Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 10: Post Office, Malai and Walmart again!

Monday 15th April 

Day 10 was an early start compared to the other days. Yay! We first went to the post office in St Paul (it's just around the corner from St Paul station) as I needed to post a postcard to my friend in Canada who likes receiving these kinds of things from countries her friends go to for holidays... (Not sure if she got it...).

Wow, the post office we went into which I pictured the outside of during the other day (day 3 post) was so eerie inside. It was like going into a building of ancient times of Dallas.
Roof of post office

One of light bulbs

Eerie hallway!

Nice painting

Monday, 29 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 9 - A trip to Walmart Supercenter

Sunday 14th April

I forgot to mention in the previous post that I was given a fortune cookie, it said
"Tomorrow you will find the item you have been searching for.". 
Wow! So before I went to sleep the night before I quickly looked up where and how we could get to that Walmart that we first went to. I thank Google maps and free wi-fi (plus pictures I took of shops nearby) for finding the bus route!! So I told Miss Pinky. I think we left after 12 or 1 pm or maybe it was around 2 pm to find it...

We took the 526 towards the station and then changed for the bus 529. I put my hand out for the bus to stop and I think I was waving to Miss Pinky who was sitting in the sun to hurry up to get the bus because the station is not its last stop. The bus could drive away without you Miss Pinky and then we would have had to wait again!! :P The bus driver thought I was crazy but she was a lovely person who seemed to have known that we wanted to go to the shopping area!! :D Lovely woman who seemed to know the area better than the other drivers we have met on our journey in Dallas... Fortune cookie was right!

We looked around the area first. So our first main stop was Sam’s Club. This is a supermarket where you bulk shop like in Lidl’s and Aldi. Unfortunately you have to be a member to shop there... :( But that was kind of good for us because that meant more spending in Walmart. :D
Sam's Club - You MUST be a member
Finally we went into Walmart, and we spent some money on clothes and chocolates for people back home! We’ll be back again!!

Bus number to Walmart Supercenter from Inwood / Lovefield Station: 529! 

Stop at: Marsh Lane at Almazan Drive, then crossover at the traffic lights.
Address: 9410 Webb Chapel Rd Dallas, Texas 75220, United States

Didn’t do much in the evening... Sat around and did nothing... I was just blogging, but then suddenly we went out for a walk around the area. Miss Pinky and I saw something typical that you would see in American TV programmes and films... a thief stealing a bag of crisps and the owner of the shop had come out with a stick running towards the thief, but the thief got away... :S I was quite afraid... And then as Miss Pinky and I were walking back, a guy was holding a box of iced beer. Miss Pinky wanted to buy alcohol, and the guy was willing to sell his beer. He offered it for US $7 and she paid US $10 ¬,¬”” … Well... Americans are really nice when it comes to alcohol!! :D
Brookriver Drive...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 8 - Finding DFW China Town 達拉斯中國城

Saturday 13th April

Saturday started off late (once again). Well both Miss Pinky and I were exhausted (more Miss Pinky than me!) from the night before.

For this day we decided to go to the Richardson area in Dallas, which is up north, and it doesn't take you long to get there. I wanted to find 'a' or 'the' China Town in Dallas, and I had found on the Internet that there was a place in Richardson, but there were no clues on how to get there or where it is! I guess not many tourists like me want to find these places. ¬_¬"" So we took the 526 bus once again (it was so handy having a weekly pass), changed for the train and stopped off at West End to change for the red line. We took this next train up to Arapaho Center Station (can't pronounce the name of this station), and I saw DFW China Town! We tried to get a bus there from the transit centre, but unfortunately there are no buses that go there on the weekend. :( So what do people do in Dallas on the weekend? I don’t understand why bus services are not regular on the weekends... I expect they want people to chill out instead of going out and spending...
Arapaho Center Station
So then we took the train back to Spring Valley Station which is the previous stop to see if we could walk from there... Nope it looked too far from Spring Valley, so we quickly hopped onto the train going back to Arapaho Station and then finally walked there... (I'm sure the passengers thought we were mad!). There’s no actual pathway (pavements) to walk on from the station to China Town, so watch out for the dogs in the houses you pass by. I think this is definitely one thing America needs to improve on. It's one reason why there's so much obesity over there. For a tourist like me who does not drive I would expect there to be pavements!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 7: Uptown/City Place and Charlie's Bar

Friday 12th April

Day 7 started late... What? Again?! Well this time it was me who woke up late not Miss Pinky, so she made breakfast! Heheh.

