Montag, 26. Mai 2008

Texas Rangers shopping at a private party

Thursday, May 01st 2008

Again another slow morning. This day was going to be a special day for Bear. Bear and OP were invited to a suite at the Rangers ballpark in Arlington to watch a game of the Texas Rangers. OP has a friend, Jonathon, whose father ownes a suite there and sells Baseball Diamonds, custom made jewelery. This is why Bear and OP were allowed to come in that day and so Bear could watch its first live Baseball from a suite. It was a big suite with huge comfy chairs and sofas and a big telly. One could either watch the game on that telly or go out onto the balcony and watch the game from there. Or one could go around in the stadium and watch it from anywhere. Bear and OP also got some free food and drinks there. Bear thought such a suite is a nice thing. OP's friend Jon was very gentleman-like and asked Bear if it needed anything and if he could bring Bear anything.
Everyone told Bear to be prepared for a very long game - probably about 3-4 hours or even longer. Also did they tell Bear that the Rangers had not won for quite a while and maybe won't this day either. So, actually everyone did tell Bear that it might not enjoy itself. But Bear did. Bear likes Baseball.So they sat on the balcony for some while and OP tried to explain the rules of the game to Bear. Lots of rules in Baseball. Bear did not understand them all but tried. Bear did understand one rule: stealing the base. And suddenly Bear realised: *That is the reason for the really long games!* Bear just wondered why nobody else had that idea before?!
Jon also gave Bear and OP binoculars and they talked to a nice couple who were sitting next to them. OP always told everyone that it was Bear's first time in the stadium. The whole ten days everything was always the first time for Bear... Anyway, after watching the game for a while from the balcony, OP asked Bear if they wanted to wander around a bit. So they got their free tickets (if you're in a suite, one needs to get some tickets to be able to leave the building - where the suites are - and re-enter it to be able to go to the tiers), Jon asked OP once more if he remembered the rules ("be back before some inning" - forgot which one) and off they went. Before re-entering the building on the other side, they had a cigarette and then went around. Underneath the tiers there were booths with food and drinks and souveniers. Bear quite liked the earrings with the Texas Rangers' "T" on them, but Bear thought they were too expensive. On the other hand, Bear should have bought them, they were really nice and Bear couldn't find them anywhere else anymore. That's what OP called the "Vatican Syndrome": if you see something you like, get it and don't think you might come back or get it somewhere else, because you won't. True.
Bear and OP went around, Bear took some pictures, until they were at the seats right behind the catcher. They asked a security guy if they were allowed in and have a seat (as there were not too many people around anyway) and he told them he would make a picture of OP and Bear if they wanted to. After that picture Bear and OP sat down and Bear wanted to take some more pictures as everyone around suddenly stood up. So Bear decided to take some pictures of the audience instead when OP suddenly told Bear that the game was over. The Rangers scored and so the whole thing only lasted about two hours. And Bear hadn't payed attention! Because Bear was watching the audience instead. BUT the Texas Rangers won. Actually the Rangers did win for the whole week Bear was in Texas. Call it what you want, but Bear seemed to be a good luck charm for the Rangers...

Bear and OP went back to the suite where Jon was already cleaning. They stayed watching Jon working, talked to his father, had some more food and decided to get Jon to the garage to get his car later.
At the garage they had to wait for some time because Jon's car was not ready yet. So OP decided to let them do something on the Mystery Machine aswell - there was time enough. Jon showed Bear a gameboy game called "Pita Pong" or "Pongo Ping" or "Pita Pata" or whatever - Bear can't remember. When Bear read some magazines in Spanish about Texas' men and women (No, Bear can't read nor speak Spanish), OP played that game. Bear was a bit bored. Then three friends of Jon's arrived. And so it was six people waiting for the car getting ready.
All of them were OP's ex-students and all of them 18-20 years old. The girls first were a bit uncertain and reserved towards Bear, but not for a long time. They did then ask what nearly everyone asked Bear when they found out that Bear was European: if there was a big difference between Texas and Europe, if Bear liked Texas, if Bear could live in Texas, if Bear had already been to the US before, ... And they also told Bear that it had an accent - kinda British but not quite. Bear took that as a compliment. Better than having a German accent.

