This morning my parents and I ran like clockwork, got done and down the lobby at 8:45, 15 minutes early. We loaded up the car and then waited for Michelle and Davin to arrive. After they got to the hotel, we all piled into her Toyota Matrix and made the 3 mile drive over to the Galleria.
We spent the next two hours walking this gigantic mall. It wasn’t as big as the Mall of America, but it still kept us plenty busy. It was the stratification of the mall shops that I found particularly interesting. Sure the Mall of America groups certain shops near to each other…all the “Teenie-bopper” shops are near each other, etc. But, the floors at the Galleria were laid out as follows:
- Floor 0 - The “Skating Kids” Level - Here’s where you find the ice skating rink, which fills the floor of the center rotunda of the mall, along with all the supporting shops and a simple food court.
- Floor 1 - The “Posh” Level - Filled with shops like Versace and Louis Vuitton. I do believe there were signs that said, “You can only shop on this level if you have no idea what your credit limit is!”
- Floor 2 - The “Upper-Class” Level - This level was filled with your normal upscale shops for shoppers which lots of discretionary income. Bath and Body Works, Starbucks, Gap, etc.
- Floor 3 - The “Peasant” Level - This is where you’d find things like Lunar Mini Golf, the kids’ play area, the dollar store, etc.
The thing was, the layout of the mall is one long run split across two sides of an open space from floor to ceiling. You could sit up on the peasant level and watch people on each of the lower levels do their shopping. It was rather interesting to see the different classes so segregated.
At 11, we scooted over to the Grand Lux Cafe, a restaurant by the same people who brought us The Cheesecake Factory. The styling is very similar inside, if not a bit brighter, and the menu is approximately filled with the same huge variety one has come to expect from this style of restaurant. The food was marvelous, with generous portions, truly a great meal.
We all piled back in the Matrix, drove back to the hotel and said our goodbyes. I gave my Sister and Bro-In-Law the gifts I had brought along for them and they seemed to love all of them. Then we hopped in our car and proceeded to head out of town. Final departure time was 12:45pm.
We headed up I-35 and decided to stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial since we were driving right by it. The memorial is amazing - all of the thought that went into it is readily apparent and appreciated. There is a chair for each person who lost their lives that day, all arranged by floor and their approximate location in the building at the time of the blast. Children have smaller chairs than the adults do, which makes itself apparent when you see all of the little chairs on the second floor - the location of the daycare. The reflection pool is a thin film of water cascading over granite recovered from the building, which is a really wonderful effect. Everything was thoughtfully done, a fitting memorial for such a tragedy.
We hopped back in the car and proceeded north again on I-35. We drove, spent time listening to music on the iPod, talked, had a great drive. Stopped at Sonic for dinner, otherwise we just stopped for gas/potty breaks when we needed to. I had the last shift, so I took a short nap in the backseat on our way through Kansas. I drove the last four hours, during which time my dad and I both saw a shooting star over the road in front of us, and we arrived home around 5am. My parents dropped me (and my bags) off and then headed home themselves, another half hour drive.
The drives were exhausting, both there and back. Even tho we made it in a day, it wipes you out the following day while you recover.
The trip itself was great. I had a great time seeing Dallas, where my Sister and my Bro-In-Law live, seeing Dealy Plaza and enjoying Thanksgiving with my family. Now it’s back to the real world…lots of work to do (both professionally and in prep for the holiday season) in the next few weeks.