we drove home instead. 
...........Which turned out to be a blessing, because after a morning like that, me and my purple flower were ready for a nap! (At least one of the puppy's are always ready to cuddle for some couch time.


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