Gnomeversation: Small Talk with World Series Rivals
Gnome’s Note: Hello chaps, it’s the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Even though I have a rather impressive list of travels under my belt, globetrotters like me still fancy a few new travel tidbits now and again. That’s why I’m interviewing Travelocity’s very own destination experts. Meet me here every Wednesday to learn about a smashing new place.
Oh my! I am faced with a rather difficult decision. Giants or Rangers? You see, I spend a fair amount of time with Travelocity chaps in San Francisco and Texas, so I’m quite divided as you can imagine. I thought a quick chat with fans in both these places may settle my World Series dilemma once and for all, but now I’m even more perplexed!
Travelocity destination experts Ryan Ong, a die-hard Giants fan, and Aida Calderon, a devoted Rangers groupie, gave me some tidbits about their favorite cities: San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Here they are:
Ryan and his lovely wife in San Francisco (left)
Aida at a Rangers’ game (right)
Roaming Gnome: I’m a bit befuddled. Who should I cheer for? I would blend smashingly in the Rangers crowd – I do look handsome in blue and red, you know – but that Lincecum throws one doosie of a pitch!
Aida, The Ranger: A gnome should always fit well within its environment. It’s a dead giveaway with your handsome red and white signature outfit. There is no question that you should cheer for the Texas Rangers, but if I may say so myself, you would look smashing in any outfit! Consider this my dear roaming friend: Nolan Ryan, a legend in his own right, as their new owner ; Cliff Lee as our starting pitcher with a 7-0 record in the postseason; the exceptional teamwork that Josh Hamilton exudes for the Texas Rangers team, not to mention the fact that we dominated the series versus the Yankees. All good clues as to who your favorite team should be! One last thing to consider.. .the big boss lives in Dallas!
Roaming Gnome: Aida, you make a good point…the marvelous Hugh Jones, Travelocity’s CEO, does indeed live in the heart of Rangers country. Ryan, is there a better reason to cheer for the Giants? It best be a good one…
Ryan, The Giant: Everyone knows that Gnomes have a reputation for being small in stature, so why wouldn’t you want to be a Giant? When the Phillies played the Giants in the National League Championship Series, everyone said that the Phillies were favored to win. But in my opinion, the Giants won because despite who was favored, the city and the team had more “heart” in the game. So I say, cheer for San Francisco and have the “heart” of a Giant.
Roaming Gnome: I have always wondered what it would be like to be giant! I’m still waffling, though. What’s the latest and greatest thing happening in your cities? I mean, besides the World Series!
Aida, The Ranger: The DFW Metroplex is buzzing with new and exciting events, and Arlington, Texas is hosting Superbowl XLV on Februarty 6, 2011. The host committee is made up of five major cities in the DFW Metroplex including Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, and Grapevine. All cities are collaborating to make this the best Superbowl in recent history. The game will be held in Cowboys Stadium, which recently broke an attendance record of 108,000 people when they hosted the NBA All Star game last February.
Ryan, The Giant: San Francisco has a lot going on right now. Once the World Series is over, baseball fans will now be able to book tours of AT&T Park (where the Giants play) on Travelocity. But for the non sports fanatic, there are quite a few hot activities to do in San Francisco. In Union Square, all of the best designer brands and shops are starting to run sales for those early “Holiday and Christmas” Shoppers. Also, San Francisco has been bustling with tourists as it is home to one of California’s biggest and newest attractions: The California Academy of Sciences. At this new facility, families can find an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and a four story rainforest encounter all under one roof. Plus, with a Penguin habitat, who wouldn’t want to go see cute penguins playing all day?
Roaming Gnome: Well, I certainly won’t be bored when I visit! What do you think most people think of when they hear about your cities? Are they right or wrong?
Aida, The Ranger: “Everything is bigger in Texas!” And, I believe they are absolutely right – The DFW Metroplex is the fourth largest in the nation. The city of Dallas’ slogan “Live Large and Think BIG” fits perfectly within this mythical phenomenon. Most people also think of Cowboy hats and boots, and while we do have some Western flair, the DFW Metroplex is a melting pot of many nationalities, a large urban and arts district, amazing culinary venues covering all parts of the globe and did I mention shopping??? We have world class shopping opportunities from high end boutiques and malls to eclectic, trendy and vintage shopping venues.
Ryan, The Giant: San Francisco has always had the reputation of being one of the greatest iconic cities in the world. And if you ask anyone from San Francisco, without hesitation they will agree. When you are surrounded by views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Alcatraz, you can’t help but love this city. There is so much more to San Francisco than what is known to the masses, though, so I definitely recommend venturing off the beaten path.
