Are the people of Dallas polite?

Tourism: Metropolis with southern charm: Dallas is more than J.R.

Bill Dewbre is doing well - and he's happy to share that. "Wild Bill", as he is called, is a real self-made man, one who has worked his way up from nothing. With cowboy boots. The father was a shoemaker, the boy had to help. And learned: cutting leather, sewing frames, gluing soles - just how to make good shoes. And how to convince people to buy them. He got a little spot in his father's shop - a few years later he was so successful in selling his boots that he bought the shop from his father. In cash.

His shop in the heart of Dallas has all kinds of cowboy boots imaginable: black and brown, red and multicolored, glittery and wildly ornate. Made from cowhide and ostrich, from crocodile and snake.

Bill talks a lot, quickly and loudly. But he knows his business. And he knows Dallas and the surrounding area like no other. After all, he has lived there all his life. And Bill is someone who represents this Dallas - one of those friendly, charismatic, polite men who brought the legendary charm of the southern states to the big city.

The picture is still correct today. And yet Dallas is also very different. A city of newcomers - they come from the northern states because they find the winters too cold there and the weather too bad. Even from California and New England, people are moving to Texas - "where houses aren't that expensive, their children are educated, and there are jobs," said Pauline Medrano, the city's second mayor.

Dallas has blossomed in the past few years. "We were always pronounced dead," she recalls. The capital of Texas is Austin. The bigger city is Houston, there are more colleges there. And Dallas? A television series that enjoys cult status in many countries around the world - but which was filmed many miles from the city.

"Texans are very attached to their homeland," says Julia Cleary, who grew up in Dallas, studied in Houston and now works in Dallas. The way the 24-year-old does it - quite atypical for the American dynamic - many do: They go away from home to study, but not too far.

Dallas calls a few inventions its own - one of them is shopping, they say here with a wink. It's not that bad, because Neiman Marcus is one of the oldest department stores in the country with branches in all major cities. When it comes to shopping, Dallas is an unusual American city - you will look in vain for a real downtown shopping area. Mall is the magic word, shopping in the shopping center. Dallas has two big ones, right in the rich suburbs. When it opened in 1965, the North Park Center was the first planned mall in America and the first air-conditioned shopping center in the world.

And then there is this TV series: "Dallas". The Ewings. The Southfork Ranch. This ranch really does exist - but in Parker, about 50 kilometers from the city limits. Where the land is really flat and wide. Where people don't have houses but farms. "Even if they tend to keep a horse or two here rather than having proper breeding," says Sally Peavy.

She works at the Southfork Ranch, which is now a tourist magnet and also a conference center. And again the location, because there is a sequel to the saga about the Ewing family. At regular intervals there is a state of emergency in the 40-year-old villa: Then the actors and the entire production team step in. "The outdoor shots were all taken here, the indoor shots in California," says the blonde in her mid-fifties. "At that time like today."

She knows the series inside out - all the twists and turns in the lives of matriarch Miss Ellie, villain J.R. and his nice brother Bobby. "I was following that, I was in my late twenties when the series started," she says - "and that was always a topic of conversation." Sally is a real Texan: very friendly, very attentive, very happy, very loud. A southern lady, as it is in the book - with an accent that an inexperienced English speaker can hardly understand.

Like many Texans, she has been here all her life and has never imagined living in another state. Nice people, good food, high quality of life at comparatively low prices. Sally is simply satisfied - and says that most Texans are too: "I think there is a very simple reason for this: the weather is good, you don't have to freeze - and there is space for people." (dpa)

Tourist information about Dallas

Dallas Art District

South Fork Ranch