Sunshine and swimming pools. It sounds like a phrase from a brochure doesn’t it? For most travelers, this is the reality of dealing with Dallas. When it is as hot as it is here these days, the strategy is to stay cool and out of the direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day. Fortunately, the humidity is relatively low right now.
We’re enjoying what you can call a ‘dry heat’. I have been to the desert elsewhere and I would describe this ‘dry heat’ phenomena as a scirrocco, the kind that desiccates the bodies of any who fall prey to the heat leaving nothing but a shriveled mummified husk poking out of the sand.
Getting around here would be a challenge for anyone who hasn’t rented a car. Dallas has been designed around the automobile. If you were to look at a map of the city you would see that the city is criss crossed with freeways and off ramps accessing the various districts.
To be fair this is a typical urban design that one finds throughout the United States. Because of the distances traveled between points in the city and it’s ubiquitous suburbs, the car is a necessity of life. Public transportation outside the downtown core can not be relied on to be a viable alternative.
The car is king in Dallas. Having said that, it is a very well laid out city and very easy to find your way around on the freeway system. Every address is punctuated by the freeway exit it has proximity to. Literally everything is either on one side of the freeway or the other. Looking beyond the politics of urban transport, the car culture is very much a part of the Texan lifestyle, distances around the state are enormous.
Texans, like most Americans, are highly mobile. People in the United States think nothing of traveling from state to state for lifestyle and employment. I have rarely met people here who have put down roots where they were themselves born and remain there for life, that’s not the American way. That’s a nice thing about American culture is that they feel a sense of belonging to the entire country and not just some regional and social alliance. As a Canadian I can attest to the fact that in Canada it is entirely the opposite. In Canada the national enforcement of multiculturalism has created a tapestry of ethnic ghetto’s from which few newcomers escape inside their generation.
The Texan culture is strong. People are extremely proud to be from Texas. People are undeniably happy here, friendly and amicable, as if hospitality is at the root of the Texan social structure. I have seldom experienced a place where people are so genuinely and consistently open and honest with the social fashion of greetings. I have to say that the Texas style of overt direct politeness is refreshing. It’s the way I remember Canada was when I was a child in the 1950’s, sadly no more.
(to be cont’d)