Roaming Gnome: I’m often hungry. What’s the best thing to eat to get a taste of some local flavor?
Aida, The Ranger: We are known for BBQ , Tex Mex and fried food, so the next culinary suggestions will give you a good sampling of what makes us Texans happy – some good ole’ grub. You must make it a point to visit Sonny Bryan’s smokehouse in Downtown Dallas. Since you are a novice BBQ eater, you must order “The Pitmaster” – it is an excellent sampler of delicious beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs. If you want to get your TexMex on, I would recommend Esparza’s Mexican Restaurant in Grapevine – it is located a hop, skip and jump from the airport, and they have some of the best fajitas and margaritas in town (limit two, but they may make an exception for a handsome, gnome fellow like yourself.)
If you are in the mood for fried chicken, another favorite is Babe’s Chicken House in Roanoke (a brand new one will open on Nov. 1 in Arlington, TX) Your menu options will be fried chicken or chicken fried steak – a word for the wise – you may consider them for an early dinner and not for your lunch break – some people have been known to feel comatose after eating a half of a fried chicken.
Ryan, The Giant: There are a lot of great eateries throughout the city, from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach, San Francisco’s Little Italy. You’ll find that the options are endless. I specifically like the fact that most of the restaurants here are unique and non-chain. But the best thing to eat in San Francisco has to be all the fresh seafood. Everyone enjoys hot New England Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, or getting down and dirty with cracking some fresh Dungeness Crab. Eating fresh seafood is one of the appeals to visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, but if you want to get away from the tourists, try Woodhouse Fish Company or PPQ Dungeness Island.
Roaming Gnome: Anything local I should make sure to try while I’m at the ballpark watching the games? I’m a huge baseball fan, you know.
Aida, The Ranger: My suggestion for this one is simple – a very cold beer accompanied by a Loaded Big Dog ( ½ pound hot dog loaded with chili, cheese and grilled onions) along with a basket of Cajun French fries.
Ryan, The Giant: There are two things that you’ll want to try while at AT&T Park. One is the Irish Nachos – French fries covered in hot chili, onions, melted cheese, and jalapenos. The second thing you’ll want is a Ghirardelli Sundae which is ice cream smothered in Ghirardelli chocolate fudge. Like a Giant, they’re both big on taste.
Roaming Gnome: Say I want to catch a game at a local hangout. Where should I go? I’m looking for a place I can blend in. Well, as much as one can blend in when one is a small ceramic Gnome.
Aida, The Ranger: Again, I am torn like an old sweater since there are a ton of venues in the DFW Metroplex to watch the game, but here it goes – One of my favorite spots in Arlington, TX to watch the game is Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery. They have a Texas size selection of freshly brewed beers, the largest HDTV screen I have ever seen at any sports bar and a shuttle to both the Ballpark in Arlington and the Cowboys Stadium. If you are in the mood for some scenic views (pretty girls in dashing outfits) you can go join the crowds at Twin Peaks in Mesquite, TX or Bone Daddys’ in Arlington, TX.
Ryan, The Giant: With all the popular sports bars and restaurants, that is a very tough question. Seeing that gnomes are known for bringing good luck, and being placed outside your house, I would say you should go to Public House. Public House is the gathering place for beer, sports, and eats. Appropriately, it’s also located onsite at AT&T Park, so maybe you can help bring the Giants some luck! If you want to venture away from the park, try Greens Sports Bar in Russian Hill, Kezar on Stanyan or Final Final in Cow Hollow.
A question for you, chaps: Who do you think I should cheer for? Any particular reason why you think they’re the best?
California Vacation Deals (Travelocity)
Texas Vacations (Travelocity)
My name: The Travelocity Roaming Gnome
How I earn my keep: I roam the world finding great deals, upholding the Travelocity Guarantee, and looking rather handsome while doing it.
What kind of traveler I am: A small and perfectly-formed one.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Just because you can climb into the overhead baggage compartment and stay there for the rest of the flight, doesn’t mean you should.
Travel ambition: To never again miss my plane because I’ve stopped to take a photo with a fellow traveler who’s spotted me. Ah, it’s tough work being a charmingly lovable travel mascot, I’ll tell you that.
First thing I do in a new place: Make friends.
When I’m not traveling: I’m browsing the SkyMall catalogue, toasting crumpets, testing beard conditioners, and planning my next trip.