Well, after the marathon trip, I finally arrived in Austin. The State Capital of Texas. The Doctor lives here – studying at the University of Texas.
Austin is also the proud owner of the title “Live Music Capital of the USA”, which I suppose in most instances also means that it’s the Live Music Capital of the World?
First off I took a walk around the campus, but not before filling my morning belly with some awesome, authentic tacos from Mi Madre’s up the road from the Doctor’s East Side home. Although the area looks pretty ghetto, it’s actually really safe and everyone is really friendly.
So, another culinary delight of mine seems to be Mexican now added to my growing list of culturally diverse food passions.
The UT (University of Texas) campus is huge! It’s actually a bit crazy – 50 000 students and departments and some museums that are probably some of the best in the world. They take sport very seriously in this part of the world, as in most US cities and the Texas Longhorns (UT’s American Football team) are the Rose Bowl champions. Their stadium, believe it or not, is bigger than Newlands and seats around 80 000 people. They also have an indoor, airconditioned training facility for those off season sessions and to keep out the spies. The facilities here are unbelievable.
Thirsty? Try some margaritas. They’re cheap during happy hours and go down really well, even on a sweltering hot and humid Texan afternoon. In fact, this place gets so hot that every establishment has airconditioning and offers free water to drink!. Very cool.
But, some advice – playing touch Football (which is actually pretty cool) in near-100% humidity after some ‘Ritas is probably not the best idea!
So, we got hold of my friend Sarah who I met in Argentina who also lives here in Austin. And, it turns out that another Argentinian-trip friend, Nora, was here too – just in town for a massive film and music festival called South by SouthWest (SXSW). We went out that night to watch a brilliant Latin Funk band called Grupo Fantasma. They were brilliant!
Also met Erik, a Canadian, who it turns out is the producer of a film being showcased in the festival. He managed to get us tickets to the screening at the Alamo cinema (where, it turns out you can order food and eat while you’re atching a movie). The movie’s called Eve & the Fire Horse and it’s really good! Also got to meet the director, Julia Kwan. My first film festival experience really.
But it didn’t end there! Getting in the mix with the movie people, we went downtown after the screening and went to a party thrown for the festival and also got to watch another brilliant band – Alpha Rev – a bit of a mix between Radiohead and Coldplay, but combining violins and basses and stuff. Next it was off to the most legendary event of the night!! DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning the decks live at the Music Hall! Again, somehow with Nora’s sweettalking we managed to go in free. The dude is brilliant – he was mixing songs from The Police, Nirvana, The Fresh Prince (and DJ Jazzy Jeff), The White Stripes, Eurythmics, etc. Also, I managed to catch an autographed drumstick from ?uestlove (apparently that’s how you spell it) from The Roots – the guy with the big Fro!
We went off to some more bars and then ended up at some film producers’ party in the penthouse of the Marriott hotel. Actually that party was the least exciting of the lot, so we left!
Austin is a cool city! Not weather wise, mind, but in every other sense, it’s a must visit. And, just to put your minds at ease, it is really different to the rest of Texas 🙂