So during our Fall Break me and one of my German friends from the exchange decided to go traveling. We wanted to visit a place which we probably wouldn’t have visited if we would’ve flown from Europe, so we went to Dallas in Texas. It’s the ninth-largest city in the US and about 1.2 mil. people in the city and about 6.7 mil. people in the metro area. I contacted some local people via Couchsurfing since we wanted to get a more genuine experience. In an effort to try to post more frequently and, I’ve split this post in two parts. In this post I’ll tell you a little about Couchsurfing and our first host in Texas. In the next post I’ll tell you about our second host and give some tips about Couchsurfing.
Whenever I go traveling somewhere nowadays, I use the service Couchsurfing (CS). CS offers it’s users hospitality exchange and social networking services. That is, it’s a social network that lets its users stay for free at other people’s couches, host other travelers at home and join events arranged by people in the group. In March 2013 the website had over 6 million members in 100,000 cities worldwide.
The thing I like most about CS is that I get to meet the locals and see how they really live, not just observe it from an outside perspective. I really am a hipster when it comes to traveling and after trying CS I could never just go to a place and go to “tourist attractions” or lie on the beach, now when I know how much else there is to explore in different places. I’ve met some of the coolest and most interesting people I know on CS and won’t stop doing it for as long as I can. So let me tell you about the first host.
(facts provided by the ever so reliable Wikipedia)
The First host
We arrived in the middle of the day to Dallas, since the cheapest flight from Omaha was in the morning. After taking the train into the city we met up with our host that lived in Downtown Omaha. The location was perfect for the first days and for sightseeing. The apartment was in an old, renovated department store and was very big for a studio apartment. We were not so surprised to hear that our host made quite a lot of money in his job as an accountant.
We spend our first night going to a big art festival that happened to be going on in Dallas. They had all kinds of cool and weird exhibitions on display, but the one I want to share most is this “3D” projection on this house, filmed with my awesome phone camera. We ended our night by going to a bar in the area where Lee Harvey Oswald (the guy who shot JFK) used to hang out.
The next day our host was kind enough to take us with car 45 min outside the city (this is one of the things I love about CS) to a stockyard to see some more “stereotypical” Texan stuff. We actually got to experience that when we went to a local Barbecue place. I really felt dressed the wrong way, coming in my European style clothing into a bar with 98% men eating beef and drinking beer in their jeans jackets and plaid skirts. Either way I had a blast since the place was as stereotypical as it gets, with the bartenders in jeans and bikini tops, taking your order with a southern accent. I guess you could say this was the local version of a “breastaurant” (like hooters).
The stockyard was a historic district of Fort Worth where you could experience more of the cowboy stuff about Texas. In addition to the stockyard, they also had a road with stores selling cowboy related stuff. Sadly, the place was kinda touristy (which is something I don’t really like), but the highlights of the place was the museum there and the fact that we accidentally sneaked pass the ticket stand for a gun show (we didn’t realize it until afterwards, I swear). There also was a chance to go see a rodeo, but I wasn’t that interested in paying to go to see that.
In the evening we went to a bar that had a mechanical bull, since me and my German friend wanted to try it. We had fun trying to stay on the thing which basically was impossible to stay on for more than 30 seconds. I would recommend it anyone if they ever have the chance to do it. I have a video of the ride, but I think I’ll keep it off the blog for now 😀 We continued our night by checking out some local nightclubs and partied through the night.