Chris's rant fest travel blog

View of Austin from lakes district pt 1

View of Austin from lakes district pt 2

Brad and Jess with Austin skyline

View of Austin from lakes district pt 3

The mystery machine

At Iguana Mexican restaurant

Austin sunset

Austin capitol buildings

Sunset at Iguana mexican restaurant

Black mardi gras on 6th street

Austin capitol pt 2

Austin capitol pt 3

Confederate statue

The squirrel hunter - Steve Irwin beware

Squirrel pt 1

Squirrel pt 2

Austin downtown area

750,000 bats pt 1

750,000 bats pt 2

750,000 bats pt 3

Spent a pretty enjoyable weekend in Austin - which is known for its wild night life, perhaps due to the presence of over 75,000 students in the city. The weekend started late on Friday night having driven up from Houston when Brad, Jess and myself went to a comedy club which was having a special "Travolta-thon". This consisted of 3 comedians providing a running commentary on a whole heap of suspect clips that the great man has contributed over the years.

Saturday included a bit of sightseeing and a visit to one of Austin's many lakes. Swimming was off the cards, as although it was around 25-30 degrees there was a cold wind blowing. On the lakes in Austin, I found it strange that you had to pay to go to one of the 'parks' - essentially to access the lake. Even stranger, the first one (the suspiciously named "hippy hollow") was described as 'clothing optional'. We decided upon remaining cloistered, although many did not seem to exercise this option. Strangely, those that were against clothes tended to be middle aged men, and possibly the most in need of covering up. After a relatively short time, we decided to relocate to the next park around, where clothing was definately compulsory...

Saturday night included sampling some of Austin's nightlife, made somewhat more wild by the fact that some national black college fraternity had decided to have a 'black mardi gras' in Austin that weekend. Austin closes the main strip (6th street) to vehicular traffic in the weekends, and the streets were packed. We decided not to heed the warning provided by the Latino parking attendant and went out anyway. Felt somewhat like a scene from 'road trip' for those that have seen this movie. About 2am we were walking down a side street when all of a sudden everyone on 6th starting running in our direction - just an absolute stream of people. Not wanting to find out why this was occurring, we decided discretion was the better part of valour, and legged it.

The weekend was rounded out on Sunday by a visit to the Houston Capitol buildings (the biggest state capital buildings in the US and 7th biggest in the world apparently), and then observing the nightly flight of a 750,000 strong bat colony - which seemed to be somewhat of a local institution judging by the crowd that had gathered. Essentially, when they decided to replace an inner city bridge in 1980, it was quickly adopted by a massive colony of homeless bats. These bats leave the bridge each night to forage for food.

Even the smell of guano could not put us off visiting a Texas roadhouse for a good sized steak, and this was how we chose to end the weekend. After a dare, I ordered the 16oz streak (about 1/2 kg) and managed to finish it. Admittedly, have not felt like eating much since! Certainly backs up my earlier observations as to why obesity is pretty rife over here (portion control? what's that!)

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