On this day we were determined to find the big superstore Walmart that we first went to on Day 2. So we took two bus journeys. The 404 which is near our normal 526 bus stop, and this took us all the way to Parkland Station... Then we were advised to take other buses around the area... Basically we got lost. But eventually we took the 527 bus... And we still couldn't find it. The bus took us back to the train station. May I just point out that the bus drivers don’t know the areas very well, so don’t ask them questions. It’s best to ask the locals who the know everything that goes on!! But some of the locals don't even know the area... :P

We gave up. So we went to the one in City Place. We took the train (orange line) and stopped off at Uptown / City Place. We realised we were back in West Village!!!! Hahahahah. 
Uptown / City Place Station
We asked a lady where the Walmart was. And yay!! Someone knew where there was a supermarket!! It looked far and Miss Pinky wanted to take the bus... Seriously it wasn't far! A 10 minute walk. This one is a small grocery one, not the superstore, and isn't what we had wanted. It's opened 24 hours. The lady advised us to go back towards the inside of the station, crossover, then take the bus 36... So we waited...
Walmart looks far...!!
When we got there Miss Pinky wanted to eat before we shopped, so we walked all the way back down to Uptown Station...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 6: Fair Park

Thursday 11th April

Gosh. Time flies when you’re having fun and a very relaxing time!! It’s already day 6 into our holiday, and I felt like we hadn't done enough on this trip. It felt a little different to our short holidays because this time we had so much time on our hands... :D

On this day both of us woke up late. Well, Miss Pinky had her TV on loud the night before, and we both didn’t sleep until after 1 am Dallas time!! ¬,¬”

Miss Pinky wanted to find out some tours we could go on. Her energy levels seemed to have revived after yesterday’s short trip around the area. And she said she didn’t spend any money. I am actually impressed because usually Miss Pinky would have spent all her holiday money by now. Thank you mother nature for the rain!! :D

So we went on a bus journey by taking the bus 526 again up to Inwood / Love Field Station. Then I saw a bus 39 going towards Downtown, so we jumped onto that bus which seemed to have taken us back towards McKinney, which is the road before West Village and where we had sat down and had loaded chips... and got slightly drunk! Wow. So now we don’t have to rely on shuttles, trains or taxis!! The bus 39 took us through Cedar Springs. This place seemed like a posh area of Dallas. It was like going through Docklands on a nice sunny day. The last stop is West End Bus Station, then the bus goes back towards Inwood / Love Field Station. It’s funny how the buses in Dallas run on a circular route (as I have mentioned in my previous post). I like the Dallas bus routes as you will never get lost - this is what Miss Pinky would say. But the bus times are not that great as they run hourly during non-peak times (at this point I had missed London transport!).

Anyway, we went back to the Tourist Centre to check on other tours. Not much going on, but Miss Pinky found two she wanted to go to... ¬_¬ … One of them didn’t get my approval and thankfully we did not go to it...!! Then one of the guides at the centre advised us on where to go to, but we had been to most of them already, and we didn't want to disappoint him, so we had just let him carry on with the information about Dallas's tourist sites. And then finally he mentioned about Fair Park! That’s a place where we haven't been to yet!! But before we jumped onto the Green Line heading towards Bruckner we stopped off at the West End Aquarium Center just to check out the prices really. It's a bit expensive for my liking...

We got to Fair Park. Then we almost got lost because the map wasn’t too clear. It didn't show where The Women's Museum was on the map that was given to us at the tourist centre!! I then asked a gentleman who kindly pointed out that we needed to go through the entrance around the corner leading to The Women's Museum and then we would find the other attractions... Oooooh. That could’ve been pointed out in the map!!
Fair Park Station - pretty on a nice sunny day!! :D

Star of Dallas - go pass this and you will see the attractions at the site

The Women's Museum

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 5: Walking around Inwood

Wednesday 10th April

Day 5. We started the day very late. I woke up before Miss Pinky and made breakfast (I always seem make it when we're on holiday together!! :P).

