Work has brought me and my friend Alvaro to Texas again. We spent three days in Dallas-Forth Worth and a day in Houston.

Fort Worth (AKA “Cow Town”) is the 16th most populated city in the USA (and the 5th in Texas). 

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We stayed at the Hilton. They have a large breakfast buffet ($9.95), free wifi, kids indoor swimming pool and gym, and a shuttle van that will take you (and pick you up) anywhere within 3 miles. Pretty cool.

Religion is everywhere: in our room, we had the typical “recycle, conserve energy”, “we hope you have a nice stay” pamphlets and flyers, along with a prayer! That’s a first (and I have been to many religious and fundamentalist countries). Near the hotel you have Bible University, Texas Christian University, and a LOT of churches. Almost as many as fast food joints… and strip clubs. Not so surprising, I guess.

On Friday night, after meeting with our customers for a while (they are a group of very nice people), we came back to the hotel and had dinner next door at Torchy’s Tacos.

Saturday, after a long day of work, one of our customers took us in his pick-up truck (“people drive this here, even if they don’t need it“), through the Western-wear stores and knickknack shops, saloons and steak houses that occupy the Old West–era buildings of the Stockyards to “the world’s largest Honky Tonk”: Billy Bob’s Texas.

After a little trouble at the entrance with my expired NY ID, and my smart-mouth telling the gorilla at the door “the ID might have expired a month ago, but if you are checking for age proof, I do not believe I have gotten 20 years younger since” which got me a look equivalent to a boot in the mouth, I finally made it in. What an amazing experience! Rodeo, TexMex dinner, pool tables, bars, and country music concert… all at once under one 100,000 sq-ft roof! It was packed (many teenagers). And at least half of the guys were wearing cowboy boots and hats.

The band playing was Turnpike Troubadours. As our customer said “they have a good fiddler; if you have a good fiddler, you have a good band“. And they sold t-shirts that said “shit-kicking music” (and proud of it, I guess).

The walls were plastered with autographed hand-imprinted concrete blocks, guitars, and hamburger buns (yes, that’s right, hamburger buns). Of course, aside a few exceptions (like BB King or Ringo Star) we had never heard of those country howlin’ performers.

What struck me the most was the fully packed dance floor. A lot of teenagers doing the 2step. No flashy moves, no Facebook posing group self-portraits, no celebrity sightseeing, no fancy cocktails… this ain’t New York. Just couples, beer in hand, swirling around.  

Sunday after a few hours of work from the hotel and lunch at Salsa Limón (with a funny bathroom sign made with Legos), and as a strong contrast and detox, we went to see “Start Trek Into Darkness” in an Omni IMAX Dome Theater (pure awesomeness!) for $10.50 (less than half than in New York), at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, right next to the National Cowgirl Museum and the Willy Rogers Memorial Rodeo Center, in the Cultural District.

Upon returning to our hotel, we stopped at a place with a sign that said “food / groceries”. But, we should have known better by now: only beer, wine, chips and cookies. So we ordered Chinese delivered to our hotel, and went to sleep (early morning flight to Houston, where they have a statue of a cow in a space suit in the airport).

There were things that we did not have time to do, but might the next time we come back: Sundance sq., Kimbell Art museum (“the country’s best ‘small’ art museum”), Spiral Dinner and Bakery…