Hey y’all! After a long Wednesday we finally made it to Austin, TX!
With the exception of a three-hour layover in Dallas last Christmas, this is my first time in “the South” and from what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s a pretty awesome place!
After we landed on Wednesday we went out to eat at the Iron Cactus. We’re not exactly spoiled with roof top restaurants in South Dakota, and especially not in Norway, so spending a late October night under an open sky was an experience in itself. We had a blast! (Even if it doesn’t look like it in the picture below hah)
Running and Homeless People
Yesterday morning, I went for a run around the University of Texas’ campus. The city was still sleeping and I could run in peace without being interrupted by anyone. It wasn’t until I was on my way back to the hotel that I suddenly found myself being surrounded by dozens of homeless people who were staring at me. Which was fine, until a couple of guys started reaching for my iPhone. I didn’t have anything else to give them, and I’d rather not lose yet another phone, so I used it as motivation to pick up the pace and sprint back to a “better” neighborhood. I quickly noticed that Austin is quite different from the “safe, little, isolated Sioux Falls” But Austin is quite stunning in its own way.
The Film Director
The actual convention started yesterday, so we spent most of our day attending different sessions with speakers from all over the country. I went to a few about yearbook design etc, but the highlight was undoubtedly the one about film directing. I ended up talking with the speaker/director for over 30 minutes afterwards, got plenty of good advice and exchanged business cards with him before I called it a day.
The Sketchy-looking Food Truck
Later at night, we went to celebrate Naras’ aka my good friend and co-editor’s birthday. We wanted to try out one of Austin’s famous food trucks, but we forgot to check how far away it was… Soo we walked for what felt like 40 minutes before we finally got there. However, it was well worth the walk! Quite honestly I can’t remember last time I had a meal that tasty, so if you’ll ever go to Austin, be sure to stop by East Side King!
Stood Up by the Bats
Well, Austin is known for its huge urban bat colony, and every night people gather to watch the thousands of bats fly off the Congress Bridge. According to locals, it’s a supernatural “out-of-the-body experience” just to be there, so we literally race-walked (or at least some of us did, right Matthew?) just to get there in time.
We waited together with tons of other people. Several tour boats were circling under the bridge, and an obnoxiously loud guide in a microphone kept hyping the passengers up with words like “any minute now!” I tried to picture what the sky would look like with a swarm of flying creatures covering it, wondered what thousands of flapping wings would sound like.
There! I heard something — a gasp followed by “Oh my!” I quickly leaned over the railing, only to realize that the lady next to me had dropped one of her personal belongings into the river. The gasp was probably just a response to her own clumsiness, because I didn’t see anything else happening down there that would be worth gasping about…
Anyway, as the next 40 minutes went by, the bridge got less and less crowded. At one point, we were pretty much the only people still waiting. So we left. Maybe the bats were sensing the coming tornadoes, and refused to leave their comfy stop under the bridge? Who knows. . .