Unfortunately it rained all morning, and so we watched daytime American TV. 
Raining in Dallas is like having a downpour!!
That was the wrong idea. Watching American TV that is. The adverts they showed and the talk shows that were on were a bit too overwhelming for me. There were so many medical ads on that morning (all day and everyday to be exact) I couldn’t believe it. Who on Earth would want to watch this stuff during the day?! I sure wouldn't. If I wanted medical advice I think I would go to my local GP or those walk in centres... Not from a TV ad!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 4: West Village

Tuesday 9th April
Yay there’s sun! And finally my jet lag is over! But Miss Pinky I'm afraid at this point was still jet lagged. Both of us started the day a bit later than usual. We were very tired from day 3. I seemed to have had 10 hours sleep and had some paracetomol the night before because my hands were in pain and so I had a good nights sleep! :D This time I made breakfast. Toast, bacon (that had a lot of fat attached to it) and scrambled eggs. These were some of the items we had bought in Walmart. Then Miss Pinky decided to wake up really late, and then she decided she wanted fried bread rather than toast (luckily she came down in time before I made the toast for her!).

The night before we booked the free shuttle to take us to the station, but unfortunately the person in reception said it wasn’t booked... But we saw the girl book it! Anyway, we had to wait for a few minutes before we headed off. This time we purchased a 7-day pass which costs US $25 (approx. £16) per person. This time the machine was working!! We were at the Tourist Centre yesterday which is located in West End and just opposite the Court, and the person there said we could go to West Village which is like an area of boutiques and branded stores. It’s pretty easy to get to, but we weren’t given great directions to remember to get to the free tram. But Miss Pinky remembered that we had to go to St Paul. So we got off at St Paul Station as instructed but wasn’t sure on where to go next. So we asked a lady who was very helpful, and gave us good instructions on how to get there. She was correct as we saw the tram heading towards West Village! The tram is called M-Line Trolley and it is absolutely FREE to ride on!! First stop from St Paul is at Ross Avenue. It seems not only the tourists get this tram but also the local residents. :D Here's the Wiki page for you: 
M-Line Trolley

Inside the trolley

Very simple steering gear

Posters that look old!

I swear they look old

There's air-con on these trolleys!
M-Line Trolley Service: http://www.mata.org/

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 3: Being a typical tourist

Monday 8th April

Oh great. Miss Pinky wanted to start the day early so that we could eat breakfast. :( So I got up at 7am (actually before 7... I had a very good nights sleep, although I heard our neighbours flushing the toilet a lot... and Miss Pinky had thought it was me).

So we had breakfast at the Reception area again. This time there was scrambled eggs instead of boiled eggs. I don’t think I want to eat this breakfast again... :P

Before that Miss Pinky asked for the free shuttle to drop us off at the nearest train station. We were kindly dropped off at Inwood / Love Field Station. We had a bit of trouble purchasing our tickets from the machines as they were only accepting coins or credit cards, and not dollar notes. But thankfully we asked a bus driver who said we could purchase our day ticket on the bus which costs US $5 per person (approx. £3.29). And it lasts for the whole day! Wow. I wish London had cheaper bus and train tickets. It would save me gazillions of pounds! (To check out bus and train ticket prices, go to this website: http://www.dart.org/).
Bus / train ticket machine

Inwood / Love Field Station

Not sure what building this is, but it is one of the unique ones in Dallas!

