Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flying and Fort Worth

My 4-day trip to Texas has come and gone and not surprisingly, it was rather too short. Still, I managed to see 5 pro games, including a Toronto win, and part of an amateur affair as well, so it was time well spent. But I did a few things other than sports.

Flying to DFW via DTW

First I want to talk about flying, which is a topic I have touched on in the past. Aviation consistently receives a bad rap in the U.S. but all of my flights this trip were completely without incident. I flew via Detroit both times as it was the least expensive option given my late booking and I was concerned about delays causing me to miss the connecting flight. But it was as smooth as could be, the airports were clean and security lines moved quickly despite it being Thanksgiving, and I found the Delta flight attendants friendly and professional. I also found my fellow passengers seemed to be experienced travelers, which makes things a bit easier on everybody. There is nothing more frustrating than watching someone hold up the boarding process as they try to stuff an oversized suitcase into the overhead bin. All in all, a good trip and evidence that the US airlines and airports are not the dinosaurs they are often made out to be.

Fort Worth

The second topic is the less famous city in the DFW area, Fort Worth. It is the 16th-largest city in the US, but is overshadowed by Dallas and Arlington, home of the four major league sports teams. On my previous trip here, I toured only Dallas, seeing the 6th Floor Museum and Reunion Tower. I did catch an independent league ballgame in Fort Worth but no tourist attractions.

So I made sure to stop by Fort Worth this time. The jet lag still had me up early, so I first stopped at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. It was open early on Black Friday and offers a large garden center that you can wander around for free. Given that it was late fall, there wasn't much in bloom, but it was a quiet getaway with fresh air, something I don't get in Tokyo very often.

There's also a Japanese garden that I did not check out, as well as a small conservatory for $1. I just spent an hour outside enjoying the relative peace (there is a highway that runs just south of the garden and you can hear the drone of traffic as you approach).

A rose garden lies at one end of the garden center, but again there were few fully formed flowers due to the season. Still, a nice way to start the day and well worth a visit if you are in town.

After lunch at In-N-Out (yes, they have expanded to Texas!) I went over to the Kimbell Art Museum to check out the Caravaggio exhibition.

This exhibition was the reason I was visiting this area in the first place. It was initially shown at the National Gallery in Ottawa, and my parents told me about it after they went to see it. I would have liked to have seen it but was unable to make it home during its limited run. When I found out it would also be in Fort Worth, I checked the hockey and football schedules and saw the Leafs would be in town the day after Thanksgiving, and presto, a sports road trip was born.

Woman Addressing the Public: Project for a Monument by Miro

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition itself, but it was fantastic, with paintings arranged by topic over 8 rooms. A free audio guide was distributed and really added to the presentation.

There is also a permanent collection in which you can take pictures, below is an early Monet, "The Cape de la Hève at Low Tide".

The Great Divide

Finally, I think this photo summarizes America in 2011. In a Walmart parking lot, you are encouraged to help keep prices low, while the biggest and most expensive stadium in the land sits just across the street.



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