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Apr 21, 2013 -

Two Last Days in Dallas

Saturday, I headed out to ‘the ranch’, an RV community where Ms. Cinnamon keeps her rig. Most folks there have a structure with living space plus a covered area for the RV. It is operated condo style where everyone owns their plot of land and they share the operating costs for the common areas. I got some ideas for my RV pad should I ever develop it.

I knew about this place because one of my very few nemeses bought property there some time ago and is one of her neighbours. What a small world; huh? Thankfully, I didn’t run into him!

For lunch, we stopped at the Eastern Buffet in Lindale, a good all you can eat place that even had some (pretty bad) sushi. But it was rice and seaweed, so I gladly ate it. 🙂

It was good to get out of the rig so I could separate myself from Bitha and steel myself for the inevitable that evening.

Today, Ms. Cinnamon invited me out for lunch and then to run errands. She said we could go anywhere for food. I wasn’t feeling well and had a bit of an upset tummy, so I wanted to go for something familiar and comforting. I therefore suggested we go back to Bistro B and I ordered the lemongrass chicken again. This time, I specified that I wanted lots of lemongrass and the meal ending up being doubly delicious from the last time. YUM. For dessert, Ms. Cinnamon got us the boba ice coffee, for which there are no words to express its deliciousness. It’s really strong coffee with condensed milk and tapioca pearls. Mmm!

We then went next door to an Asian market where I stocked up on staples, like rice (said casually, but check out the picture and caption of it below…), sushi vinegar, sesame oil, and rice noodles.

Next, we headed over to Sam’s club, where I had never shopped. I got a few things on my list and was irked that they do not take Visa. Ms. Cinnamon paid (thank you!) and I stopped at the ATM upstairs to get some cash to pay her back.

I picked up a few more things at Walmart and then we headed out to Costco. I am definitely going to be getting a Costco card. I’ve been debating it since last summer and I’m doing it! They also don’t take Visa, grr, but I had cash so that was fine. I didn’t need much more by then and had reached the end of the budget anyway, but I got an incredible deal on cheese (more details below). Ms. Cinnamon and I split a package of two fresh baguettes, so that’s what I’ll be having for a very light supper later.

I’m wiped from all that shopping and grateful that Ms. Cinnamon prefers to be the driving. I haven’t taken my truck out once since I got here!

My sewer hose is too short to dump, so we’ll be going to an RV place first thing in the morning to get another section and a coupler. And then it will be time to take my leave of this place and head out into the frigid plains. Oh, Texas, I will miss you.

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Countries, Finances, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Shopping, Social, Texas, Travel, USA    5 Comments
Apr 10, 2013 -

A Fun Afternoon at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas

Undeterred by the pouring rain, Ms. Cinnamon and I headed out for the afternoon. I asked if she wanted to have lunch out and she suggested Vietnamese, which was exactly what I had in mind. So we headed over to the Bistro B.

The restaurant has a crazy huge and overwhelming menu. I decided that we didn’t have all day and that I wanted vermicelli, chicken, and lemongrass, which I found as a number 113. Ms. Cinnamon ordered the same thing.

The ginormous meal of fresh salad, noodles, meat, and a side of fish sauce looked lovely and tasted pretty good, but it was nowhere near lemongrassy enough for me. There was just a hint of it in some bites, but for a meal labeled lemongrass, it wasn’t enough. So I questioned the server and he offered to take back our food, but we refused since there was nothing wrong with it and we didn’t want to have to wait for them to make something new.

Well, he came back minutes later with a small plate heaped with more lemongrass and sautéd onions! And guess what he told us? That the chef purposely toned it down because the dish is too flavourful for most of the folks who come to the restaurant! Now, what we were served was not bland in the least, but the added lemongrass really made it shine. Yu-um!

Sated, Ms. Cinnamon and I headed out to tour the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, which is new in Dallas. I took a picture of the exterior when I was out the other day. It was almost 2:30 when we arrived and the museum closes at 5:00. Well, we had just enough time to see everything, but would have really needed another hour or two!

This is a very hands on museum with a lot of fun activities. From the lobby, you get a dizzying escalator ride straight up to the fourth floor dinosaurs and space exhibits, and then you work your way down.

The museum is great for kids and the kid at heart. My favourite exhibit was up in the fourth floor mezzanine birds exhibit where you put on 3D glasses and get to soar like a bird. The effect is remarkable as you get to swoop, dive, and fly by moving your body. This photo gallery gives a small sample of the exhibits. At $15, the museum isn’t cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your buck!

We stopped at the Central Market, a super fancy grocery store, on the way home to grab something quick and easy for dinner. I got a few groceries and then spent some time in the deli area trying to decide what I was in the mood for. The sushi very tempting, but I went with my first instinct, which was to have a mixed Mediterranean plate with hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, cucumber and tomato salad, and lots of other good stuff where you pay by the weight of your container. Yum!

It was really cold today (I doubt we hit 50F), but at least the sky has cleared.

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Countries, Finances, Museums, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Shopping, Social, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    1 Comment
Apr 1, 2013 -

Explain This To Me About Walmart

I went out for dinner this evening, found a car wash (you’d never guess that I just hosed down the truck, but at least the salt is off it for sure), and headed to Walmart.

It took 20 minutes to get what I needed and then I spent at least 40 minutes in line waiting to check out. By the time I realised it was going to take that long, it would have been stupid to walk out and lose all that time I just spent shopping and waiting, but all my melted frozen food got left at the cash. I’m not exaggerating, I was there long enough that all the frozen food was mush by the time I got to the front of the line. I had another half hour to get home. I wasn’t going to refreeze that stuff and possibly get sick.

The store was PACKED. Lines literally ran the whole length of the store. How many cashiers did they have on? THREE. Why does Walmart bother having 50 billion lines when it never has more than three cashiers on at a time?!

To add insult, my teller was the customer service MANAGER and she was completely oblivious to how inadequate she was. Instead of noticing the mile-long (and I’m only slightly exaggerating) line of increasingly angry people, she just took her sweet time slowly scanning one item at a time and chatted with her colleagues. I’ve been a cashier. I know that you can process people MUCH more quickly than that. There were no issues with items not scanning or price checks or payment methods not working. She just had no idea how to manage a busy till.

When I saw that the lines were long, I grabbed a big pile of magazines and then staked my spot. It took three magazines for me to get annoyed, six for me to be frustrated, and eleven to start bitching with the other customers. The woman behind me with TWO full carts and about five screaming and crying children finally walked out. Not that Walmart will care.

Now, I love Walmart because of its of policy about overnight RV parking. But, seriously, hire more cashiers. And better train the ones you have.

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