Austin Wins, I am Beat

Austin Wins, I am Beat

Where does the day go?? Maybe I slept late. Hmmm. Can't remember. I spent the afternoon checking out the thrift shops near Rich's house. Thrift shops are the US version of charity shops and junky antique shops combined. Some are huge and corporate feeling and organised and expensive. Some are small and total chaos and cheap and some are inbetween. I'm happy to be limited by nearly full bags otherwise I could have bought all manner of junk. In the end I got a new outfit, very exciting having worn the same clothes for over 2 months! $10 for shorts, 2 t-shirts and a hat. Bargain!

Soon enough it's time to head for town to meet Dave to watch the presidential debate in the pub. Communcation has been difficult between Dave and I as my US mobile contract won't let me receive international texts, never mind send them. Dave doesn't have roaming data so skype etc are out. Mostly Dave just bites the bullet and calls my US number. Good man.

Great minds thinking alike take us to the same bar this time anyway though so no external devices are required. I get stung $7.50 for half an average cold fizzy ale, the decor didn't suggest this might be as expensive as that...The debate is on and Obama is out performed by Romney again and again. Oh god. We head next door to the bluegrass gig.

The Carper Family (see what they did there? - nevermind) are 3 women playing double bass, guitar and fiddle and singing beautiful harmonies. As usual we got there right at the end of their set. There was more to come tho so we hung on and they duly returned to the stage plus a mandolin player who I was sure I recognised. Eventually I realised she'd played with Silas at The White Horse. Anyway they were even better now, great songs including covers of songs I could sing along to but not name. We spoke to the mandolin player's fella afterwards who said they'd just been signed by the Americana label, remember their name...

Annabel - the girl who'd suggested the debate and the gig turns up with a friend and we all chat after the show is over and we vaguely plan to catch up again before I leave town. It's not to be tho...

I get the bus back to Rich's with an unsettled feeling in my stomach. Nothing too worrying, get some food at the gas station on way though to settle it, i'm sure it'll be fine... Alas no. I'm up in the night trying to puke as quietly as I can so as not to disturb Rich and Jessamine. It's not easy to puke quietly I can tell you.

And that' the start of the end of my trip. My body spends Wednesday expelling whatever it's objecting to with surprising force. The rest of the day it sleeps. Thursday I make it to the sofa for more of the same. The day of lounging plays havoc with my back. I'd arrived in Austin a week earlier feeling chipper and suffering no ill effects from the 2100 miles I'd cycled to get there. Now I'm a physical wreck. Bugger.

And so it continues on Friday. I awake in dread of the halloween party at the house that night. I decide I can't handle it and resolve to get a motel near the bus station so I can make my own way out of town the next day. Not exactly a glittering end to the trip and an idea that leaves me feeling ungracious for the hospitality R + J have shown me. They're suitably unimpressed the the suggestion. Alas. But I manage to eat and shower and feel a bit better so decide to stay. There are only a few people coming and it's supposed to finish pretty early, I can do it!

And so I do. I leave the house for the first time in days to get supplies for the party (and a spirulina smoothie for me) and it all comes together. I have to hide away for a while to book the bus to Houston and from Heathrow to Brighton and by time that's done it's party time. Everyone obviously arrives fashionably late and all is well. There's music (a doo wop Halloween album I'd found on my hard drive was pretty good) food and beer (not for me tho). And soon enough it's all over. It was nice to meet some of R + J's friends, I fear I wasn't sparkling company but it was all OK. And to bed.

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