DART train that reminds me of Docklands Light Rail

Akard Station

Monday, 22 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 2: Getting around

Sunday 7th April

5 hours sleep. That’s all had that night. Time difference is always difficult to get used to when you’re in a country so far away from your own. I called out to Miss Pinky who was sleeping upstairs. Yes upstairs. We were in an apartment! I was very proud of myself for booking this place. Very different to all the places I have been to so far. So we sat around for an hour or so watching morning Dallas TV. Pretty boring for a Sunday. Miss Pinky was complaining how the Americans liked to talk about weather in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius at this point... ¬_¬””

Next we decided to go for breakfast. It was a free breakfast buffet at the Hawthorne Suites, but we had as little as possible. Although I had two coffees... Very nice filter coffee. You can make your own waffles too... Unfortunately there wasn't a great choice of food items (go for the cereals if you must)!
Breakfast at the Hawthorne Suites

In the dining area of the Hawthorne Suites

The filter coffee was great...!
We wanted to change the rest of our British Pounds as we thought the rates would be better in Dallas (we thought wrong – more like Miss Pinky thought wrong). So we tried to get a shuttle to Love Field airport (however we found out later that they don’t have a currency exchange there). Unfortunately there was no shuttle available that day, so we got a taxi. It was the same driver from the night before! Cool!! :D He took us to a Walmart first as we needed groceries. And yes, we had a kitchen too!! :D Mr Bear said to me before we went on this holiday that he hoped Miss Pinky knows that Walmart is just another version of the UK supermarket ASDA... (I don’t think she knew as she wanted to go there EVERYDAY!). Walmart is massive! :) Prices are great too. We even met a police officer from Chicago who was very nice to us and a guy from Nottingham, UK who was living around there.
At Walmart

Inside Walmart

Loads of fruits

Loads of cakes!

Big bottles of wine!

And a lot of beers that Miss Pinky wanted to try out!!
We did some massive grocery shopping. Over US $96 including tax (approx. £68)... Spent too much!! But we needed to. Next we went to Love Field airport but as I said there’s no currency exchange at this airport so we eventually went back to the Dallas International Airport which is also a massive airport! Currency exchange was very low at the time. That's not good if you're on a budget... :(
DFW airport
Now it was back to the apartments! Then for a walk around the area... In Dallas, people don’t seem to like to walk around. There’s hardly any pavements from where we were. People were in cars or trucks or lorries. So I bet those drivers thought we were crazy people walking around. I don’t care... However we ended up in McDonald’s. I really wanted to experience the difference between the US and the UK one. There isn't much difference. Just a different size system and different burgers... Miss Pinky didn't enjoy her burger. Too much going on in the burger for her she said. She didn't even like the look of my one. Steak (burger) and mushrooms always mix together! You see them in restaurants all the time. Miss Pinky, as you may know by now, is a real fussy eater!!
Walking around Inwood

American flag and advert signs

My Angus Steak burger with mushrooms

I think I forgot to take a pic of Miss Pinky's burger... but here's her drink

Inside McDonald's

I prefer the way the UK makes it! The chocolate is supposed to be all over the sundae pot
It was back again to the apartments. And because it was a Sunday, there isn't much to do in Dallas. So we watched TV. A lot of TV. Miss Pinky is a TV addict!!! I have to say Undercover Boss is a great emotional show by the way! :D … Had the rest of my Chinese food from the night before for dinner... And then I started blogging!! :)

End of Day 2.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 1: Flying and Landing

I haven't blogged for 2 weeks! But I have been writing everything down nearly everyday so that I can put these posts up quickly. So for the next two weeks you will see a full account of my adventure with Miss Pinky in Dallas, and I will try and be as informative as I can if you plan to go out to Dallas... :D Happy reading! (Still jet lagged by the way)...

Saturday 6th April

Following on from the trip to Ireland, it was decided that Miss Pinky and I would be going for a long haul flight. So which place to go to? Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia... Blah, blah, blah. Nope. It was decided we would be going to Dallas. That’s Miss Pinky’s choice, not mine. So why Dallas Miss Pinky? Why? (A lot of people have asked me this question when I said I was taking two weeks off work to go to there, but only one person seemed to understand the reason why...)... Well according to her, she’s been wanting to go to Dallas for the past 3 years (a bit longer than that really ¬_¬ guess how many years?). No idea why. I think Dallas the programme has made her decide to go there. Well, it’s my first time going to the USA, so why not. JF Kennedy was shot in Dallas. They have good food (but over-portioned). And it’s a good experience. Something to tell the family and friends in the future about.

