The Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society sponsored a historic bus tour last Friday. I was able to go since I’m a college student and this was free to all students.
First stop was Mount Gilead Baptist Church. Our tour guide told us this is the oldest black church in Fort Worth and 4 churches have come from this church. It had incredibly detailed stain glass windows through out and was three levels, the main, the balcony and the basement which was where the children did Sunday school. Our guide told us that military used to use the pool on the bottom floor to swim, although now the pool is closed. The church in this current state has been here since August 31, 1913. The view from the second floor balcony was amazing and glad I got this panoramic shot. This church was a major hub of community. Downstairs in the basement was a wall with all the outstanding members and had clips about their roles.
Next stop to view the monument of the first millionaire black man, Bill “Gooseneck” McDonald. I didn’t get a good clear shot since we couldn’t enter the graveyard during this time. This past weekend I watched a talk about him from the Fort Worth Library. I am interested in knowing about all successful people, worth a watch especially how Bob Ray Sanders and Jan Jones speaking about him. Plus I dig this about his monument from Hometown by Handlebar : At Oakwood William Madison “Gooseneck Bill” McDonald is said to have chosen for his final resting place a hillside where this thirty-eight-foot-tall obelisk can look down upon the North Main Street lodge hall of a different fraternal lodge—the Ku Klux Klan. The final laugh.
I got several shots from Evan’s Plaza – I went through and took a picture of every single carved in historical marker so definitely go down there to read. There is not much in this area currently but the City of Fort Worth has created plans to use this area, a former nightlife entertainment district, for retail with professional offices in the future. Right now this space looks perfect for an outdoor concert! There isn’t much in terms of structure for a stage for the main area has a lot of grass area for picnicking behind it. There are memorials along the sidewalk commemorating performers of the past.
Last place was the Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum, a gallery inside of a house with four large rooms on the bottom. I wish I had more time because I really do just stare at art.
I take a great interest in art and getting to see new artists was awesome. All of our guides knew so much and had awesome personalities that this was lot of fun.
I found this great video that goes over these spots! Our tour guide was a blast & at one point she told us to shut up till we got to our next stop. We all laughed because we were all listening so it might have seemed like we were not paying attention.
Glad I got to take this bus tour. You can join the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society and sign up to be a volunteer on their website. I am thankful for these members to show us a side of Fort Worth I have never gotten seen. I like how the City of Fort Worth is helping preserve this history for generations to come.
Let me know in the comments how you celebrated Black History Month this year!
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This is the first time I have not flown directly into Quito. My favorite part has always been flying down into Quito and seeing all the lights and completely stressing if the plane was going to crash into the side of the city! Since I can remember I always felt like the landing was dangerous after my cousins told me, “YES PLANES CRASH INTO QUITO!” So this year I was glad there was a new airport and it would be a major change from landing in a prison looking airport – even though it would be out of the city. Think how DFW airport is in Irving when you have a party to get to in Dallas minus the insane constant construction.
THIS NEW AIRPORT IS BEAUTIFUL! When we landed in the morning it was so beautiful to be in the mountains. AeroMexico was such a wonderful flight of luxury that I was able to sleep until around 5 AM and saw this
Excitement! I would rather travel at night so I can sleep and wake up to be there, however, my excitement wouldn’t let me. I pulled up a guide for Ecuador and read up on the current political environment and what things there were to. I was so determined to do everything. I have two months here. I have a lot of energy! I. CAN. DO. EVERYTHING!
Beautiful country side and getting to see over Quito made this one the best landing I have ever had.
The airport itself was easier to navigate and there was a bathroom right at International customs so much easier. Now there is a mall area for those who have long lay over. Just cross over the taxies and busses. It has several major brand stores but of course the cost is high in there. The parking garage is on the other side of the mall. Having Wifi at the airport made for a great time to check messages and get new podcast downloads before I left with my friend to the Galapagos Islands.
Found these awesome pictures Instagram. Loved these shots.
Listas para volar. A photo posted by Pablo Fiallos (@psfiallos) on
Off she goes – estoy muy feliz y orgulloso de ti. Vuela alto y cumple todos tus sueños, alcanza cada una de tus metas y nunca te olvides que eres capaz de cosas grandes. Te amo ❤️🐸 A photo posted by Nicolas Echeverria (@nicolasecheverria) on
Of course the best part of landing in any airport is having family to welcome you home.
What is your favorite airport?
Although I was born in Ecuador, I typically come to only visit family. I never have gone to do tourist things or go on tours of any area. This past summer I went to the most beautiful islands on Earth and did activities I never planned to manifest. I had moments where I was surrounded by love and then moments where I was about to make a phone call to just buy a ticket home. It was strange having that feeling that I had to get back to the United States even though Ecuador is my original home. I got a bad case of the gringos. Learned some rough lessons and here they are!
