Friday, February 27, 2009

Austin IV: A Little Help from My Friends

Miles since last blog: 4.1 (but much further off route for kets and such)
Miles Total: 2316.7


Ahem, sorry about the whiny outburst of yesterblog, I've manned up and it's all good now.

Today, was a good day. I met great people though it had been several days in the making to line up a meet, and I changed couches so I am now surfing close to downtown. The walk was great, it was a hot day and by the time I got to my host's work my shirt was soaked through, it was also white, good thing I'm not a college girl or the hooting would have been merciless as I passed the construction sites. As it was I feel fairly sexy but not objectified, just right. Of course my new host has cats too, I've pretty much resigned myself to the idea that almost everyone in America has cats, which would be fine if I wasn't allergic to them.

Back to the walk though, I got to see new parts of the city which is always a great experience. It would be a lie if, even as a traveler, I said that as I move along I'm not constantly evaluating each new town for . . . livability. It's natural, even if you can't imagine yourself ever coming into circumstances to visit a place again, you always think about living there and what it has to offer, or what it lacks.

Walking down Lamar towards downtown takes you directly through the Pease District Park. If you are in the North of the country, you'll appreciate this, even if you didn't catch the full ramifications of my sweaty heat earlier. There were, at first, great gnarly oaks and grass fields filled with college students, they were playing disc golf, directly on the horizon, not far off at all, was the unique skyline of the city reaching high up into a territory some might say we were never meant to tread in. Just blocks away from these giants, kids were shirtless and frolicking in the sun lie it was summer, there three full bore co-ed beach volleyball games in full swing in sand pits in the grass. It's still February. I could definitely Winter here, Summer . . .

The cafes and bars I've been spending time at are all artistically decorated and novel and homey, all of them have outside patios which are constantly busy and the cafe I spent the most time at was 24 hours and didn't even seem to get really busy until after midnight when it was filled with University kids working on various projects and homework. I almost wanted to scoot up to a table and help them out, I was sure I could help with almost anything they were studying, I'm pretty well informed, for undergrad coursework anyhow. Okay, so school could keep me here in Fall and Spring, but Summer . . . Summer's a good time to travel, let's leave that at good enough, 3 out of 4 seasons isn't bad.

Tonight I found myself tagging along to a Whole Foods Market, actually THE Whole Foods Market, the center for the whole company where the headquarters and attached culinary school is, and most importantly, the buffet/cafeteria. You pick up a recycled paper trough and pile in whatever you want then go to weigh it and pay by the pound. I, being the eater I am and also a slight idiot at times, figured I would just fill up the trough. When one of the CSers I was with saw it she simply burst out laughing and her face turned red and eyes watered, it was the first moment that I realized I had gotten quite a bit of food. 3.6 pounds to be exact when we weighed it. The clerks reactions weren't much different.

"You have the record," the checkout girl said.

"If you eat all that we'll give you free dessert," the manager said.

Well, I am nothing if not idiotically competitive, even if I have no one to compete against and at risk of great personal injury (see my entire life). I set about my work, Pork Soul (which I had thought was intangible, but is apparently not and also quite delicious), Madras Potatoes, Chicken Pasta, Hummus, Beef Curry, and a number of other things all mixed into a heaping orgy of food. It came down to the fistful of rice I had wedged into one corner of the trough. I looked at it pensively, one of the CSers laughed at me when I started talking to it.

"Alright rice, here we go." I'd say. "I'm not gonna like this any more than you will." The CSers were nothing but supportive, even when you are watching something completely disgusting and ridiculous, sometimes you can't help but get wrapped up in it and start rooting, if only because despite all that, it truly is amazing. Forkload by forkload, the rice trickled down my gullet, just as we were readying to go I held up the empty container to the shock of a few at the table.

I think that once I was really full, what pushed me to finish the last few bites was the inherent joke that the prize for eating a ridiculous amount of food, was more food. I had to finish if only for that ridiculousness. We went inside and redeemed my empty trough for an amazing Oreo cake with tons of frosting which I tried to pawn off on several people and even looked for a homeless person to give it to before carting it around the rest of the night and finally eating it around 1 am.

From gluttony I went to culture, a bar/art show where I met a number of interesting people including a few other surfers that I regret not getting to chat with more. The prize of this portion of the evening was a coveted clip of video I recorded and will use in an upcoming video if I can get my act together. Thank you Adam if you are reading this.

From culture went to a house party where some interesting jokes and good conversation popped up sporadically, but as always it is the little things and the connections with people during the day that stick with you and set the tone. The comment you got about something you wrote, a text from a friend, or in one case a tweet from a man who just keeps astounding me with his generosity of spirit and friendship. When he knew I was down, he sent me the link below, enjoy.


1 comment:

Kneece said...

fantastic! i miss you and i've missed reading your blogs. sorry. i'm so glad you're having a good experience in austin. i love austin!!!!!!!!!!!! what a fantastic city. if i had to live in the south, it's one of the only places i'd consider (and chapel hill of course).