Finally the cars were ready. Jon and the girls asked wether Bear and OP would like to join them going to the mall. Bear wanted to visit a proper American mall anyway, so they decided Jon would lead in his car and the girls and OP would follow in their cars. Well, that was the plan. Jon obviously did some illegal turn somewhere and of course the girls and OP did not do that too, so they lost him. The girls turned round, OP followed - and lost them. But of course OP did find his way and arrived wayyy before the girls did. When Bear and OP arrived at the parking lot, Jon sat in the rear of his truck, eating the pasta he brought from the ballpark with chopsticks.
They had to wait quite a while for the girls who had obviously lost their way completely. Finally they arrived, having a few bites of the pasta aswell and then they all went off to the mall. There was an ice-rink inside and the whole mall was pretty huge. It was not very different to the malls in Austria, but of course a lot bigger. If Bear had been alone, it would have lost its way after the first turn. They went into a funny shop with lots of punky and gothy clothes in it and Bear found a T-Shirt that said: "I don't have ADD, I just ... oh look, a bunny rabbit". Bear loved that shirt! Bear should have bought it.
They wandered around a bit more until they found a souvenir shop for Bear called "Texas Treasures" where Bear bought some magnets and postcards. Later on Bear got caught by a girl that had a booth for cremes and things and who put some creme on Bear's hands and did something to one of Bear's nails which made it really shiny. Of course that girl wanted Bear to buy one of these things, but Bear didn't. Although Bear just couldn't say "No, thank you" and leave. That girl also told Bear that Bear had very beautiful eyes. Funny because that girl itself was extremely pretty and had lovely black eyes. She was from Israel which OP guessed within the first minute, so while she caressed Bear's hand they talked about Israel. Finally Bear had the guts to leave.

Bear was told that the plan was to go to Amber's place because she had just got her own flat and wanted to show it to them. So they all went to their cars and headed off to Ambers. Amber had two cats, a huge fury one called "Fuzzy" and a small one called "BeeBee". Bear immediately fell in love with Fuzzy. Bear loves huge cats. Bear also got to see some real yearbooks and when a few others arrived Bear managed to take a picture of someone carrying a beercan wrapped in a brown bag. Since one is not allowed to drink alcohol in the American public, one has to wrap it in a brown paper bag. Just like you always see it in the movies. Well, it's true. It was a long night. People were really nice. There was a lot to drink and a lot to talk. At one point in the night they got really philosophical. But at that time Bear couldn't follow the conversation anymore. It was way past Bear's bedtime. But it would take a lot more time until Bear and OP finally did drive home... But that's another story :-)

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2008

Chuck Norris winning pool billard

Wednesday, May 30th 2008

Another slow morning. Bear and OP spent quite some time on the patio (p.a.t.i.o. - Bear is in love with that word) talking about life and God - literally.
In the afternoon they made their way back to downtown Fort Worth to walk around the other part of it. Bear needed to see the court house which is always in the opening scene of the TV-series "Walker Texas Ranger". Actually Bear wanted to see some real Texas Rangers but OP told Bear that it was more likely to see Chuck Norris himself than a Texas Ranger... Bear saw neither. Only the court house.

Check out Chuck Norris facts in German and in English. - Enjoy!!

Bear and OP wandered around a bit in that area and again Bear wondered where all the people were. Deserted streets. Very rarely a car and here and there one could spot a person. It seemed as if they themselves were not sure if they were allowed to walk on the streets or not. Ok, it was Wednesday afternoon, so people might have been at work, but hey, everywhere else in the world one would still see other people out on the streets. Not in Fort Worth. Fort Worth is deserted.

OP took Bear to a bar which some time ago used to be a different place where OP once played with his band. It does look a bit posh now, but very nice. It had a nice bar on the roof top which lots of plants around and Bear thought this was a really nice place. Bear and OP had a beer. Of course. And OP told Bear about the place. They also started to talk to their waiter - it's very easy to start a conversation with people (waiters, salespersons, any staff,...) in Texas. First of all they always greet you with a "Hi, how are you?", which of course is a phrase, but it makes it so much easier to start a conversation. Especially if you have someone like OP with you who does talk to everyone :-) . Bear and OP had quite a nice chat with that waiter, he was nice and talkative.
After that beer Bear and OP got hungry (or rather OP as Bear hardly ever seemed to be hungry in Texas) and OP took Bear to a Mexican place where Bear again had a salad (probably with some bacon in it) and OP had something with shrimps - something he said he always ate there. OP made Bear have a bite. OP said it was not hot, Bear could trust him. Bear did. Bear had a bite. Bear's eyes were watering. Bear drank a lot of its beer. Of course it got worse. OP found it quite amusing. Bear didn't. Bear told OP that it would never trust him again. It hurt. And so it did for quite some while. That is what Texan people considered not hot.
After the meal OP found someone he knew and went talking to them while Bear waited outside had a cigarette and took some more photos of the nice surroundings. Then they went on strolling around a bit and then headed back home.