1. You don’t need internet to live but you it really helps.
Ecuador has had spotty wifi even at the most expensive hotels I’ve stayed at. When I spent a week in Atacames I would go to a wonderful internet Cafe, Michelle Cafe at the plaza square, and spend 1 to 2 hours to update my social media, this blog and try to Skype friends in the states to help out with issues back in the states. There would also be several days I just did not have internet at all. I ended up not minding at all after a while. So many folks say they would DIE without the internet but I ended up living so much more. I would have wonderful meals with my mom, family and new friends I met. I still had my phone camera so we would take pictures & even play with the PhotoBooth on my Macbook Air. There would be no one else in the world except us, right there. Or myself.
2. Be open to anything and ANYTHING will happen.
There were many times when I simply did not want to do anything other than be alone just because I was so exhausted from traveling or not feeling well yet I was like, “Okay, let me see what happens,” and I would say yes and engage. I know in Banos, I did not even WANT to do any type of anything except all the spa treatments and hang out at the heated pools. I was just standing in a tour guide with my friend being all excited and I was like, “Okay, sure.” I know that even know I was permanently traumatized after my first waterfall (with FOUR MORE TO GO) that I was going to be okay. After a busy day in Esmeraldas, I called off going to a concert but when I got there, it was AMAZING! I have never heard such awesome music and the beer was a DOLLAR! Being open to anything and a bunch of awesome happens.
3. You can speak enough Spanish so just say it.
I have always been insecure about how much Spanish I could speak bc I have never read a novel or wrote a blog or do not have a degree in Spanish. However, I have been able to get anything I need, go anywhere and get my message across with my broken Spanish. When I took a cab after a bus ride alone I was forced to explain where I was going and instead of saying “El Bandenero,” I said, “El Bananos.” This cab driver looked at me like I was lost & then I described what I was talking about and where and he was looked at me in the rear view mirror and said, “Where are you from?” It was funny to explain I was visited family in town and I lived in the USA and no I was not deported. I’ve met other travelers who did NOT speak ANYTHING Spanish at all & they were able to communicate. People in Ecuador are always looking to helps other, do not believe this place is dangerous all over. Of course the non-tourist cities are dangerous but over all people will tell you NOT to go some places after dark and check before heading out to keep yourself safe. My family made sure I did not walk around with my jewelry and to hide my smartphone because it would get stolen right out of the car window.
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
The bathroom situation in some places, on the road bus stops for the over 4 hour bus rides were standing situations. I went to a fair for Esmeraldas Independence day (well it was a week celebration) and realized, “OMG, I have to take this water from there to here to make my poo go away!” I have never been so connected to my own bowel movements. I would spend nights at a hostel just wishing for A/C so I could literally chill. Some bus rides I would repeatedly have to pull the person next to me so their elbow would get out of my rib cage. Times I would have to share a bed, which was just a mattress on a floor and there were no windows and it was a high traffic area. Couch surfing is not a luxurious option but I was staying as budget friendly as possible so in the end I’m happy for the way things rolled out. I became completely fine with funny smells, loud noises and generally being inconvenienced in every way possible. In the end, I am thankful that I did not spend my summer in a cubical then in traffic.
5. Time spent with family is well spent. My first trip was to Alausi and I visited my grandmother’s grave. I never my maternal grandmother as she passed away before I was born, but this was the family grave. I visited my Uncle’s grave and my grandfather’s grave. I was overwhelmed with feelings when my mom expressed she did not want to be buried here. I did spent this summer with my mom because her health has been so bad the past years and I had no idea when I would be able to spend so much time with her. This trip has helped our relationship a great deal. I have also been able to bond with my second cousins more than ever. Now that my Spanish is better than ever, I have had some great conversations with these people I usually just see on Skype. I am normally just a silly person that I act goofy all the time but there were great moments to bond with my family.
I will be heading back to the states in a week and I am sure that I will be sad to leave but I am glad there are always planes flying back so I can visit again.
Also I have been having a rough time with the WiFi so join me on Facebook: HydroSupraLicked as I post pics and my typically CHECK THIS OUT posts from the short 1-2 hours I get on the internet.
Last night I was a part of a ceremony that was years in the making. I am careful about who I pray in ceremony with and who holds the meeting and stress details so that I rarely go. Yet last week I found a trusted healer I know from Texas had moved to Ecuador and I could visit her and go to a ceremony and to Vision Quest!
We went to a sweat on Tuesday night and I realized that I have wanted to have a ceremony in my home country with someone I knew I trusted and felt safe.
Today I spent most of the day reflecting since there are no words to fully explained what happened. The experience was more emotional than visual, although the visual aspect was so intense that I cried since I with gratitude. I still am. I have been thanking everything since then.
I am in the perfect place.
I look forward to all that I am to learn.
- Lost a bag in Mexico City.
- Had to share a bed with a farter.
- Hear a pig scream for an hour in the middle of the night.
- Getting lost in small town and having to climb to the tallest part to find way back.
- Forgetting to eat because OCEAN then getting sick for a day.
- Accepting every whiskey shot offered then got hung over.
- Walking on the party strip and falling down FOR NO REASON.
- Not having water on a 6 hour ride.
- Having my accent made fun of.
- NO WI-FI
It is still worth it because I get to look at this at sunset.
