Keep Austin Weird

So, before I begin with yesterday's events, I have to note what I really like about Austin - it is so proud of its individuality.  Signs are posted everywhere to eat and shop local, and the residents are very proud to have so many unique things in Austin.  The title of my post is actually a t-shirt I saw yesterday, and it reflects the mindset of the people here - they definitely do not want to be taken over by large chains of any kind - which I think is just great (although, everyone does seem to love the enormous Whole Foods downtown - Michelle and I stopped by last night and it was pretty crowded, and apparently a great singles-scene after work).

Yesterday I had an amazing but exhausting day with my cousin.  We started with a nature walk down to see Lake Austin – which is just the Colorado River damned up to create a lake – they do this throughout Austin apparently.  It was nice, though, and there were already boats and water-skiers out cooling off.  Because, you know, it only hit a high of 108 degrees yesterday, ouch!

Michelle told me I needed to be rightfully introduced to Austin with lunch at Rudy’s – I was a bit skeptical, as it is basically inside a gas station on the side of the road (wow, thanks for the tour Michelle, taking me to a gas station…), but the BBQ was really good, and the guys working there were very hospitable to me as a first-timer.  Not only did I get the Rudy’s cheer for a welcome, they gave me sample pieces of everything on the menu.  Yum!

We spent much of the day driving around hitting all of Michelle’s to-do list which was great – we climbed Mt. Bonnell's 99 stairs to see a breathtaking panorama view of Austin, we went to Barton Springs and watched a zillion kids swimming/diving, we toured UT, stopped at Hula Hut and The Oasis which are popular restaurants/bars to take in the views and cool off.  It was funny because Michelle kept telling me how crowded all of these places usually are, and besides Barton Springs, no one was at any of them – the weather being such a deterrent.  It finally dropped below 100 around 10 or so…

That, sprinkled in with home tours of the local neighborhoods, with Michelle and I oohing and ahhing at the different houses we liked, was a blast.  Today’s my last day here, and I think we’re going to hit up an IMAX film on Texas (Michelle says she’s seen it at least a dozen times and that it’s a must-see), maybe go for a dip in the springs, and then we talked about moseying our way down to San Antonio to do The Riverwalk later tonight.  

By coincidence, we ran into Christie, Michelle's roommate, at Rudy's on her lunch break so she joined us - food was really good with a very low-key atmosphere.

Sweating in front of Barton Springs - we definitely should have brought our swimsuits!

Cooling off with some shaved ice from a street vendor.

View from atop Mt. Bonnell overlooking the Colorado River, or whatever Lake they call it there...

Michelle and I snacked on home-make pita chips and guacamole - her secret is to put some honey in the guac - it was yummy - and even made me think I really should start learning how to cook.

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