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Wednesday, December 13, 2000

First things first. I'm in Dallas. Well, Irving. Well, technically a little burb called Las Colinas. It's the nice new part of Irving. Undoubtedly this land was ranches or farms about ten years ago. Now it's a sea of oversized houses, office parks, and strip malls. My first revelation upon arrival was that going to a restaurant here is seriously inexpensive. Dinner at Cheddar's on Monday night (roughly equivalent to Spoons or Chile's in California, but with more meat), was a mere $5.99 a plate. You could get a burger and fries for just $3.99. Now this is in a nice sit down and be served restaurant. It makes McDonald's look expensive by comparison. The breakfast buffet at the hotel including bagels, muffins, eggs, potatoes, bacon, ham, sausage, biscuits, gravy, cereal, orange juice, coffee, tea, and so on, is just $3.00. The one catch is that if you are a vegetarian, you're fairly likely to starve to death here. As someone who doesn't eat beef, I've been hard pressed survive. There's steak available everywhere. And ribs. Not being one to enjoy large quantities of any meat, this California girl is looking forward to her weekends back home.

The other thing that I've noticed about Dallas is that every time I come here, there is some sort of bizzarre and extreme weather pattern. Today we're in the midst of an ice storm. Here's how my evening went last night:
I decided that since the antibiotics I was taking didn't seem to be doing any good, I should go back to the doctor. Through my window I could see Baylor Health Center. I figured I'd head over to their Urgent Care Center after I left the office. So I headed out yesterday about 4:30 and found my car entirely coated in ice. As I was leaving the airport on Monday, they made sure I had an ice scraper in the glove box. Now I got my big chance to use it!!! Oh boy! So I cracked open the door, turned on the engine and the defroster, waved the wipers a few times with no results, and then started chipping away at the ice with the scraper. Being sick already, this was no mean feat. At 4:55, I headed out to the clinic. I arrived at 5:01 to find a sign on the door that said, "Closed at 5:00 due to weather." After having chipped ice off the windshield to get to this point, this was a little more than I could handle just then. I banged on the door and got a clerk to scream at me, "We're closed!" I croaked, "But I have a question!" She ambled over to the door and without opening it said, "Yah." I asked, "So where do I go instead?" She pointed me to the ER down the street. Great. While I knew I didn't need an Emergency Room visit, I was definitely sick, and I'd lost my voice two and a half days ago with no signs of improvement since. Grudgingly, I trudged off to the ER, cursing stupid Dallas with it's stupid ice storm and stupid people all the way. At the ER they assured me I really was sick and it was okay to come in and they gave me new antibiotics and such and sent me on my way. When I headed back to my car, the previously chipped off ice had returned with a vengence. And it was raining. So I stood in the rain, chipping off ice for fifteen minutes, wondering what I could possibly find to eat this evening. I wanted either a burrito or pizza. Neither was to be had. There was the BBQ place, the Wendy's, the McDonalds, the Chick-a-fil-a (which seemed really scary), the Cheddar's (which I had already confirmed was way too meat intensive), the John Astor's Grill (for steak!), and several other places where I could get large chunks of meat. I kept driving around the area, thinking if I just went far enough, there would be a nice Una Mas, or maybe a Pizzaria Uno. Ha ha ha ha! You will have meat little girl! Okay, so I was getting punchy at this point. So I grabbed a Filet o' Fish from McDonalds and headed back to the hotel. My mission tonight is to try to get real food for dinner, and maybe to dye my hair. Wish me luck!

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