Later that night Bear and OP went out. There was a Hockey game on TV and OP wanted to watch it in a Bar. Unfortunately it was nearly at the end when they arrived at the bar. But OP could at least watch a bit of it. They had a beer. And something potatoey. They then decided to change bar and have a couple of pool games. And a couple of beers. Bear was not very happy that day and told OP that it needed to get drunk. And so Bear did. And Bear also won five games out of six. Approximately. But Bear definitely won a few games and OP just one. Ok, Bear sucks at pool billard but enjoys playing it. And Bear only won because OP made some mistakes. But Bear didn't care. Bear won. Bear was tipsy and Bear won a few pool games. Bear's day ended fine.

Logan's running with a gun

Tuesday, May 29th 2008
The only sightseeing-things Bear and OP did, they did on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since it was Bear's and also OP's holiday they started every day slow and relaxed. Also they went out a few times and Bear got to know lots of OP's - really nice! - friends and drove here and there around Fort Worth, so that there was not really lots of time to get out of Fort Worth. Doesn't matter. Bear will definitely come back! (Bear should maybe tell OP about that...)

So on Tuesday OP decided to take Bear downtown Fort Worth because Bear wanted to see the Water Gardens.
Bear read that the movie "Logan's Run" (in German: "Flucht ins 23. Jahrhundert") was partially filmed in malls in Fort Worth and Dallas and one of the last scenes in Fort Worth Water Gardens. That's when they finally make it into the outside world and meet their first elderly person.

Bear and OP rode in the Mystery Machine to downtown Fort Worth; OP explained the buildings they passed to Bear and they parked behind the Water Gardens. Before going into that urban park OP wanted to show Bear a bit around that part of downtown. Fort Worth only has about 5 sky scrapers and Bear likes sky scrapers. That's why Bear took a lot of pictuers of the same ones - it seemed to look different from every angle, though...
Weird thing they realised was that there were nearly no-one on the streets. Well, it was during the week and it was afternoon but still, streets were deserted. Where was everyone?
They wandered around a bit, OP pointed out the convention center and a fountain that had a statue of a lying panther on it. In the 1870ies Fort Worth was economically run-down for various reasons: no cattle, no railroad, decreasing population, ... it was a drowsy place. So drowsy that it made a panther lying asleep in the streets. When Fort Worth recovered economically many organisations called themselves "Panther" - hence "Pantherville" or "Panther City".
OP saw something on the telly that noon about a Cowboyhat-maker in Fort Worth and since Bear was looking for a Cowboyhat for itself and its friend Danielle, he decided to take Bear there. It was a very small store with loads of hats hanging around and at the back one could see how they were made. OP told the woman at the counter that he saw the store on TV earlier and that Bear is from Europe (exotic-Bear). She was very nice and explained things to Bear and OP and let them touch various hats made of various material and Bear was also allowed to take some pictures. Unfortunately Bear thought that as a holiday-pressie that will probably never ever be worn again even the cheapest hats were too expensive and decided not to buy any. Though one must admit that Bear did look good with that pinkish Cowboyhat - a Cowbear!
Btw: it cooled down to 11°C here and my heating is back on - in May! Just thought I'd let you know...
Bear and OP got hungry and went into some sandwich-bar. OP wanted to act a bit healthy and ordered a salad, Bear was as usual not too healthy and had a BLT-Sandwich with crisps (Bear didn't know about the crisps before!!) and a smoothie. Bear just loves bacon, that's why Bear always had a bacon burger or bacon sandwich or bacon... It was a good BLT-Sandwich. OP told Bear that the ones he does himself are the best. So the next day he made one for Bear and of course it was *so much better*!! (No, honestly! It was really good!! But just give Bear anything that contains bacon and Bear'll love it...)
Anyway, after having lunch (what do you call lunch when you have it at about 4pm? dunch? as in dinner+lunch?) Btw: for the non-British-American-food-knowers: BLT-sandwich = bacon, lettuce, tomatoe-sandwich. *yummie*

