Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keep Austin Weird!

Only in Texas! (Outside of Austin, of course...)

This morning began with some breakfast tacos from Juan In A Million (R) filled with all sorts of deliciousness (egg, potato, jalepenos, machacado).

Juan in a Million is located in what can only be described as the "moonbounce and pinata" district of Austin (see below). It was kind of like a cross between Mexico and a carnival, which made for an entertaining drive.

After waiting a solid thirty minutes (to prevent cramping), we made our way to Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre poolstravaganza. Leave it to Texas to take a swimming pool to the extreme.

It is fed by a natural spring, which keeps the water at a consistent 68 degrees. 68 degrees is far colder than it sounds, especially when it's 111 degrees outside. We were fortunate enough to visit Austin during a record-breaking heatwave.

One thing to note about Austin - there are a lot of homeless people. Some of them look like hippie holdovers who never quite made it out of the 60's, but they are all over the city. They're nicknamed "drag rats" since they hang out along the strip of shops and restaurants on Guadalupe Street (a.k.a "The Drag") which runs along the western edge of the University of Texas campus.

The slogan of the city is "Keep Austin Weird," promoting the large amount of local small businesses and restaurants and maintaining the anti-corporate mentality of the city. It's definitely a funky city with a very unique feel.

One of the most unique things about Austin is the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony.

When the city built the Congress Avenue Bridge, they didn't realize they were building the perfect habitat for a colony of 1.5 million Mexican bats. They sleep in the crevices under the bridge, and each night at dusk, they fly out to eat bugs, and do other nocturnal bat-things (mating, fighting crime, biting necks, etc.). You can't imagine what 1.5 million bats actually looks like until you see it.

Nothing builds up an appetites like bat-watching, so we took the advice of one of Emily's friends, (an Austin native) and headed to Chuy's (pronounced "Chew-eez"... we think...) for some authentic Tex-Mex and margaritas. Their creamy jalepeno dressing alone was worth the trip. It was a fitting end to our visit to Austin, and a small taste of what we'll be seeing in El Paso.

We're now lying in our bed in the Pearl Street Co-op, being treated to our second straight late-night of super-loud dance party in the courtyard (right outside of our window). We almost got to sleep last night, but the DJ started spinning some old school soul and funk and we couldn't help but sing along.



  1. sounds like you are having a lot of fun!
    We are enjoying all your comments and especially like the way you try to se everything in a positive way...
    Have fun crossing the desert (carry extra water) and the mountains...enjoy the wonderful views...and R E L A X in California. We will be there in we will miss you...:)

  2. Love your blog--we're enjoying your stories. So glad you are having a great experience!
    Miss you!
    OMG--Adam--I found Haribo fruit salad at the Amish market--bought them out.

  3. Hope you are not glowing in the dark...just read thet White Sands wat the site of the first nuclear tests in the 40s...
    Looking forward to reading more about your adventures...:)