Texas, Good customer service on an airline (!!), Seattle, and Sens in 6
I’ve had some travels the past couple of weeks. The week before last I went to San Antonio for some customer meetings and then up to Richardson (in Dallas) for some other customer meetings. It was my first time in San Antonio, but I’d spent some time in Dallas in my Nokia days.
If you’ve never been, San Antonio is a really nice city. In the downtown there is an area near the Alamo called the River Walk. Basically it’s a narrow river with long boats and a cobble walkway and a ton of funky and nice and touristy little restaurants/pubs/eatery’s along it. As it’s in a bit of a valley and surrounded by a near canopy of greenery, it makes for a really nice little area to check out. It would have been real nice to go there with Ruth on a non-business trip, but it was good none the less. Had a nice big texas steak there too, which was cool. And I saw the Alamo. I was tempted to pull an Ozzy and piss on it, but then I thought I might get shot or worse…this is texas after all, and unlike Ozzy, I have neither body guards nor the money to buy myself out of trouble. Plus, it just really wouldn’t have been 1: fun or 2: interesting to do.
The meeting in San Antonio went excitingly well, and after a bite to eat we hopped in a rental car for a drive up to Dallas. We had originally planned a meeting in Austin, which is between Dallas and San Antonio, hence the drive up instead of flying. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from San Antonio to Richardson on one freeway and it was pretty ok…it was very much like driving from Calgary to Edmonton, actually…flat and farmish. Except you get to drive past Austin and Waco. I really wanted to stop into Austin to check out some of the music scene there, but time just didn’t allow for it.
In Dallas we went out for some tex mex eats where I had one of the best Margarita’s i’ve ever had as well as the definite best beef Fajita i’ve ever had. The meat was like butter…total melt in your mouth action. The meetings were pretty awesome and then it was off to the airport for the grand trip back to Vancouver. The Dallas airport rates as one of the top 2 or 3 for things to do that i’ve been to. We had a flight booked thru Phoenix which would have gotten us back to Vancouver around 11, but for some reason the flight was cancelled! Oh Noes! It appeared that our options were going to be 1: Stay the night, or 2: catch a flight through Las Vegas that got us home around 1:30 AM. Yuck. But, in the end, US Air ended up putting us on a different flight via American Airlines that got us home by 8:30 on a direct flight! Are you kidding me??? An airline making a situation better instead of worse????? Say it ain’t so!!! It was so. Good on US Air for making me happy instead of grumpy. I can honestly say that’s never happened to me before. I’m a fan now.
A couple of things of note from my drive north across a portion of texas:
1: There are no helmet laws for motorcyclists. We passed one dude in a tee shirt, shorts, no helmet, and no fairing (sp?) on a harley on the freeway. Dude had sunglasses on so he could see, but man…he had his mouth gritted shut something fierce. His jaw must have hurt! A couple miles past him we went thru not one, but two different swarms of wasps. Seriously…like a thousand of them all of a sudden in front of you, several of which are yellow and black mush on your windscreen after you pass them. That must have been ugly for mr. bare faced biker when he went thru that…at 60 miles an hour a wasp to the chin could probably near knock you out!
2: We passed an accident on the freeway. An ambulance went by us on the left and then we came around the corner to traffic starting to snarl. It just so happened that the 4×4 in front of us decided to jump the ditch onto a little service road next to the freeway, and at that particular point it wasn’t actually a ditch. So we followed him. Good thing we did too…by a quarter mile later the ambulance had pulled over too and was passing us on the service road. A quarter of a mile after that there was a deep ditch between the freeway and our little service road. A mile past that was the accident…the perfect storm of accidents. Some dude in a truck with a U-haul had been spun sideways and was blocking the whole road! We’d probably still be in that traffic jam if we hadn’t ducked out to the side.