After that they went on towards the convention center, passed (again) some Methodists (Bear thinks... and is definitely not sure if this is the correct link) who had a ... convention! there. They sold some things in the center - Bear and OP walked through - and they had a preacher somewhere outside preaching (first time Bear saw something like this!). But since this was not too exciting, Bear and OP went on to the Water Gardens and wandered around there. Unfortunately they didn't have all the water running, which would have looked a lot cooler, but it was nice anyway. Apart from being made of concrete. Which is rather unusual for a park. But it was an urban park. So maybe that's why. And there was supposed to be much water running various ways. (Well, down of course, but coming from various sides...) And that would probably be not easy if the park was made of grass and with bushes and trees... anyway. Bear wanted to see it and Bear saw it. And Bear made a lot of pictures. After all Michael York and Peter Ustinov once stood there. Somewhere in there.
After climbing the highest spot, sitting down and looking around a bit for 5mins, Bear and OP headed back to the Mystery Machine and went home. There was a game of Tennis waiting for OP and he didn't want to be too late. Bear watched it for a short while, but got cold at one point and went back to the flat. So Bear never really got who won...

Later that night Bear and OP met Andy the cop for dinner. Andy wanted to take them out for dinner. They went into some place that did look a bit like a diner. Though Bear thinks it wasn't one. But it reminded Bear a wee bit of those. Unfortunately Bear was not very hungry. Bear had only eaten the BLT-sandwich that day (and of course breakfast, since OP made breakfast everyday for Bear) but still. Bear was not hungry. But Bear agreed on having a potatoe soup which was so good!!! Bear loved it. And then Bear decided to go right for the desert. Which was ok, since Bear would not eat a lot anyway during that week. It was some cake-y, white chocolate-y, vanilla-ice-cream-y sort of thing. The white chocolate being in, on and around the cake. It was far too heavy for a dinner desert. And far too much for Bear. But Bear stuffed itself. It was just so good. Bear loved it.
(Another hint to catch a HimBear: bacon and chocolate - not necessarily together)

Bear felt a bit sick after eating that huge thing. Bear couldn't move properly anymore. But on they went to Andy's flat. Where they met Andy's newborn baby. And someone else who shortly afterwards left. It was a relaxed evening. Some beer, some cigarettes, some talking. Until Andy decided to show Bear his gun. Bear first was not too keen on that, but Andy insisted. So Bear followed him to the kitchen where Andy showed Bear a "glock", made in Austria. Andy explained it to Bear and wanted Bear to hold it. Bear didn't want to. Andy told Bear to relax as he had taken every precaution and Bear didn't have to worry, so Bear hold it then. Bear felt uncomfortable. It was heavy. Bear didn't like to hold it. Bear wanted to give it back, but Andy wanted to make a picture what Bear nearly freaked out and Bear said: "No way. Imagine anyone in Austria seeing this!" Bear gave it back and then went back onto the patio (that word!!) had a cigarette, being quite tense and telling OP and Andy's girlfriend that Bear just held a gun for the first time in its life.
So that was that. Another unusual ending for one of Bear's holi-days.

Sonntag, 18. Mai 2008

C'mon cattle! Have a Jalapeno!

Monday, May 28th 2008


Bear wanted to see the cattle at Stockyards. Fort Worth Stockyards is the national historic district where there are lots of Western Stores, a Rodeo place, Billy Bob's Texas and where they drive cattle along the streets twice a day. Hamish the Scottish Highland Coo wanted to see his Texan relatives - and so did Bear.
So Bear and OP headed off to Stockyards in OP's Mystery Machine. Not very many people on the streets there, but at least Bear saw its first Cowboy (or rather someone who wore a Cowboy-hat). They went around a bit, Bear took lots of pictures, read a few signs, talked to OP and then they sat down at the street to wait for the cattle.
There was a Cowboy-cop strolling along - it seemed the cattle-drive would start soon. And then they came. A few Cowboys on horses in front, behind and in between and a few Longhorns . Not many though. But there weren't many people on the streets either.
The Cowboy at the front always said: "Come on, cattle. Come on." And the cattle came. Slowly. Not looking left, not looking right they went along that street - Bear took pictures, Hamish got excited - and that was that. Bear imagined it a bit different. When Bear read about that it sounded like a real exciting thing: Cowboys galopping along, yelling "Yeehaww" and cattle running and mooing...
But anyway, Bear and Hamish got to see their cattle. And impressive horns they do have, Bear (and also Hamish) must admit!

