I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Texas in a Texas

On vacation this week, staying with my folks in Fort Worth, TX. My mom very kindly babysat Julian overnight to give us a bit of "real" vacation, so we stayed at the Gaylord Texan (brought to you by the same people who created the Opryland hotel, where I attended a conference a few year ago.

Before we went a couple of friends in Fort Worth said they would be curious to see what I thought of the place as an anthropologist, since it claims to be a sort of indoor recreation of Texas...it is and it isn't. Yes, there are recreations of an oil rig, the Alamo, the San Antonio riverwalk, and Palo Duro Canyon. But the lush tropical vegetation inside isn't quite what you really see (and Texas does have several ecological zones, many with some very nice plants).

So, it is Texas in the same way Las Vegas hotels are the places they purport to be, admittedly without the casinos--which probably makes the Texan more appealing. We certainly had fun walking around, hanging out at the pool, sitting on our balcony overlooking the Lone Star Atrium--heck, for us it was a night out without the baby!

So I am not sure what to say anthropologically. It is odd to be in a totally climate controlled "outdoor" environment. At the same time, with outside temps at 100F and a red pollution alert, inside ain't so bad...

An observation open for interpretation, though. Like Las Vegas hotels, the staff at the Texan have name badges that also list their hometown by city and state. At breakfast, I noticed that the busboy's badge only said "Mexico." Hmm. Though later, I noticed the concierge was also from Mexico, but nametag said Ciuidad Juarez, Chihuahua.

2 comments:

Steve Portigal said...

Did you turn off your XML feed? Bloglines can't find it, the standard blogger form (appending atom.xml) doesn't work, etc. etc.

Thanks

Alex said...

Didn't turn it off...but apparently there was some funny formatting brought into a couple of entries that I originally composed in Word. Cleaned up now, feeds should work. Thanks for alerting me!