Last couple days of SXSW and Texas times!
So we haven’t really had access to a computer where we can just sit down and type for a while. Hence the late update to the blog.
The last couple of days in Austin, Texas were more great fun.
We woke up pretty hammered after the Friday night antics at SXSW. I had a massive sore throat, probably from snoring my head off after a right skinful the night before at all the bands we saw. After our self-made ham and salad sandwich breakfast, we rode the bus into town about 2pm to do it all again for the final day of South By. More free drinks in the registrants lounge. We took some of our own Belvedere Vodka in a hippy and spiked a couple drinks throughout the night, haha! Helps on the savings.
After some food we in the evening we went to the Aussie BBQ at Maggie Mae’s. Saw the John Steel Singers and The Art, who were great. Bliss n Eso were there, but we missed them.
After that we took off to the famous Moody’s Theatre to see Sleigh Bells from New York and Nas from Brooklyn. There was this guy with no legs smoking cannabis pipes right in the middle of this plush and non-smoking theatre. Security intervened, but once he cited he was a vet from Afghanistan they backed off and let him do his thing. Bless him.
Sleigh Bells were popular, we weren’t impressed though. I was glad to see Nas as he’s a huge artist in the hip-hop scene. His show was big with heaps of guest MCs and DJs and a great set. After wards we went to see this Spanish band – Suicide of Western Culture – some of the guys we met earlier in the week. It wasn’t our scene, some crazy industrial hard core electronic music, we left. We then went on 1 song per band, per venue blitz to take in as much as possible on the last night. This included Pennywise from Hermosa Beach California, Jimmy Cliff from Jamaica, another hard rock band from US, and a jazzy rock band from the UK among others. Unbelievable night, again. Went home around 330am.
On the Sunday we went into town around lunch time and could not believe how quickly the city of Austin had transformed it-self from hosting such a huge festival attracting so many thousands of people, to showing no signs as such. It was eerily quiet.
We got a shuttle out to the closing day softball tournament, where we got a free Texas BBQ (heaps of meat!) and a hit of softball. It was good fun. We then went back into Austin city and took a tour around the Texas State Capitol building, which is impressive. It has a whole bunch of stuff about the Civil War outside and hosts the two houses, lots of memorabilia and the law museum. We couldn’t help but scoff at George W Bush’s picture (tough for those of you who are fans of him). Great Capitol though and actually 15odd foot taller than the one in Washington, everything’s bigger in the TX.
We then went and played darts while having a few beers. Sharon beat me, again, at darts. Unbelievable.
Today we were up at the record time of 9am! Amazing. We took brisk exercise walk around our neighborhood and eventually went to see the last couple sites in Austin. The State Library was interesting, but the Texas State History Museum was fantastic. We spent four hours in that place, learning and interacting with all the exhibits. It had a fairly comprehensive and very engaging history of the parcel of land that has become Texas. The history was brief prior 1500, but then detailed from then on including Spanish exploration, French competition and engagement with indigenous peoples.
Texas or Tejas used to be part of Mexico until around the 1830-40s. It was annexed by the US Union after a complicated struggle involving many players. For a short period it was also an independent republic and at least two Presidents. Eventually it fought in the US civil war alongside its southern neighbours in the Confederate armies. The North won, the rest is history. Texas has a huge affiliation with its land, cattle and later oil production saw the state boom at the turn of the 20th century. It’s a great museum and we highly recommend.
We then ate a tasty pizza from Papa Johns at the base of the Stephen F Austin building and took a walk down to the Four Seasons, the nicest hotel in Austin. We had a drink and headed to the riverbank to watch the famous bats leave their colony under a large bridge. Apparently this is the largest of this type of bat colony in southern US and they leave at sunset to feed. Like hundreds of thousands of them. What a sight it was. Hundreds of people were watching from city buildings, the riverbank, the bridge and boats.
We bussed it home, packed and readied ourselves for departure the next day for Des Moines. Oh, and we were on Tornado Watch and a Flash flooding alert. We were worried this would affect our flight, but in the morning there was only minor flooding and some tornado activity to the west. Unbelievably we found out that day that Townsville had been hit by some sort of Tornado about the same time. So very weird. Hope all are OK?