After watching steaks on feet, OP suggested lunch (which was actually an early dinner, as it was about 5pm already). So they went to a place that looked like some Austrian Heuriger on the outside and ordered steak-burgers with French fries. And beer. Of course. Frosted. Bear is not really a fan of how the English (or British) serve most of their beer - warmish (not too often anymore, but still in some places), but *this* was ridiculous! The glasses - that looked like goblets - were frosted. Ice-cold! Bear could not even properly touch the glass.
The steak-burger was not incredibly good but ok. But along with it came a Jalapeno! Bear has seen those on TV already and knew what it was gonna taste like. And Bear is not really a fan of hot or spicy food. Definitely not hot. But Bear is also very curious (and a bit stupid). And OP said: "If you have a bite I am going to give you 50$." So Bear did have a bite. And another. And another. Bear's mouth hurt. But Bear was so brave and took three bites! The 150$, Bear never got...

veningAfter that meal, they wandered around a bit looking for Cowboy-hats, postcards and fridge magnets for Bear and then went back to the Mystery Machine. OP wanted to show Bear some really nice houses and a place he once wanted to buy. They drove around a quite nice area with pretty posh houses here and there. Bear was impressed. There was even an area where mostly students lived. OP told Bear that their parents bought the houses for them, they lived in it as long as they studied and then sold them. Incredible what kinds of cars Bear could see in front of those houses. Ok, nearly everyone in Texas has a pick-up-truck, but for heaven's sake these were only students!! Actually, what was really funny: one could see two to three huge cars in front of nearly every house. The house being not so big at all, rather small and it looked like the cars were bigger than the house!
Anyway, Bear and OP drove around that area for some while, Bear took lots of pictures and a video (which is not online yet) and then home.

For some reason Bear and OP were so incredibly tired that they went to bed instantly. It was only evening, but they felt like they couldn't keep their eyes open anymore. After only two hours or something, Bear woke up and saw the digital clock on the radio blinking. Bear watched it for about 30mins until it realised that this meant that the electricity was back on! Bear woke OP up and told him. OP was so glad about it that he went around the flat turning everything on and trying every electrical thing. Bear started to unpack its suitcase and have a shower.
Later that night they went to have another burger, a corny dog and bought some ice for the fridge. Bear learned that it is an American thing to carry ice around in a cup and eat it all the time. Bear thought that this was quite an annoying habit. *gulp*crack*crack*gulp*

Samstag, 17. Mai 2008

Electricity is actually a good thing!

May 26th - May 27th 2008

So, this is Texas.

Bear saw OP for the first time in five or six years again. OP has been to Vienna visiting friends and Bear then.
They put Bear's luggage in the car and off they went to his sister's house. OP told Bear that for the first weekend they will spend their time there, as his power had been turned off and he figured that Bear wanted to take a warm shower after this long trip.
Bear saw American highways for the first time. Bear has been to San Francisco ten years ago, but has only seen the city at that time and not much of its surroundings. Different. Totally different to Austria's highways. So much wider, straighter and bigger. Well, everything is bigger in Texas, Bear has been told. As far as this was concerned, Bear agreed. And then Bear saw also American suburbs. Exactly how Bear imagined them and has seen them on TV. Actually, nearly everything Bear saw and experienced in Texas was exactly as Bear has seen on TV before...