The weekend after that trip was a long weekend here in Canada, so Ruth and I decided to head to Seattle for a couple days. She’d never been and I hadn’t been for a while, so we loaded up the car and away we went. Although the weather wasn’t the best, it was awesome none the less. We couldn’t find a hotel in Seattle proper online for some reason, so we decided to stay in Bellevue instead. I’ve never actually been to Bellevue, so I thought it might be cool to check out and it is pretty close to the city. We got a fairly inexpensive room at a Courtyard by Marriott, and set out exploring the area a bit. We found this crazy massive shopping center so we went there to look around and find some food. IT was kinda cloudy and icky outside so it seemed like a good way to spend some time.
While in the mall we noticed a couple things that caught our eye: a Ruth’s Chris steak house which Ruth recognized from Toronto, and a Cheesecake Factory, which we both recognized from…well from being cheesecake fans were both within a block of where we had parked. We decided to go to the steakhouse for dinner and then grab dessert at the Cheesecake place. Our dinner, although good, was not quite as great as the price would indicate it should be. Ruth had a tenderloin steak that had alot more gristle and fat than one expects in a tenderloin (specially one for 40 bucks plus). It was good, just…that part kind of put a damper on the evening. My steak was fine tho, and the veggies we got with them were pretty awesome. We did mention the bad tenderloin to the waiter, and within about 45 seconds the manager was at our table offering us free dessert, which was nice. Since we were going for cheesecake we politely declined, but I must admit I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get the bad steak removed from our bill. It’s not the money, it’s the service aspect. Ah well…their loss, not mine.
We left the fancy restaurant and walked over to the cheesecake which was packed at 8:30 on a Saturday night (go figure). After waiting in line for a while we ordered our slices of cheesecake to go from an exceptionally friendly and professional hostess/server, and took them home to the hotel. I had a chocolate thing of some kind and it was fantastic; a perfect ending for a pretty cool day. We watched a movie and went to sleep for the night; tomorrow we were off to downtown seattle to see the sites.
We drove across this crazy bridge and all of a sudden were downtown in Seattle. I drove past the EMP so Ruth could take pictures of the funky architecture and the Space Needle. We didn’t feel we had the time on this trip to do the EMP tour or any of that, so I just drove by and we headed for Pike Place Market. There she took some pictures, we ate some macaroni and cheese, we went to the very first starbucks to take pictures for her friends back home and she looked at flowers. I’ve always kinda dug Pike’s market, although I’m not sure why…it’s not like I’ve ever found the perfect place to hang there or shop at or anything…but I just like the energy there.
After walking around the market for a while we drove up to Broadway, which is kind of similar to Commercial drive in Vancouver…it has funky shops and restaurants and cafe’s and you can find interesting things there. I almost bought myself a PVC jacket and pants, but that’s a whole other story for another day and another forum…muahahaha. Anyways we walked around the area and looked at some funky things and then it was time to head home. I bought some cheap gas, we hit an outlet mall and the biggest Walmart i’ve ever seen to pick up a couple of things we needed, and then the hour long drive to the border. Well, hour and a half, with traffic. We got to the border quick enough, but it took us the better part of 3 hours to get across…which was atrocious considering we went back Sunday, not Monday which was the real end of the holiday weekend. But it was ok…the time goes by quickly when you’re with someone you enjoy being with 🙂 .
So tonight game one of the Stanley Cup finals begins. Wheeeeee!!!! I can’t help but pick Ottawa in 6, and I’ve been pretty close all playoff seasons in my predictions. Although, Vancouver and the New York Islanders let me down pretty harshly. Although Giguere is playing awesome right now for Anaheim, I just can’t see them being able to stop that offensive machine that Ottawa has. And Ray Emery (lol I almost called him Marc Emery, who is a marijuana activist in Vancouver) is no slouch in net either. I think Ottawa’s defense may be a bit stronger than Anaheim is used to as well. Pronger is pretty awesome, but one defenseman and one goalie do not a stanley cup make. Anaheim’s shut-down line is going to be harsh tested against the Ottawa top line too.
Anyways, I believe Anaheim will win tonight, then 3 in a row for Ottawa, then one and one. That’s my guess.