I spent the past few days in Texas! Austin and Houston to be exact. What did I expect? A lot of things, I went to visit my friend at the University of Texas at Austin. When somebody from Europe who studies in Boston goes to Texas he might expect what I expected.
I thought of cowboys, gun-nuts with their revolvers in their holsters, ready to shoot anybody who gives them the feeling of being threatened. I expected big cars, endless streets, flat lands and fat people. I expected heavily obese people with a very conservative mind-set about the world just the most extreme of opinions in the States to be honest. I thought to myself that it would be an experience and I should dare to go there and have a look.
Well, I was disappointed with many of the assumptions. Cars are big that is true. It is also flat, not as flat as the state of Illinois but flat enough for a Swiss guy. But the night I arrived in Austin I felt very comfortable. It was what people call alternative. Austin is such a laid back place with a lot of great things about it. The first dinner I had was in a rustic-style bar with a real Texan and my friend from Spain. The Lone Star was proudly presented everywhere, good old rock music was humming from the speakers and an southern accent which I loved was omnipresent. As for dinner, I prepared for the greasiest, most unhealthy and delicious burger my imagination could possibly conceive. The menu I held in my hands said very different things. The bar which made a hard-rock impression served only vegan, vegetarian and other healthy food. Most of it was also gluten-free. I had the most healthy and unexpected dinner since I arrived in the US. Austin was already something very different from what I expected.
My friend’s roommate explained that there is Austin and that there is Texas. Austin is different from what I would expect. So far it was quite the case.
Then, after going down the streets and passing what looked just like the Capitol building in Washington D.C. I still expected some sort of Bluegrass, deep-south, country folk kind of night life. I imagined that there would be people with cowboy boots, hats and flannel shirts. To my surprise it was very different and absolutely amazing. In 6th street there is roughly a quarter of a mile which is closed for cars and where you can find countless bars and clubs. None of them charge cover. The bars are located all next to each other and the closed road is packed with people who are having a great time. Not extremely obese people but good-looking college students and other Texans. It was surprising and awesome. People are really nice too. The further West I go the nicer they seem. I can’t imagine what California must be like. You somehow get the feeling that people care when they ask “How y’all doin’?”.
It is truly different from what I had imagined. Most places host live bands during the evening before they switch to DJs. Live music everywhere, great life music at that and by everywhere I mean everywhere. People call Austin the “Live music capitol of the world”, I can only agree on that. During an evening you could hear at least four or five bands changing places after every round of drinks. Drinks which should be enjoyed responsibly.
Austin is amazing and worth a visit!
What I was ready to – kind of – experience:
What I experienced: