Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Keep Austin Weird

I doubt that Austin will have any problems keeping itself weird. I was in the Texas state capital for the past week. A pretty clean city, despite the "street people" that were prevalent in the city.

I was solo on this trip and not particularly nervous about it. I say "nervous" because as those who know me KNOW that I am partial to being a paranoid freak.

I arrive Monday afternoon and get in a taxi. The taxi steers me through the slummiest part of the city. I now think that the taxi driver is taking me to who-knows-where and no one will ever find me. I will be the missing tourist in Austin, one of the safest cities in the nation. Great, just my luck. *I* would be the outlier - the 'lucky' one who becomes the first victim for the news to hone in on at how the safest city is becoming dangerous. This innocent tourist is missing and presumed dead. No one will ever know it was the taxi driver who did it.

Then we pull up to the hotel and low and behold, my fears are gone as the taxi man was actually nice and not the maniac I had anticipated.

I settle into my room, which has an amazing view of the downtown area -- I see the University of Texas just a ways a way and 6th street, which is one of the main party drags of the city, is right outside my window.

I check with the concierge on where's a good place to eat and go shopping. He points me to 6th street and a couple of places to look for to eat. I ask "It's safe, right?" and he replies with an overexaggerated "Yes, of course!" and he quickly adds "Just stay on this side." Whaaaa? I wasn't paying attention! Where is "this side"? I risk it and go out the door to 6th street, trusting that the concierge wouldn't let a woman go out on the town all by herself.

As soon as I walk out the door and cross the first street, a 'homeless' person limps towards me and asks me if I know where's a good place to eat. My bewilderment helps me with my mean, snotty face and I ignore him and keep walking. All the time waiting for him to grab me, beat me, or something sinister. But alas, I make it to 6th street in one piece.

I survived 6th street and even ventured out the next evening on Congress Avenue, yet another main drag in Austin. I walked up and down this street in search of a tattoo parlor. I had decided I would get a 'souvenir' from Austin in the form of some permanent ink. I've been jonesin for a new tattoo and I thought how great it would be to get one here.

Well, it must've been a sign not to do that because I couldn't find it. I walked to the outskirts of the University of Texas and back down to the Bat Bridge (forgot its official name, but its where bats hunker and breed and come out around 9:30 at night for tourists to see). Never found the parlor I was looking for, nor the other one that a waitress told me about when I stopped for a bite to eat.

I even helped a man find the bat bridge -- "Do you know where the bat bridge is" a commoner asks me on the bat bridge. I'm like "you're here!" "Do you know where a tattoo parlor is?" He laughs and repeats my question. Obviously that's a no. Great, I help you but you don't help me? I walk back to the hotel, disappointed that I have no souvenir...

The next night I had a friend join me and we ended up in SoCo, which is South Congress. We found the tattoo parlor but again, it wasn't meant to be as their arrogance pulled me away from their shop. By god, I can get arrogant tattoo artists in Raleigh!!!

We had a great time shopping SoCo and having a great meal at Guero's Taco Bar. By the way, if anyone read my write-up of Dos Taquitos, my fave Mexican joint in Raleigh, I can say that this place (Dos Taquitos) is in the same line as the many Tex-Mex, Mexican places I dined and saw throughout my week in Austin. In fact, I went there when I got back from Austin and it was right on target with the theme of my stay in Austin.

So I had fun while I was there, but it sure is good to be back home, among my own street people.

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