The Australian-born travel writer, now living in Great Britain, has visited as part of the Tavern Guild’s international journalists’ tour on several occasions; the last time, in April, he ended up staying a week longer than anyone else.
And the entire time he was here, Mayo had a look on his face like a kid in a candy shop. And he knows it.
“I love Dallas,” he gushes on a rare break from sightseeing. “Dallas is all about the people — I’ve met the nicest people in the world here. I could actually live here quite easily.”
Even during the Texas summer? Well, for Mayo, it’s less about the weather than what it has to offer.
“It’s probably not as much of a culture shock as moving somewhere else,” he says. “[People] don’t equate Dallas with culture, but you appreciate wine, cabaret, the arts. The performing arts district is out of this world —the Wyly and the Winspear are amazing. And for me, it does seem to be a Democratic state, considering that there are some Republican presidents from here.”
So what does an Aussie by way of England find so appealing about Dallas? Just give him a second to count the ways.
“The Round-Up is just surreal because it’s such a Dallas thing — there’s something about it that is distinctively ‘Texas,’” Mayo says. “You don’t realize it, but you won’t find something like that in London.”
The Book Depository is a draw as well, as is some of our architecture: “My last tour, we toured the construction of Cowboys Stadium. It’s a phenomenal building.” He even enjoyed going a bit west to Cowtown to see the cattle drive and inspect Bass Hall before trips to Billy Bob’s and the Rainbow Lounge, all of which he loved.
And what about the food? Well, that might be the easiest sell of all.
“Central 214’s my favorite,” he says. “[Chef] Blythe Beck can work out a way of chicken-frying anything.”
That’s Texas all right.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.