They arrived at the house of OP's sister and Bear met her three dogs Snickers, Gidget and Whistle. Bear likes dogs - Bear also has dogs. But bigger ones. OP showed Bear around and told Bear that they were invited to a friend's birthday party later on, but would only go if Bear thinks it wouldn't be too tired. Bear took a shower, felt refreshed and not too tired and so they went to the party. It was in a bar one had to drive to. Bear realised that everywhere you wanted to go to in Texas, you had to take the car. Or at least everyone did.
Bear met the birthday girl and some other people who all were very friendly and talked to Bear a lot. Especially a young man who asked Bear a lot about Europe and the difference to Texas. Bear had some American beer (Bear drank only beer in Texas as obviously everyone thought Bear had to try American beer) and a cup cake which tasted quite similar to some Austrian sweet - though Bear can't think of which one.
All of a sudden the girl's toilet door opened (which was right beside their table) and two girls were in there fighting! Shouting and hitting each other. Bear just stared and thought: Wow! Everyone around ran in and tried to get the girls out of the toilet and seperate them. Bear has seen one or two fights in Austrian bars aswell, but at that time it was men who fought and never girls. *And* a big difference was that in Austria only friends would go in between and seperate the fighters or maybe call the security at the entrance to seperate them, but never has Bear seen others or nearly everyone going in between such a fight.
The people around Bear said: "Wow, your first night and you already witness a chick fight. Welcome to Texas!" Yeh, well if that is the way Bear's holiday would continue... It didn't, but it still was a very unusual but lovely holiday for Bear.Bear is not sure when they left the party, but it was late. At least it felt like that. Bear and OP talked for another two or three hours until they finally went to sleep. Bear slept pretty well that night.

~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~Don't you just *love* the smell of summer rain?!!~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

The next day Bear and OP slept in and had a slow day recovering from the journey (well, it was Bear recovering and OP probably wasn't too sad about that either). OP made some breakfast, they had coffee and talked on the patio (Bear loves that word! *patio*).

~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~Ok, now the power has been off for the fifth time because of the thunderstorm. This can't be a good thing for the computer - apart from being very annoying - it took two hours to write the three lines above...~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

Bear and OP did nothing that day apart from talking, watching some TV, relaxing, Bear did some trampoline-excercise. They did go to OP's flat at one point, so Bear could have a look at it in the daylight - which was a good thing for orientation later.
In the evening Bear and OP went to pick up Niki's (OP's sister) kids. Bear thought they were really cute and nice - not very shy either. Niki's daughter introduced Bear to her guinea pig and her son told Bear everything about the X-Box- or Playstation-game (Bear knows nothing about this) he was playing. Later on Bear and OP went to Dallas airport to pick his sister up who had been away that weekend (and that's why Bear and OP were able to stay in her house). Bear liked Niki - she was really nice and talkative.

Ok, so Sunday evening Bear finally moved into OP's flat. In the dark. Pretty difficult to find things then. Good thing OP told Bear before that they were going to go out with a friend later that night, so Bear was clever enough to put on make-up in the not-powerless house of Niki... *But* Bear did see a bit in OP's flat, because OP's friend - who they went out with later on - arrived at the flat before Bear and OP did and was so nice to put some candles on.

They went away in Andy's (OP's friend) car and during that ride they told Bear that tonight's plan was going to a strip-club!! Only if that was ok with Bear. If Bear didn't want to go, they would do something else. But Bear didn't mind. Bear has been to a strip-club in Vienna before. Not on purpose though. Bear's "friends" bought a male stripper for Bear's 30th birthday and that happened in a strip-club in Vienna. Bear did not really like it. But that's another story. So Bear said, it's ok to go to a strip-club.
Arriving there Bear learned that Andy used to work in that club as security and works now as a cop. At the entrance they had to show their IDs. Pretty stupid, Bear thought, as one could easily see that OP was older than 21 and Bear was also. But anyway. Bear showed its driving license which made the girl at the entrance nearly freak out because this Austrian driving license was "soooo cooool". Ok. Bear later got used to people freaking out by looking at its driving license...
The club was really nice. Bear liked it. Huge, with lots of stages, one main stage and lots of small tables around with extremely comfy chairs. Again Bear got some beer and they sat down at a table not too far away from the main stage. There were more guests than in the Viennese strip-club and also some female ones. The girls on the stages did really perform. Not like in Vienna. The girls in Vienna looked bored and hardly ever moved, but those girls in Texas did something! They danced, they performed, they moved and they didn't look bored. There was one very tall girl who danced at the pole did some moves Bear has only seen on TV so far. Wow. Bear was really impressed. So were OP and Andy. Bear sat there, mouth open and just watched. OP and Andy tried to get Bear to go to the stage and give that girl some dollars. They even gave Bear the dollar notes. But Bear refused. At one point they told Bear that if Bear wouldn't do it voluntarily, they would force Bear to do so. Andy was pretty tall and strong. Bear was afraid they would really force Bear to the stage. But they didn't. Though they did try to talk Bear into it for some while. But Bear was too shy and too afraid at that time. After all it was only Bear's second night in Texas! Later that week, Bear would have probably done it...
Anyway, they themselves did give that girl the dollars then. Bear was reliefed.

