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Don't Mess With Texas

Austin, United States

For some reason, I thought it was an acceptable plan to drive twelve hours straight from Albuquerque to Austin by myself. I meant to leave around 6 or 7 in the morning, but didn't wake up until that time and left around 8. Driving through Eastern New Mexico (I took a variety of US highways instead of the interstate to get in on the shortest distance between two places is a straight line and learned there is a reason people take interstates) was a fascinating and at times nerve-racking experience. There were large birds, possibly vultures or maybe hawks, eating roadkill all the way through NM, and every time I passed them they would swoop up and almost collide with my car, at one point forcing me to swerve into the thankfully empty opposite lane. But it was deserted except for some trucks, and a few other roadtrippers with bike racks or roof racks. It was beautiful countryside and slowly turned from sparse desert landscape into lush, humid landscape as NM gave way to West Texas gave way to Central Texas.

West Texas is a collection of near-abandoned towns with faded gas stations displaying prices not seen for years and shuttered roadside restaurants where I gladly would have stopped for a meal had they been open. The speed limit slows through these towns, forcing you to look around and notice the desolation in anticipation of the next generation of ghost towns. Many of the towns had one or two houses with new trucks and tv satellites in the yard, most likely owners of the farms that lined the highway. Then thirty miles before Austin, you hit dense suburbs which carry you into the city.

After going a little too far down a street, I made it to my CS host's house north of UT Austin. That night I was too tired to do much. My time in Austin consisted of Cafe Epoch down the street, the Austin Museum of Art (showing Lewittx2), The Mexic-Arte Museum, downtown and yummy tex-mex.

I went out that Tuesday night with Haley (my host) and some of her friends (they were celebrating one of them turning 21), first checking out some blues at Antone's, then doing a pub-crawl including the Aquarium (free birthday shot and t-shirt on your 21st), the Library (more free b-day shots), Cheers (which has crazy flaming shots), and finally Rain, a cheesy gay bar with a great patio, a stripper pole and a light up dance floor.

I was tired when I reached Austin and spent a good amount of time just vegging and recharging my batteries, but I also go to see a lot of the best the town has to offer. My favorite place was probably the Mexic-Arte Museum, which had an amazing exhibit on Aztec-Maya revival art the was very historically contextualized and which included everything from Mayan and Aztec artifacts to pulp mummy film paraphernalia from the 40's and 50's, including an actual clip of a film.

permalink written by  hannahrose on July 21, 2008 from Austin, United States
from the travel blog: Summer Road Journey 2008
tagged Austin, MexicArteMuseum, AMOA and Epoch

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