When I started traveling for work with my first job out of college, I was always sent to the places no one else wanted to go. Of course, I did not have a problem with that; I was happy to be going anywhere at all. However, this means I’ve been to some interesting small towns across the state of Texas. One trip took me through East Texas in November, and the drive actually made me feel like I was in a northern state. I enjoyed the winding two-lane roads and some fall colors all the way up to Tyler, where my flip phone unceremoniously died. After scrambling to find an AT&T store, I purchased my very first iPhone and made my way up to Sulphur Springs. I arrived after dark, worked my event, and as a Hilton brand loyalist, I continued north to the closest one I could find: the Hampton Inn in Paris, Texas.
Since I reached the hotel so late and had a new phone to learn how to use, I didn’t explore any of the area that evening. However, I had researched ahead of time and discovered that as would be expected, an Eiffel Tower replica existed in the city. But this was not just your average replica. No, it was fashioned as an oil derrick, complete with a Texas touch.
I’ve since read that Paris, Texas was in a competition with Paris, Tennessee to have the tallest Eiffel Tower replica in their respective cities. Thus, the red cowboy hat was added to make it taller than the one in Tennessee. Both were eventually dwarfed by the replica on the Las Vegas Strip, which happens to be half the size of the original Eiffel Tower.
I was only able to spend one night in Paris before moving on to my next spot, so I set my alarm early in order to have time to see this replica in all its glory. For those of you with iPhones, please know that I set my morning alarm on my phone for the first time with the “alarm” tone, and I about fell out of my bed when it first went off. My half asleep brain thought it was the fire alarm. It did its job; I was wide awake after that.
When I checked out of the Hampton, I decided to take a little piece of Paris home with me. They sold bobble versions of their Eiffel Tower, and the bobbling red cowboy hat road shotgun with me for the rest of my trip. The best part is that now I can tell people that my work has sent me to Paris. I’ll let them assume which one.