Tag Archives: Training


Dealey Plaza

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Categories: Trip 2019, Tags:

Back in January this year (2019) I travelled to Dallas, Texas to continue an architecture course that I’d started in late 2018.

This would be the second of three trips, the last trip was in early April (2019).

It’s stretch to really consider these trips are travelling, since much of the time in-country was spent in a classroom (7:30am-5pm each day) with only the evenings to do anything worthwhile.  On the final day of the second trip, due to a stuff up with the training schedule, myself and a colleague ended up with a full free day in Dallas.  While my colleague stayed at the hotel to catch up on some work, I decided to do some solo tourism.  In Dallas, there was one particular location that held my interest above all: Dealey Plaza – the location of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.


Luckily for me, there was a train station right outside the hotel, so I didn’t have to battle the scary Dallas freeways by myself.   The journey took about 40 minutes each way and owing to a late start that day, I only had 2 hours until I had to check out of the hotel.  The trip in was reasonably uneventful , if slow.  The train itself was quite fast, but simply had a lot of distance to cover (about 20 miles or 32 km).  There’s nothing particularly remarkable or memorable about the Dallas suburbia, and the weather was an uninspiring overcast grey, with hints of potential rain.

The central business district offers an interesting blend of modern skyscrapers coupled with mid sized older buildings and some contemporary inner city urban areas. 

Before long, I’d traversed the city and had to go on foot for a bit once I arrived at the closest station to Dealey Plaza, which is on the south-eastern outskirts of the CBD.



There it was – such a significant location in world history. 

What exactly occurred in Dealey Plaza on that fateful day on November 22, 1963?  The Presidential motorcade was proceeding through downtown Dallas, and then..

“From Houston Street, the presidential limousine made the planned left turn onto Elm, providing it access to the Stemmons Freeway exit. As the vehicle turned onto Elm, the motorcade passed by the Texas School Book Depository. Suddenly, shots were fired at President Kennedy as his motorcade continued down Elm Street. About 80% of the witnesses recalled hearing three shots.” Wikipedia.

I passed the notorious book depository on my way from the train/tram line and entered the plaza from the north-west.  I first approached the grassy knoll and found where Abraham Zapruder filmed Kennedy’s assassination and then crossed to the large median strip to observe the location from the triple underpass.

Panorama of the plaza location where the assassination occurred

The area known as the grassy knoll has been maintained at an almost surreal sanctity, virtually unchanged since the assassination – indeed the entire plaza is more or less unchanged except for some very minor changes.  This is possibly the greatest tribute the US could give in keeping the plaza as intact and unblemished as possible.  There are only a handful of placards dotting the area to explain the heinous event that had occurred there.




The grassy knoll


Road to the triple underpass/book depository

In the photo below, a location is marked on the road with an X which is presumably where Kennedy was when he was shot.

X marks the spot

Being able to virtually travel back in time, in person, to the 1960s to the site of such a significant (and yet infamous) event in world history was an experience unlike any other. 

It is unfortunate that I had very little time to further explore the area, or go into the sixth floor museum (where Oswald fired his shots),

With my time restriction, I had to hustle back to the train to ensure I returned to the hotel with enough time to avoid missing checkout.  A feat I managed!

I‘ll write more about Dallas with the next entry.


USA Training – Dallas Week 1, Day 4

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Categories: Training 2018, Tags: , , ,


Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The training continues..

Waking up at the signature 6:45am timeslot, it is essentially a repeat of the previous day – shower, change, get downstairs to the lobby.  We’re back to CityLine to kick off the next class in the program, which is a detailed look at the Department of Defence Architecture Framework v2.02.  As before, breakfast at 7:30am.  We had a full day but it finished around 4:30pm so optimistically I talked Will and Peter into an ill-advised trip south down the freeway in a vain attempt at reaching a record store.  Alas, peak hour traffic doomed the endeavour and as we had committed to a dinner date with some colleagues from our course, we turned back north about half way.  So instead we visited an American retail institution: Walmart.


Here I bought two huge Minecraft figures for the boys as well as a jar of Rufus Teague “Touch ‘o Heat” BBQ sauce, plus a large bottle of Tabasco Chipotle flavoured hot sauce.  I might have picked up extra stuff, but I was busting for the toilet which I found once I’d cleared the checkout.  Once having regrouped, we continued north to a BBQ restaurant called “Love & War in Texas”.  I took a photo of the menu so you can see for yourself what was on offer:


I ordered the hot wings as an entrée (they were divine) followed by a main of buffalo fajitas which were sizzled on the hot plate.  It was a fine meal. 
Will had sliced boar!  I had a beer which was brewed from grapefruit which was oddly quite nice.



Owing to the extra early start the next day, we wrapped at about 9:30pm and head back to the Hyatt for final preparations. 

The next day was not just the final day of training for week 1, but also the day Peter and I made our return trip to Australia – it was going to be a long day! 

I was so tired,I turned in at 10:30am, but this backfired and I was awake around 3am briefly.


USA Training – Dallas Week 1, Day 3

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Categories: Training 2018, Tags: ,


Tuesday, October 16, 2018 – More training.

Woke at 6:45am after a reasonable night’s sleep.  I swore these early mornings were going to kill me, but it turns out they did not.  As breakfast was catered for at the Raytheon facility, there was no need to stay at the Hyatt for too long, so I showered, changed, and head down to the lobby to meet Peter and Will for the rain soaked drive to CityLine.  The breakfast was good (the catering was generally quite good throughout the course) and the training ran almost like clockwork from 8am to 5pm.

Photos: Google Street View

After training, we drove directly to a Texan BBQ place called Ten 50 where we ate BBQ – as you approached, you had to select slow cooked meats just outside the entrance before heading in to purchase sides and drinks.


I had brisket, ribs and BBQ corn with a local craft beer on top.  It wasn’t exactly cheap, but the meat was excellent, and we got to know some of our US colleagues better over a good hearty meal.  A few hours later we returned to the Hyatt, Peter called it a night, but Will and I kicked on at the downstairs bar for a bit.  Suffering from mild meat coma, I Skyped home before crashing at 11:30pm.