After another few beers for the guys (Bear had only one or two - Bear is a slow drinker) off they went back home. On the way back, they stopped at a gas station where OP got out to buy some cigarettes and so Andy and Bear could talk. Andy asked Bear if Bear was interested to go with him on a workshift during Bear's stay (reminder: Andy is a cop!) And Bear said "YES" without really thinking about it. Bear just thought: "Wow, riding with a cop in Texas. Who else could tell about an experience like that?!" Bear thinks that even Andy was a bit surprised that Bear agreed instantly. So they told OP about that and Andy said he would check with his boss and then Bear would have to come to the station before and sign some papers and getting checked on the computer - if Interpol or Scotland Yard was looking for Bear, Bear - of course - couldn't come. Good thing they never found out :-).
Back in OP's flat, Bear found it a bit hard to brush teeth and getting its lenses out without losing them in the dark, but Bear managed. Bed again. Bear thought that this was probably going to be the most unusual holiday ever: chick fight, strip-club and maybe riding with a cop... Wow. Bear was happy.

Freitag, 16. Mai 2008

Thank you for flying with HimBärchen and Hamish!

Saturday, May 26th 2008

Ok, so this is how the story goes:

Bear has known OP for 16 years now. They met in Vienna, Austria 16 years ago, when OP studied here. During all these years Bear and OP stayed in touch. Bear had quite a hard summer for various reasons in 2007 and OP invited Bear over to get away from Bear's thoughts and fears. When Bear finally decided on the right time for a holiday, it told OP and booked a flight. Bear's parents were so nice to pay half of it for a Christmas and Birthday present. The countdown started.

Bear's flight was due on April 26th at 8am. Since Bear had to go to work on the day before, it already started to pack things two days before. Very unusal for Bear, since Bear *always* packs its thing the night before. But this time Bear was a bit nervous - well for a change it was not GreatBritain Bear was going to. So Bear thought of that holiday, so far away, a bit different and was afraid to forget something important or being not ready on time. And since Bear is also a bit older now, it needs its goodnight-sleep and didn't want to think about getting to bed at 2am and having to get up again at 4am - not a good idea! So Bear finished packing on Thursday 24th. Bear was proud.

April 26th!! Bear had to get up at 4am, packing the rest of the stuff (toothbrush, make-up,...), gulping down some coffee and trying to have a bite or two of breakfast. Bear's father was so nice to drive Bear to Vienna airport - they had to be there at 6am. Bear's flight was due at 8am. They were there on time, looked for the correct Check-In-desk, found it and Bear handed over its e-tickets.
Bear's original flights should have gone from Vienna to London Heathrow, then Bear should have changed by itself to London Gatwick and get the connection flight to Dallas. Four days before Saturday, Bear was told that American Airlines had changed their flights and Bear did not have to go to Gatwick - connection to Dallas would be at Heathrow. Bear was glad and not too happy at the same time. Bear was not too keen on changing airports but not too keen on London Heathrow either, as Bear does not really like that airport...
Anyway, Bear handed over its e-tickets and that nice lady told Bear not to forget to change airport in London. Bear was a bit confused and told her, that Bear had been told not to change airports and handed over the mail that said so. The nice lady looked at it, checked her computer and told Bear that Bear was right, but unfortunately the computer-system still said the wrong thing and that she didn't know how to change it. She told Bear to wait there and she will get the American Airlines lady who should get Bear the new ticket. Bear waited. And waited. And waited. And watched others checking in, while Bear's father went outside to smoke (he didn't want to leave before he was sure, Bear was safe on its flight - nice, eh?!). While Bear waited it tried to figure out which ones of the passengers who checked in would be flying to Texas aswell. Bear guessed right nearly all the time... Bear got pretty nervous now. Bear had waited for 45mins when the lady noticed that Bear was *still* waiting there and said, she'd check with the American Airlines lady. Unfortunately they hadn't managed yet to change Bear's tickets. Bear was really nervous now. After all it was only 6am and this is how Bear's holiday should begin?!
A young man came up and told them that this couldn't be *so* difficult to do, made two, three clicks, grinned at them and handed Bear its new tickets. Bear was happy. Bear said goodbye to its father and off Bear went. No more problems at Vienna airport.

