Monday, January 4, 2010

Amarillo excitement

During the Christmas break, we took a little trip to Oklahoma City to visit my brother and his wonderful wife and children. Because of our infant, we decided to do the eastbound leg in two easy stages, spending the night in Amarillo, Texas. I can't even hear "Amarillo" (pronounced the Texas way, not the proper Spanish word for "yellow") without thinking of the country song "Amarillo By Morning"; via Grooveshark, I proceeded to inflict various versions of "Amarillo By Morning" and random other songs about Texas on my long-suffering husband. (I love George Strait's music!)

After a pleasant drive through rural America, we arrived in the early afternoon at the motel. I was so excited for Vietnamese food--pho, specifically--for dinner, having done some internet research beforehand. There's a little strip mall in northeast Amarillo that has several authentic Laotian, Vietnamese, and Thai food restaurants. In the darkness, though, it was a scary little group of restaurants with minimal lighting in the parking light, empty storefronts, and an overall ghetto appearance. Then when we entered the restaurant, we nearly choked on the cigarette smoke. Who knew that you could still smoke in restaurants in Texas? Fortunately, the only smokers were Vietnamese guys playing cards together at one table, and they were kind enough to stop when they realized that we had small children and the smoke was bothering us. The pho was tasty, although the broth wasn't as yummy as I've had in the past; I was very happy, however, that they gave me basil leaves instead of cilantro, as has happened to me at a couple of restaurants in Colorado. Cilantro is for salsa, not Vietnamese pho.

The next morning we hit Cadillac Ranch (truly an odd landmark), the local botanical gardens (not much to see in the winter, sadly), and historic Route 66. All that sightseeing took us less than two hours, and then we left Amarillo. Would you believe that I didn't see a single man wearing a cowboy hat in Amarillo? From what I saw on our drive, the real cowboys live in rural areas and seem to prefer baseball caps these days.

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