The scariest stores I ever heard when I was little were all set around La Nariz Del Diablo. I just was told that the Devil lives there and ghosts are all around the area. I was told this so many times that even NOW as an adult I do not like any kind of ghost stories AT ALL. Turns out that building the stretch of tracks did end up with thousands of workers dying. Even people believed that the Devil did not want these tracks to be built so everyone working there would die. It was such a beautiful day that I did not even think about any possible hauntings in the area. The $30 ticket is very much worth it. There is also a stop at the base of mountains to take pictures. Locals come with a llama and the $1.00 photo op is very much worth it.
Found a Spanish documentary about this area. It is so utterly beautiful here and I could not take an excellent phone since there was so much fog right when we arrived at the lower valley. Some of the photos in this documentary are also in the museum. However, I do not remember anyone serving me at the cafe, lol, maybe that used to happen but not when I went. Love the footage of Alasui as well! I am happy that I got to spend 4 days here, Alasui is such a sleepy town but during the time I was able to spend there I was very much alive.
Remember going on bus ride for school field trips? This is how it feels to ride a bus from Quito to Quitumbe Terminal, about a 30 minute ride. I am excited and know I am going to learn something and yes I forgot snacks but vendors will come on the bus with drinks and food! The buses remind me of tour buses with how much room there is under the bus to store luggage and the seats are extra plus also you have moments when fall alseep next to someone you do not know well as their elbow digs into your rib cage. I have only had that happen once!
I rode around on 4 buses one day and eventually all the buses would end up at a terminal. So you can never STAY lost because evenutally you will end up at a terminal. This is important because in Dallas the bus line will end some where random with no station or rail AT MIDNIGHT – when the lines all are done. I do not ride alone after dark.
Quitumbe Terminal. Very clean, still have to pay 15 cents to buy paper to use the bathroom. Food galore and wonderful wifi. This place just looks like a mall and was so happy to place to get water and use the ladies room.
Now the dusk settles in as I leave the outskirts of town. We drove right AROUND the city. Riding bus through Quito is a completely different experience.
The moment my plane ticket for Quito, Ecuador was purchase the first thing I thought of what the great food that I would get.
In morning I went to a central market and got fresh juice, Jugo natural. I decided on the carrot juice. Look at all these wonderful fresh made juice. I had to ask for “sin azucar” – without sugar – because the vendor will add it without asking. Price for a glass of fresh juice at this location? 50 cents.
Some tourist don’t like when vendor get on the buses to sell food and drinks so I look forward to it. This is called “chochos con toastados” It roasted corn, bean, red onion, fried banana, a wedge of limo and small bag of salt. This is a snack size and only 50 cents.
Finally got all 6 of the bags checked in and waiting to aboard a plane for a 3 hour lay over till my mom and I get to Quito.
So why am I flying with 3 bags each weighing 50 lbs each? I’m spending the summer in South America. I regularly donate my clothing; so giving away my clothing makes sense. Every time I read a travel blog they all mention HOW CHEAP it is to visit. None have mentioned how incredibly expensive clothing costs.
My mom & I looked like we were MOVING as we had a porter guide us to the Aeromexico baggage check-in.
Then we spent 20 minutes checking baggage in.
We had used a baggage scale from Stein Mart and we figured that it would be a couple of pounds off. Wishful thinking – so we over packed every single bag of the 6 bags. THAT MEANS WE HAD TO PULL SEVERAL POUNDS FROM EVERY SINGLE BAG! So much work and it was humid and over 95F. Thankful, I was wearing yoga pants and my Two:Tone shirt because this whole repacking thing was a real work out! I ended up having to change out my carry on bag with a Playstation 3 as I know the bag handlers throw bags everywhere. Two years ago the game console that was packed with clothing all around ended up breaking so I had to move my clothing I had planned on wearing out into a small duffle bag.
My mom is trying to negotiate a way to not pay the extra $12 per kilo but in the end we both got our carry on to the limit and had to pay $225 for extra weight. The extra clothing that did not physically fit into any bags cost $125. The cost of not wearing a single outfit twice.
My mom and I had a wonderful flight from DFW to Mexico City. The flight wasn’t full we so each had our own row. Perfect. AeroMexico is luxury in the sky! No issues boarding, no delayed flights, we even got dinner & the flight from Mexico to Quito we had SECOND DINNER!
Then we have to pick up our bags at Mexico City to have check into to head to Quito. That is when it happens. The last bag that I had to pull my carry on from is gone. I’m so tired from going through customs as well as carrying my mom’s carry on as well. I start to realize that my bag is gone. Now anyone reading this can think, “Hello diva, you got 250 lbs of clothing, don’t trip over ONE bag.” Well of course I did, that bag was the clothing that I actually want to keep.
Now I’m about a 6 hour ride away from the Quito airport and still waiting to find out if my bag was ever found. I do not feel bad for myself at all. I did have myself a small pity party from the Mexico city airport’s baggage claim to the gate but I’m fine now. Whatever. I have enough.
Right when I decided it didn’t matter if my clothes came through or not my cousin sends me a picture on Facebook of my bag.
Life is good.