Diigo Links

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Austin, TX


I see Austin as an island in a Texan sea. It's an island of public monies inset in the wider (and I do mean wide) context of Texas. This public money supports the central government of the Republic of Texas and tens of thousands of UT students (and would-be/has-been students). All of this type of money tends to foment a more left of center climate than presides over most of the rest of Texas. You put that much left right in the middle of that much right, and you get something interesting. It's something worth considering, worth living in, worth getting to know and understand.

East of Austin is different to East Austin. East Austin is considered "rough", but actually has a few diamonds in the rough. East of Austin is beautiful pastoral Texas leading to the slightly murky Gulf of Mexico.

To the south and the west you have classic Texas Hill Country, cows, cypress, swimming holes, the lot.

To the north is just Texas. That's a bit harsh, but I never saw much worth stopping for short of Dallas (and I'm no big fan of Dallas). Maybe jump off I-35 for kolaches or a trip to another time/universe aka Dairy Queen, but that's not an actual event "to do", it's just Texas.


Do:
  • 6th St. after the Longhorns win a big game. It's a riot (or so they'll claim the next day in the papers).
  • SXSW
  • Annual Moonlight Cruise is not to be missed (ask local bike shop - usually sometime in Sept.)
  • Tour the Capitol Building
  • Sit in when the govt is sitting
  • Drama at UT
  • I think you can tour the tower at UT now.
  • Plays in the Park (Zilker Park)
  • Rent a canoe on "Lake Austin"
  • Be amazed by new skool skillz at the 9th St. Jumps
  • Swim at Barton Springs
  • Swim at Sculpture Falls on Barton Creek (just up stream of the Barton Springs)
  • Drive out to Hamilton Pool - it's a cave - get there early.Wimberley to shop for crafts for your Gran.
  • Chase tornados.
Eat:
  • Las Manitas on Congress
  • Taco Cabana (anytime low brow cheap mex - dine all la fresco)
  • Alamo Drafthouse - see movie whilst swilling local brews

Brunch:
  • The Omelettry on Burnet Rd (pronounced Burn-it if you want to be understood and not laughed at).
  • Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe for a hang under low lights.
  • The Speakeasy for a drink with your mature friends

Do your daily shop at Fiesta for alternative deals when living poor.
At Whole Foods when you're rolling in organic lettuce.

More than anything, these are just the things I remember about Austin. There are lots of nooks and crannies. It's a University town and has that sort of bubble and squeak granularity to it. Most of what I've listed is probably plowed under, defunct, a relic of a previous time.

And if I can digress for a moment into nostalgia, the thing I most loved about Austin was the heat. once it gets hot, you can rely on it. Leave your jumpers and hoodies at home. Wear shorts and a t-shirt even if it looks like rain. The hot rain and big thunder claps aren't going to make things any cooler.

In order to truly enjoy and appreciate the heat, you need to be out in it. You need to have maybe nothing in particular to do. In my case, I escaped to hours of disc golf (the perfect slacker sport, if you must know). And Austin is well set up for slackers, disc golfers or otherwise.
If you attempt, like most, to avoid the heat through constant cloistering in air conditioned environs, you miss it. You're not in it, not of it, and not getting one of Austin's core experiences.

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