Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

The rest of the bus journey was easy and uneventful getting me into Austin about 9.30, in the dark, just the way I like it. Rich and Jessamine were there with their car to meet me, all smiles, great to see them. They moved to Austin a year past Februaryish and I've not seen them since. It was great to see familiar faces generally tho I suppose, I've not seen anyone I know since lunch in Waynesboro, VA with Dave's mate David and his dad David however long ago that was.

We headed back to their place to drop off my bike and other stuff and headed out to get some food. I was overwhelmed by the amount of veggie options on the menu. There were probably more than all the other menus I'd looked at in the US put together. My quesedila was chee-eesy but good. i'd been eating all day anyway. The beer was good tho, some local IPA I think.

I didn't really have a plan for Thursday, head downtown and try to get my bearings probably. Then Jessamine came back and said she fancied going to the art gallery so we drove down there. We stopped for food at the local food co-op on the way. It's like Infinity Foods in Brighton but bigger, and sells meat! I got a tofu sandwich and some crazy live fermented drink stuff called kombucha with seeds in it. It was like drinking fizzy frog spawn, quite an experience, not one I plan to repeat. Apparently it's very good for you.

The gallery was $9 which is pretty painful when they're all free at home. I idly scanned down the concessions list, all the usual stuff - students, OAPs, Thursdays. Hang on, Thursdays? Free? And it's Thursday! Woo hoo! The only thing better than culture is free culture. Oh no wait, that's beer.

There was an interesting mix of stuff, artists of the Americas, European stuff, some non US abstract modern art which was more interesting that US stuff, but only just. What I liked most was the Hogarth exhibition. I was surprised how much text there was on the cartoons and also at quite how gruesome they were. Beer Street and Gin Lane were my favourites. Life is good on Beer Street, everyone's happy and only the pawn shop is faliling down. Gin Lane is another story altogether tho, everything is ruined and miserable, apart from the pawn broker. I wonder how Hogarth would depict Ginocide Alley?

And the culture continued in the evening with Rich in "the best pub in Austin". There was a very orderly queue at the door when I got there but very soon we were allowed in to be overwhelmed by the selection of beer on tap. There was no info anywhere about the beer so you had to rely on the bartender. When I asked to sample a third beer somwhere between the first and second she called me Goldilocks and looked miffed. Charming. Got good beers tho.

We had a good chat and another beer before heading back to their house to drop off bags then the cultural highlight of the day was ahead of us. Bowling, American style. It was league night so we'd expected to spectate but they seemed to have reserved lane 1 just for us. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of cool bowling shirts and Big Lebowski craziness when we got there but things hotted up in time tho.

We played 3 games and, against all odds, I won them all. I'm rubbish at sport, all of them. And just to prove that I didn't get any points at all with my last 6 balls. It was fun though. I usually play in a big group and get bored waiting for my turn. Maybe I'll give it go when I get home tho, maybe I've found my sporting forte. Anyone for a game?

We hung out and watched for a while and now the standards were much higher. 1 guy got a perfect game - 300 points, 12 strikes in a row. Fair play. There were some characters too...As luck would have it there's a national competition there over the weekend so we might have to head back and check that out at some stage.

And back to base and some great tofu and rice Jessamine made and to bed.

The bed's really comfy, a crazy air bed with a controller that sets firmness while you lie there. I think my back's used to sleeping on the ground tho, it's complaining today so I think I'll try the floor tonight.

So I finally made it downtown today (the museum was downtown yesterday but I didn't see anything else while there). First stop, the barbers. I've not paid for a haircut for about 15 years so it was a bit weird but my hair's been driving me crazy and my clippers aren't up to the job. The first barber looked a bit fancy but I thought I'd pamper myself a little. The place had a pool table and beer fridge and they said I should make myself at home. Obviously what I did was sit in a chair and felt slightly nervous and quite scruffy. Got a good haircut tho, as far as I can see anyway. He used a cut throat razor on my neck and hot towels on my head and everything. Best $15 I've ever spent. Today.

I've only made it 1 street north from there, to 6th Street, the Austin equivalent to Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Broadway in Nashville. It's hard to get a feel for it in the day but it seems pretty cool tho. There do seem to be a lot of crazies around and loads of big live music bars and cool street art. I think I like Austin.

So I now sit in a cajun style restaurant having eaten red beans and rice (and they sneaked in some sausage :/) and some (mass produced and slightly disappointing) key lime pie. Dave who walked accross America is touching down around 4.30 so I'll meet up with him when he gets downtown. He's got an apartment not too far from here till Wednesday. I'm worried he's planning to be beering all week and I'll be forced to join him. If you're reading this Dave, I'm worried, OK? I'll still join you tho of course.

Oh, weather report. It's HOT. About 90 degrees in old money I think. It rained pretty heavily yesterday for a while and i think it's supposed to do so again over the weekend, could be interesting...

OK, I'm off to wander the streets some more and await Dave's arrival.


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