Last Thursday night, my best fran from Korea flew into Dallas. We went to The Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson, snuggled and smushed our faces in soft tiny kittens provided by Operation Kindness, sat down to watch Keanu, stuffed our faces, and nearly died of laughter. After that at my place, we watched the misand-marvelous 2009 Wonder Woman movie and snuggled bigger fluffy cats.
Friday morning we went for a long walk around the neighborhood, ate breakfast burritos, and drove down to the Dallas World Aquarium, which we discovered was hosting literally a thousand elementary school students on field trips that day. We enjoyed it all the same, snapped pics with the sloth, acquired alcoholic slushies, made goo-goo baby noises at the tiny monkeys and bats, and admired the majestic flap-flaps.
With a bit of time to kill, we wandered to the Perot Museum’s outdoor exhibits and gift shop before grabbing some tasty Tex-Mex at El Fenix and dipping our toes in the splash park area of the playground at Klyde Warren Park. Then we drove to Spa Castle for a long afternoon of relaxing indulgence, where we later met another friend, slurped some delicious boba smoothies, chatted about bunny rabbits for an hour or two, and grabbed Korean dinner. After the thunderstorms and evening rush hour had passed, we drove home with a fantastic lightning show.
Saturday morning we trekked to Plano for coffee at an independent coffeehouse that had so few outlets we had to change seats THREE times to finally plug in and do some morning work. Starbucks would have been better.
After that, we drove to Allen for a brewery tour at Nine Bands, wherein we encountered multiple instances of—not exactly astounding but entirely predictable—casual sexism but fired back with our own wit and got buzzed enough to laugh and kvetch about it privately.
Next on the itinerary: TACO FESTIVAL. Not as great as it sounded, to be honest. This event is way too big for its venue, and as tasty as the tacos were, the luchador match was underwhelming, and we had no desire to stay long pressed against the crowds in that warm afternoon sun. So we headed home and had a nap before dressing up to go out.
I’d recently heard about a new hip-hop nightclub on the radio called Truth. We arrived just in time for free admission, waited absurdly long for a drink while two other bartenders stood around doing nothing, and balked at the total printed on the receipt. We danced a bit but didn’t stay long, choosing to drive to Oak Lawn instead.
We walked into Station 4 and headed upstairs to the Rose Room to catch the drag show. The place was PACKED, so we took a seat in an emptier space in back and watched the show on the TVs on the wall. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but FOREST front and center with Cassie. Surprise/not surprise, really. I wound my way through the throngs to say hello and see if he might have reserved any extra seats for the show and then went back for Kaitlin to come sit up front. The stage has new features including an LED screen backdrop and fan, and the performers were fantastic as always. Later we went downstairs and danced for a bit before heading home late.
The 5k we’d signed up for on Sunday was rescheduled due to flooding, so we went to see The Jungle Book instead. It was beautiful, and I teared up more than once. I loveloveLOVED Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba as Bagheera and Shere Khan, respectively. Gosh, I could listen to them talk forever.
We took advantage of the unexpectedly mild weather to visit the Dallas Arboretum. My friend remarked on a girl's dress as we entered, and I explained that lots of families plan their quincaeñera photo shoots here. She sighed wistfully and expressed disappointment at never having had a lovely quincaeñera dress. I joked with her, "But you got white privilege instead, so suck it up, Buttercup. That's the trade-off." We chuckled and sighed at the sad reality of it. The gardens had a lot of new features added since I last visited, and after touring all of the grounds, we laid out blankets in the shade to read books and nap.
We had just enough time for dinner at Babe's Chicken Dinner House, perfectly completing my friend's tour of Southern cuisine, and got our desserts to go. Fortunately, we managed to change and and do our makeup in a mere 20 minutes before rushing back out to catch the train to Fair Park to see Wicked, the grand finale of our weekend. We'd splurged on good seats since this was our first time seeing it, and it was worth every penny. I wasn't familiar with the soundtrack except for two songs, so the whole thing was a jaw-dropping delight for me. I was floored by the vocal acrobatics and fell in love with every word from Elphaba's mouth.We arrived home late but weren't ready for the night to end, so I introduced my friend to the delightful Netflix series Glitter Force, a "glitter-tastic!" over-the-top, straight-faced satire of every five-girl transforming-warrior anime there ever was, best consumed with alcohol. And then we called it a night and got nearly enough sleep to get up to go to the airport and (for me) then work on Monday.
Playing tour guide for someone new to the city can be such a blast when you save up for it and go all-in.