The Diaries: Texas and first feel of the West
First day in Texas. Short night on driver’s seat, feet propped on passenger seat, at a gas station. Planned to make it to Holly Beach but had to rest.
Beautiful dawn like few so far (reminded me of the one back in Saratoga Springs, driving through South Louisiana, dew rising into mist, lakes and rivers lining the freeway on stilts).
Then a nice drive through the Sabine NWR and to Holly Beach, cooked some rice with Sloppy Joe’s sauce there. Water not very appealing though. Through Port Arthur and the monstrous oil refineries.
Houston: feel of West Coast, driving through Pasadena, four or five-lane roads, bumper traffic (Memorial Sunday), gated brown condos, smooth and festering malls. This is a region with space to build, a place designed for the era of cars (as opposed to New Orleans, the oldest port, a place with more history, which to an extent contributes to it its unique cultural heritage?)
Visit the NASA’s Mission Control Center.
Am fatigued, irritable. Also not entirely happy of having to rush my way to Dallas, will have to spend more time upon return.
Have a Byrd burger at Hearsay. Unbelievable. Beef, egg, bacon, many other things. Second oldest building in town, used to be a storage for ammo, then a brothel:
- brothel owner used to kick the girls down the stairs → to trip down stairs, or to be pushed down stairs = being a whore
- hanged bodies rumored to be seen in windows at night, place was also ravaged by a huge block fire.
Bartenders talk about how liberal and weedy Austin is, stands out as quite the exception it seems. Get much needed rest, nearly crumble on my mat. In the morning, stroll around the Discovery Greens park, unfortunately didn’t get a picture of the gigantic Chinese lantern sculptures.
Picnic at Historic Marker after LaGrange, on West 71, pretty road lined with ranches. Can of tuna. Critters, windy.
Stop by for a hike near Colorado river. Nearly get lost walking off-trail down a dried-out stream bed. Found a fossil. Was about to backtrack, slightly cut at legs, when I hit the trail again.
Got to chill by the river, dip although hesitant to swim because of fresh cuts.
Give it to Austin: although my stay will be short, I’m impressed by the cleanliness and amenities: sunny riverside walk, people paddling and swimming in the river (hadn’t seen this in a large city – pop 650k + – in a long time), eater coolers and cups at the disposal of people (in addition numerous water fountains). People exercising everywhere despite the hear. I work out too. And get to use one of the convenient public showers.
As I was about to head back to the car, a relatively clean bum and his well-inked companion comes up to me and asks if I can give him my cap – a bright orange New York Knicks cap I was wearing for the first time due to the harsh sun. He couldn’t have had better luck, I just happened to have an extra one in the car. And they happened to be walking in the same direction I was. As I told him when I handed him the cap:
“Now what kind of chance was there that you would walk up to someone, ask them for their cap, and actually get one?”
Learn about Barton Creek, the ‘cool’ hangout place, but don’t get to go there.
Drive around for a picture of the Capitol and of the University of Texas tower, where there was the first serial shooting in the US – the beginning of a sad era, which has since spread to other parts of the world.
@Casino el Camino, home of the ¾ pound burger! So much for the less-meat diet, especially after the Byrd monster, but I’m hoping to get a good picture – so it’s work…
Slightly disappointed, picked the wrong one (sprouts in a burger), not very tasty. And don’t get a good picture…
UT girls… Austin “it was soooo funny”
“He was soooo upset…”
“It was sooooo funny”
A bird with a long beak is poking at a closed faucet, pecking a drop of condensation. They strafe across the terrace of the restaurant, by two.
Stopped by at Waco’s Cricket Grill, late evening, to catch last quarter of first game of finals Dallas-Miami.
Note on radio guy speaking of WSJ editorial about liberal college education and the need for more science / technicians (although the radio guy, a self-despising liberal arts major, is in his own way a social engineer – not just bs, but some good points with which I agree)
Dallas is surrounded by rings of grimly identical suburbs, rows of brown mounds – (La deb docil), are these then the fruits that monetary wealth has wrought upon the dreams of the successful people of this nation, a layer of conformity, a sheath set onto mankind’s creativity?
Of yet more concern to me, the offspring of this generation of success who are growing up within these 1984-esque confines.
Got to taste Barton Spring water. Sweet Austin. Relaxed at one of the local coffee houses, as well as Schlotsky’s, another unsuspected vast chain, as were (though I haven’t been able to keep track of all of them: Einstein Bro’s Bagels (Louisville), Five Guys (Detroit), Jimmy John’s (Louisville), Joe’s Crab Shack (Louisville)
Uninteresting drive on I-35N by night and day.
One hour till boarding, strange impression. Mostly exhaustion. A lot of work to be done, will be a busy week of rest. I can only hope that the business rationale will pay off, to make this hiatus worthy.
Very nearly took exception to my fast-food chain boycott, thirsty as I was after running in the mid-afternoon heat. Ended going the literal extra mile to get juice at… huh… Target.
Pretty sure I saw a guy on the soccer field in Austin I had previously seen playing basketball in Kaimuki, HI.
First Mexican food, at the airport. Striking how much thicker Americans are compared to French, when seen in airplane.
Broke the 5,000 mile mark on my way to Austin.