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Friday, December 7, 2012

"Did you say Boston?"

December 6, 2012

I am in Austin, Texas.  It is nothing like I expected.  It’s almost a small town.  Outside of downtown, it’s trees and houses and an eclectic array of shops and eateries.  I’m staying with my friend Jon from college, who I will refer to as ‘Texas’.  That may get confusing, but I think you can handle it.  Texas is from Austin and has a lot of tips.   We’ve done a few quintessential adventures so far, such as touring the neighborhood hotspots and drinking beer in different places.  We went downtown tonight and it was shocking.  Apparently, Austin’s downtown closes off 6th street where all the college kids party and bar hop.  There are police standing in groups all along the strip just making sure people don’t get too crazy or break out into fights.  I find it refreshing that a city would budget out that money for police to keep order in a spot like that.  Most of the time law enforcement is reactionary; find wrongdoing and punish it.  It is rare to see such a routine preventative police presence.  I think it goes a long way.  UT is a big school, and college kids are probably the biggest consumers in this city.  It is definitely a smart move by the city to let the students do their thing.  As long as no one causes any trouble, it’s like Mardi Gras.  We were out on a Thursday and it was just jaw dropping for an outsider like myself.  Texas said, “This is nothing.”  Apparently, a Friday or Saturday it’s packed with bands and the streets are filled with drunken college students, food trucks, pedi-cabs, and live music coming from everywhere.  We shall see. 
(we did see... I went back again, the pictures are from Friday)

Every weekend!

Pedal-Cabs waiting for a fare
both sides of the street!

street drummer, Jimmy Way

impromptu street jam

the thin blue line

keeping the peace

It seems like a good night shift for the officials, too.  The drunken kids can walk all around the area in safety, and everyone remains good natured and easygoing.  There was no animosity or battling sides that you may typically see in other cities.  The point was to keep things safe, not hassle or arrest every drunken person walking on the street.  According to Texas, Austin isn’t Texas, and it shows.

Driving in a new city has been a consistent weird.  There ghosts of previous cities stuck in my brain, all jumbling around together creating a map of roads and landmarks that don’t exist in one place.  They run together and everywhere you wind up winds up being a little puzzle.  After a few days and routes are re-driven, things stand out, it all begins to stick.  I have to say that the one thing that has stood out in just about every city is the caliber of drivers out there...  It’s low.  Texas says that this city has the worst drivers.  It seems in every city could boast that stat.  So far in Austin, I have noticed a tendency to not pay attention at the green light, hold everyone up behind you, and then realize they need to gas it and run the light that has just turned red.  But again, I have found that most cities are filled with these people.  I think bad driving ultimately comes from a selfish attitude.  I think people always assume they have the right-of-way, even when we have devised a system to determine it.  A trend that I feel is transcending past “driving” in our society. 

I miss Emily and her cats.  I hope Boulder can go on with out me.  The whole time was filled with such a great vibe.  Emily and I hung out whenever her schedule permitted.  She was an awesome host.  It was a good send off too.  She had a little shindig a couple of days out and we went out a good couple of times.  I also had oysters several times in Colorado; so friggin good!
I have to go through my Yelp history at some point and map out all the cities and places I’ve visited.  I suppose a line on the map would be a good visual aid.  I’ll get on it.  

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