Posts Tagged ‘texas culture’

I am continually amazed at what I am finding out about Texas culture. I consider myself an observer of such things, the thrill of travel for me has distilled down to a fascination of the people who surround me wherever I go. After all, what’s new about the major cities of the world now they’ve all begun to resemble one another? In the shadow of glass and steel towers that are linked together with brand name shopping malls, Golden Arches and the ubiquitous mermaid logo of Starbucks, it’s the people who are left that interest to me. A Grande Starbucks Soy Decaf Latte I can get anywhere.

I have seen enough ruined piles of old rocks and cave paintings to last me two lifetimes. I admit to loving the great museums of the world but I’m starting to lose my place in the universe wondering why a a particular Matisse or Van Gogh has traveled farther than I have, given our combined age and jaded aspect. The effects of western culture on international civilization is cliche…and yes… boring. I ask myself, why would I go to Dubai or Kuala Lumphur to look at glass towers that bore me to death at home?

What I travel for is to immerse myself in diverse cultures and learn to appreciate what I feel. I came to Texas expecting certain stereotypes to exist..and yes I found them…but upon closer inspection I found so much more….deep in the heart of these fine and generous people. Like everywhere else you have to keep an open mind or you’ll keep expecting nothing but muggers in New York, prostitutes in Thailand, robots in Switzerland and goofy drunks in Russia, these stereotypes are perversions of the truth not facts about the people who live there. The same is true for Texas.

Leftist media outlets hate Texas for it’s independence of thought away from the central party ideology on specific popular issues, rich Hollywood barks in response, but is what you’ve heard true? And seriously, if you’ve ever met any number of actors and spoken to them about big picture issues you would know they aren’t the ‘go to’ people for intellectual quality.

Is Texas full of wife beater wearing scary rednecks and yodeling cowboys on horseback? Not at all. The media has painted Texas with a wide brush after never having set foot on the ground….that observation is obvious to me because of the wildly off-color assertions against the people here that I have personally found to be untrue. As they say in Texas, “You can put your boots in the oven and call them biscuits, but that don’t make them tasty”.

The one thing Texan’s actually do appreciate is culture, in the build up to the Texas Independence Day on March 2nd, I am finding music venues everywhere, for big named bands and small, it’s hard to go anywhere with hearing Texas music. There are venues for poetry readings and an old time tradition, story telling, brought to a fine art in the open air. Did you know that Texas has state wide funding for artists housing? Some things…you have to see for yourself. Texas is one of them.

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Where do you find the real Texan culture? Shopping malls are ubiquitous, sports centers like Cowboy Center and Ranger Stadium are magnets for tourists. There is no doubt that Six Flags Over Texas amusement park is spectacular. So where do the Texans, who have been to all of the above spend their free time? What we have discovered is that Texans love open markets, traders villages, flea markets and the cavernous street side bazaars housing hundreds of vendors, some with themes..like Harry Hines Bazaar or Latina where the goods and food courts are primarily Mexican , to Sam Moons Wholesale style strip mall where international is the name of the game. Ask around, these are everywhere….and cheap….don’t get me started.

A lot of open markets are calendar and weather dependent…but be at the right place on a good day and you’ll have thousands of vendors show up and a variety of goods to shuttle through that has no comparison anywhere in the world. There are also plenty of indoor markets, so don’t fret if the sunshine isn’t perfect, although Texas weather is usually pretty good…especially if I compare it to Canada….winter in Dallas is better than summer in Vancouver..hands down.

Its in the markets that you’ll meet the real Texan, good hearted , sweet, open and honest. The culture of open markets began 200 years ago when centers were located that people could bring their trade goods to from the far flung farms and ranches and the isolated communities that pepper this huge state. The market vibe is as alive today as it was back then. The history is fantastic, the people willing to take the time to talk about it. Trisha and I spend our weekends traveling from one market to the next….never running out of towns to visit and trails to follow. My favorite open markets so far has been the Canton First Monday Market…McKinney Second Monday Market, Waxahachi and Traders Village in Grand Prairie west of Arlington.

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