On day 1, we met up, I forgot my bank card and so I had to rush home. Arrrrgh! Thankfully we were not far. Then next came a dispute with Miss Pinky and her family plus me about luggage weight, and so on so forth (because I know she's going to buy things, but she said she won't, yeah right!), which we then took the tube to Heathrow. We did the electronic boarding and went through security... All the boring stuff...

Next it was time to eat. We noticed one cafe / restaurant called Dining Street, so we went in (not realising there were other restaurants at the other end of the terminal. Miss Pinky had the Dining Special. A normal English breakfast without the tomatoes and the mushrooms but with an extra (two - by mistake) hashbrowns.
The menu cover

Breakfast at Heathrow Terminal 4
I had the Breakfast Burger. It was bloody good! (Excuse my language. I started writing this post on the flight to Dallas, was so bored as the TV was boring, which I will explain in a moment...

Friday, 5 April 2013

One Dollar Origami again o($_$)o

Just another geeky origami post which is LONG overdue. I've been meaning to do more one dollar origami, but I've either been too lazy or actually been doing other things, like watching videos and listening to music and working really, really hard... plus socialising with friends (any excuse really ¬_¬" - lazy Geek is back in the house!).

So I started off with this Simple $ Fish - created by Joshua Koppell... I thought it was going to be hard when I saw the folding for the tail bit, but no, it was very easy! http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11426805/scaffold/scaf07.pdf

Next I made this $ Crane by following this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgyrOKZI_YA Quite simple. But lots of folding!

This one is a bit too simple. The instructions on this one are not too great though. But because I used to make many of these (smaller versions) in the past (I have a Ferero Roche box full of them) I knew how to make it! $ Lucky Star http://www.origami-resource-center.com/dollar-lucky-star.html.

This is a very easy $ Duck. I made this after an attempt of trying to make a kayak (I tore the dollar a little bit so I converted it to this duck!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAOqPypO98w

Well, just making these for now. I will be back to do more! :P ....

And now I'm on holiday for TWO WEEKS... This post is actually a clue of where I'm going next! I will try and blog as I go along, but showing pictures on here might be a problem. So you peeps may have to wait until I get back!!

Adios amigos (and no, I'm not going to Mexico!). ^_^

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Japanese Kit Kat Dark Chocolate and Taro Mix from Oyatsu Cafe

Yipee!! Thanks to @grocerygems for introducing this website!! Grocery Gems has a 15% discount code ("GROCERYGEMS") you can use which is unlimited and can be used worldwide!! Wow! I'm amazed. Unfortunately I am a bit stupid and had entered the discount code into the wrong box. Instead of going onto the Shopping Cart page (which is where you are given the option to "use coupon code" or "calculate shipping") I somehow got onto the Checkout page and had entered the discount code in the comments!! Dumb Geek!! I bow my head in shame... :( ごめんなさい!(gomen'nasai - I'm sorry). But I will show you where to go at the end of this post.

Anyway, back to the snacks. (^_^)v

Japan Centre sells their Kit Kat for a very expensive price. But after being introduced to this site they sell their Kit Kat (there's only two flavours by the way - matcha green tea and dark chocolate) for a cheaper price at US$6.99. Postage and packaging is even cheap! Vastly cheap!!!!!

So as usual, here's a packet of 13 mini dark chocolate Japanese Kit Kat. I also bought myself a UK version to compare.
Packet of 13 Japanese Dark Chocolate Kit Kat's

On the back of the package

Definitely mini!
The Japanese version tastes so much better!! It has a real biscuity taste that makes you want more. The dark  chocolate itself is not as dark as the UK version. And both smell rather different. The Japanese version tastes more like milk chocolate than dark... The UK one tastes rather sweet and bitter, and it takes away the biscuit taste. They are both of the same width, but the Japanese one is smaller than the UK one. The UK one is heavily coated with dark chocolate.
So small XD

Comparing the UK and Japanese version

The Japanese one...

More dark chocolate in the UK version (right) than the Japanese one (left)
Verdict: I like the Japanese one more!