We rode the DART rail down to the West End Marketplace area in Dallas yesterday. I had never ridden Dallas' train, though I love such things, so it was a "thrill" for me. The drive is only 25 miles or so, but it was nice to trade the stress of parking and freeways for the comfort of a sedate railride. I love the way that trains show one the things behind the facades--the backs of buildings, the hidden trees. They remind me how much is on the surface, and how much more comfortable I am with what's behind the surfaces.
From our disembarkment at our final destination, it was only a matter of short blocks to our goal, the Dallas World Aquarium. I had never been to this new private affair. It is located in an older red brick building, what I might call a "vintage C grade" building, but inside it is simply marvellous. They have a great huge portion of the building converted into a "rain forest" modelled on the Oricono, with primates, birds (including the swinging toucan), jungle vegetation and a waterfall. Unlike some zoos, which disquiet me by putting large things in small spaces, almost everything was nicely spaced and done. Only the huge crocodiles looked a bit too crowded in to me. Perhaps the manatees needed more space, too, but they looked palpably content. Manatees have a serenity about them which is inhuman but so understandable (and desirable) to humans. The marmosets and tamarins (tamarinds? I mean the primate, not the fruit) were small and enchanting. This museum was well done. So much can be done with a little inspiration, which this zoo had in triplicate.
They also had tanks of traditional aquariums, including one filled with those wonderful leafy sea dragons. The jellyfish looked like art pieces in their darkened tank. We had a grand time.
I would like to open an aquarium of ordinary fish. I think of that Michael Moore satiric piece on towns trying to revitalize their decrepit downtowns with public aquariums. The Michigan folks who owned up that their "native fish" emphasis was a bit misplaced, because, well, fish in Michigan are drab, is priceless.
Still, I would want an aquarium with tons of tanks but no really exotic fish, like a cool pet store, except nothing's for sale. I'd also like an ant museum. I think right now I'll stick with a weblog.
I have a vice I am not sure I have kept secret from my journal, but which I will now reveal. I love college football. It is virtually the only sport which "grabs" me. On Saturday, my beloved Arkansas Razorbacks were playing the University of Texas. Now Arkansas and Texas played each year when I was a kid, and Texas was Arkansas' "big game". By contrast, Arkansas was not Texas' "big game", such honor being accorded to both the Oklahoma and Texas A & M games. But the Texas game was the one chance to try to show our charming little state had something to say in the face of our larger,economically more successful, needlessly brash and disrespectful opponent. Arkansas people and Texas people are not so different, really, but to Arkansas people, the difference is HUGE.
The two teams don't play in the same conference anymore, and had not played a game since 2000, when Arkansas won in the Cotton Bowl.
But this year, for old time's sake, they were scheduled. I was just sitting Saturday in the Sonny Bryan's bbq restaurant (very tasty, thank ye), bragging to my wife and her sisters what a good family-oriented person I was for skipping the televised version of that game to socialize with my kin, when I noticed it was on, and Arkansas was winning! I watched for a few moments (not opposed to having my cake and eating it, too), but then we went on to the train. It was fun, that anticipation--did Arkansas win?
We ate pasta last night at a deeply late hour, in a nice non-chain pasta place with an utterly charming "waitress by night, cosmetology studen by day" who reminded me of a younger and much more attractive Natalie Merchant (except, unlike every time I used to see Natalie in concert, she neither spun round and round while holding one finger in her ear near the monitor, nor complained about clove cigarette smoke). I love to see people on the threshold of lives--she clearly is excited about being in personal hair care.
I cannot imagine giving anyone a haircut. But who knows? Maybe all my personal imperfections would be cured and I would discover true inner healing if I could only do highlights.
This place insisted, as is charming, to do all food from scratch after it is ordered. I personally, though, will forego charm in search of a plate full of food. I love that European idea of a meal as an event, to be lingered over and savored. I also love a plate of hot spaghetti, in the same eon I order it.
The end of the antenna on my shortwave broke, but Radio Beijing still wanted to reassure me that they were respecting Tibetan culture.
I stayed up late last night, fueled by interest and diet Coke. More sleep tonight!