Saturday, September 6, 2008

Culture Tour Report: Summer 08

My good friend over @ Justinification started the idea of "The Culture Tour" earlier this summer with the description:
"As I said, everything is a part of a culture. Food. Music. Church. Arts. Entertainment. Work. Politics. Everything. I intend to have a well-rounded tour of new experiences for me this summer while I have time and my money is fresh. If you have suggestions for this summer, post them.

Also, If you're in town, let me know, cause nothing is worse than not having people to experience the culture with. Seriously."
Of course I immediately cosigned and began my own summer of culture quest. The highlights are broken up by city below in case you ever find yourself in one of these cities and have the opportunity to hit up one of my spots:

  • The Westin San Diego - placed here for an internship conference. GREAT food (if you don't know about salmon in eggs at the omlette bar you haven't lived...), beautiful accomodations, and the most comfortable bed I've never dared to dream of. Right in the center of downtown we were able to walk to all of our conference activities and then go out in the Gaslamp District after.
  • Go Games - My company hired Go Games to come in and host a huge scavenger hunt that had us running all over San Diego. Each team was given a Palm Pilot that gave us clues on where our next destination was and a digital camera to take pictures of our antics. In theory it was a good idea and in practice it was even better. There were actors all over the city waiting to give us hints and we really had to unite as a team and get over formalities real quick if we wanted to win (which we didn't and I'm still salty about that!). I'm sure it costs an arm and a leg to bring it out to your company but all 200+ interns from across America sure appreciated it!
  • Also visited: Historic Chula Vista where my grandmother lived in the '40s and met my grandfather, the greatest "Dirty Dancing"-esque, underground salsa club ever where we danced salsa, merengue, and bachata -- but so underground I can't find the name of it anywhere, the San Diego Wild Animal Park that had a herd of giraffes (you already know I lost my complete mind), + various touristy sites and a gang of diverse clubs in the Gaslamp District (which you must hit up if you're in the area).

I'm happy to report that I can now say with confidence Dallas is nothing like Houston. I'll spare you my usual spiel but if you want a great city in Texas head on down to the great H and save yourself some trouble. Most of the females are shameless and the guys get an all around "W" for wack. However, the ladies I kicked it with while going out and my fellow interns were fantastic people and all around I'd say Dallas is a tolerable place to live....especially if you're living in a fresh apartment in Irving with a waterfall by the pool. Mmmhmmm.
  • Play Date Dallas - Rent out a throwed downtown club, throw down 40 some odd board games down, and get a very fly DJ: genius. My new "grown and sexy" clique from the D-town area hit up this seemingly revolutionary event and we had a blast. We spent the night playing Battle of the Sexes, Uno, and Wii Bowling. I think cover was $10. We met some cool people and acted out but be warned: the average age of attendees was no where near mine...which made it more fun? I know they hold Play Dates in Houston and Atlanta and there are rumors of one in Austin coming up.
  • Sambuca - I actually hit this place up twice this summer. It's by far my favorite restaurant in Dallas and I know there's one in Houston too. Definitely expensive by any measure but it's such a classy place with luxe decorations and phenomenal live music every night and some really good (not greatest ever but really good) food.
  • Galaxy Drive-In Theatre - right outside of Dallas when you're coming up I-45. I'd never been to a drive-in before and it was really fun. The sound is great because it comes in through your stereo and everyone is out there laying on their hoods and trunks with the sound up so it's like ultimate surround sound. Two movies for two people for a total of $12. Granted one of those movies was Death Race, but still a good deal - and fyi Tropic Thunder is a good summer movie.
  • Also visited: Mustangs of Irving, thegreatestnailshopofalltime, and various downtown clubs. Nothing exciting. :-|
The Great Houston, Texas
I worked @ a client in Houston for most of the summer and got to hang with all my friends and family a lot more than I thought going into the internship. Much love to everyone who hit up downtown, the Village, the Gallo, and all the random get togethers - what good is a corporate card when you have no one to enjoy it with?! I saw a lot more of downtown and midtown and saw a side of Houston I haven't seen before. There's so much history and so much effort that goes into keeping the city looking nice. Thank-you Parks and Recreation Department.
  • The Melting Pot - X2. I LOVE this place. "Holly where do we go for your roll off dinner?" "The Melting Pot? Is that too expensive for a big group?" "No...don't worry about that, but that place is always a production." "Perfect." This is fondue done right. I love every course (cheese, meat, and chocolate!!) and literally every bite is scrumptious. It never gets old and the service at the Houston location is outstanding. If you ever want ideas on where to take me for a good meal....
  • The 4th Annual Radio One Family Funday in the Park - Originally I thought this was just a big gospel concert and since I'm always so geeked up about other concerts, why not one with the latest and greatest in gospel music? We showed up just in time for Jason Champion with "Always" and I would've been salty had I missed that. Then Hot Stylez... :-[... with "Lookin' Boy" ( I could've sworn that song was a joke...) followed by BLESS MY SOUL JAZMINE SULLIVAN WHO WAS SO ON FIRE YOU WOULDN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT. Nobody near me knew her stuff yet but best believe I was screaming through "Bust Your Windows" like it was going out of style. I had no idea she was going to be there, I guess all the radio people thought announcing "Midnight Star" and "Teena Marie" (no hating here about them - it got me to come out) would bring more people out to the show. Regardless, the girl can sing and the older women around me and I thoroughly enjoyed the set. James Fortune and FIYA almost had me screaming hysterically they were so powerful as was Marvin Sapp. It's inspiring to see a huge crowd with hundreds of people out there in the Houston summer heat praising God. James Fortune at one point said "don't be afraid to praise, there's somebody out there who doesn't know God who is watching you to see how you praise." That's all I needed to hear to get up and stop acting like I was too cute to praise. When you're going on right before 3 6 Mafia and Eric Benet you know you got a diverse crowd in the house that day. The concert was hot - literally - and we ended up leaving after some 5 hours because I was literally about to have a heat stroke and lemonade cost $6. A great show all around and for $12 including parking I will definitely be hitting up the 5th annual Funday.
  • I went to an Astros vs. Giants game at Minute Maid Park. I haven't been to a MLB game in I don't know how long but it was great and super inexpensive. That night they won 12-4 and Berkman got a Grand Slam. It made for a very exciting game experience which will probably translate into a shorter amount of time before I go back.
  • Other highlights: Traitor with Don Cheedle is a must see, Pineapple Express...not so much but still had me guffawing in the theater at an inappropriate loudness. There's a laser tag/putt putt/batting cage spot near Clear Lake that you should hit up if you haven't done any of the three in a while. I murdered at all of them, clearly.
I don't have much to report on Detroit. My company flew me out there for work and I didn't do much in the way of sightseeing. It was referred to as "the armpit of America" and compared to "New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina - minus the comeback effort." Ouch. It seemed tolerable enough when I was there but then again I don't have to live in Michigan. It sort of reminded me of Beaumont as far as the landscape and industry set up. I was told that, if I did go downtown, and if the police put on their lights I didn't have to stop because car jackings are so bad they'll just get my license and send a ticket in the mail. So I didn't go downtown. I did cross 8 Mile though.

1 comment:

justin said...

Isn't the Detriot Airplane cool?

Eventhough, you have to walk miles to get to baggage claim.