On the flight to London, Bear was surprised how nice the BA-flight attendants were. And how funny the captain was. When the plane flew over London, the captain told the passengers about the sights they could see and the flight attendants went around and pointed them out. The BA-flight was on time. But Heathrow wasn't. Bear had to stay on the plane, waiting. The captain was already pretty pissed off and also told his passengers! He said that it was pretty frustrating that we had to wait here on the runway for our gate to get ready and that it was Heathrow's fault and he didn't know why they weren't ready. They had known before that the flight was on time, but still weren't hurrying up. After quite some time, the passengers were allowed to get off.
At London Heathrow, Bear had a bit of time, went around, looked for some place to have a cigarette, couldn't find any (no more smoking in GreatBritain's airports!) and waited for the monitors showing the correct gate to go to. It took ages to do so. Bear was bored. And Bear got nervous again. Even the flights due after Bear's flight were boarding already. But not Bear's flight to Dallas. Bear asked a bunch of men who looked like they were going to Texas aswell (yes, it's possible to spot them!) if they knew anything about that flight. They assured Bear that it still had to wait. While waiting they chatted about things to do and see in Fort Worth and then - finally - the gate was displayed. Off they went. And had to wait again at the gate. Bear was bored - again. So much waiting. Bear doesn't like to wait.

At last, they were allowed to board the plane and finally headed off for Dallas. AA-flight attendants were pretty old. Bear had never seen elderly flight attendents before and neither had it seen so many male ones. Bear was seated next to a man. At first they didn't talk. Bear tried to sleep but couldn't quite. Bear can't sleep sitting. The man next to Bear could. Bear was tired.
They finally started to talk when they had to fill in the green and white documents for being allowed to go to the US. He was Mexican and was going home now from a friends' wedding in Scotland. Bear is a big Scotland-fan, so they talked quite a lot about Scotland, then about themselves and Bear told him about its friend OP and visiting him and so on. When they were about to get into Dallas, Bear and that man exchanged email-addresses and said that they would visit each other.

Dallas, finally. Bear was tired but happy. But there were still the new restrictions on going into the US that Bear had not experienced yet and Bear was curious. The Mexican Gerardo waited for Bear and told Bear what they would do: taking fingerprints, taking a picture and asking funny questions. The questions on the white green document were quite funny already and Bear wondered how they would be able to top that. Gerardo was through already when Bear finally got to the security checks. The questions were not so funny. Normal questions: where do you come from, why do you come here, what will you do here, who will you visit, ... things like that. Funny was, that the guy at the security check started to chat with Bear. They chatted for quite a while when he handed Bear its passport and whished Bear a nice holiday. Bear looked at him and said: "What? No fingerprints, no picture?" The man looked at Bear, swore silently and asked for the passport again. He had forgotten it! So they took fingerprints, which was not so easy as it was too light and then they took Bear's picture and Bear asked wether it could see that one to check if it's ok. He turned the screen round and Bear approved.
Gerardo was waiting for Bear. Bear's luggage arrived pretty soon (good, because Bear was worried that its luggage would be stuck in Heathrow), they said goodbye to each other and off Bear went. OP was already there, reading a newspaper waiting for Bear. Bear has made it and was finally in Fort Worth, Texas with OP. Bear was happy.

Montag, 12. Mai 2008

Texas Photos online

Finally. After three nights at the computer I finally finished working on the Texas pictures! Check them out and enjoy! Good that I suffered from jet lag for the last week - kept me up long enough to do that stuff... But since I am pretty tired now - finally - my holiday story will be published here a bit later. Check back. And do also check out the pictures again, as comments will be added soon.
Bear and Hamish go Texas
Click on the picture to see the whole album - Enjoy!!!
This night at 3am Bear finished adding the comments to all 365 pictures - enjoy!