My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Austin, Capital of Fun

Hello everybody I am back! Austin was great! Today I would just like to share with you some of the awesome things I did there.  Austin is truly an amazing city, and I fervently believe after spending a few days there that it maybe indeed one of the best cities for young people in the United States today.  There are so many things to do there, and it is a very unique place.  In addition, the city is very affordable to live in and there are many job opportunities there.  I spent almost 3 whole days there, and did not even scratch the surface of all the fun things to do.

This picture epitomizes Austin.
When I got there on Thursday I was blown away by how vibrant the city was, even when most of the college kids were gone.  Every month the city holds these festivals where several people pitch camp and try to sell you things.  There are several different cool little trinkets and doodads being sold by everyone and his mother.  The only let down of the trip was when I lamely tried to barter over the price, but needless to say, I was not very good at it, and ultimately I bought the shirt at his price.  Despite that one setback, the whole thing was very down to earth and fun.  All sorts of unique people were there, and there was not a pretentious soul in the whole place.

I learned that day that Austin's motto is, "Keep Austin Weird." I also learned that in keeping with that tradition, Austin's mascot is this crazy frog that has called Austin his home for the last 20 something years.   All the stores pay homage to Austin's weirdness, trying their best to keep Austin's weird factor as high as they can.  Many stores sold shirts with their motto and mascot on them, and of course, you can see University of Texas Orange everywhere you go (warning: you will see more than your fair share of ugly orange wearers here).  I kept hoping to find someone selling a "saw off em' horns" shirt, but my search was desperate and hopeless.

One of the crazy stores I went to was called "Toy Joy." It was an unique store, and at first sight I could not figure out how a store like that could stay open in a college town like this.  However when I went inside, I soon found out why.  The place is hilarious.  All sorts of weirdly distorted and amalgamated toys coexist in this shrine to all toys obscure.  Every toy you ever saw at Chucky Cheese made his debut, along with every other small toy you found in either a stocking stuffer or a piƱata.  What made the place special besides the reminiscence it inspired, was the hilarious labels under each toy.  Each different toy had a witty label that made me burst out in laughter several times.  One said, "Beautiful woman for only $1.95." It probably does not sound funny, but at the time it was.

Another store highlight was this vintage clothes store.  I have always been a sucker for vintage things, and this was no exception.  My friends and I indulged ourselves in the bright colors from pastel pink to neon orange.  The 80's music playing in the background made the experience perfect.  I only wished I knew of such a store where I live.

There were several unique restaurants as well.  There was a Mexican restaurant along a lakeshore.  Everyone there wore hawaiian shirts, and a massive fake fish was leaping out of the water.  There were several light bulbs, which made me wonder how beautiful the place would be at night.  There I tried some Barbecue tacos.  They were positively scrumptious with a nice Texan twang.  There were several other cool restaurants we went to, but it would be too long to describe all of them.

If you haven't guessed, Austin is absolutely hoppin at night.  I tried out this one down to earth bar called "The Local." There were pool tables in there and some random band wearing prison jackets.  They were funny and the atmosphere was very relaxed.  In addition I look back fondly to kicking my friend's buttox at 8-ball.  There was also another cool place where you could play Jenga, yet it was quite loud and obnoxious in my opinion.

This is the venue we went to for the conert.
The last thing I did at Austin to cap off the whole weekend was go to a "Head and the Heart" concert.  It was interesting to say the least.  The outside venue was really cool.  There were Christmas style lights hanging above that would turn many different colors.  It was also attached to a restaurant called Stubb's Barbecue.  There was a band playing inside and the food looked amazing (unfortunately by then I was strapped for cash and did not feel like losing an arm for some good grub).

Then of course there was the  bands.  Before I go on, I am not much of a hipster, and this was a very hipsteresque concert.  Therefore my opinion will inevitably be tainted for the worse.  My friend spent most of the time educating me on all things hipster and on all of the different types of hipster.  It was fascinating to say the least.  Nevertheless the music wasn't really my thing.  In addition the music simply was too "coffee housish" to make a good concert in my opinion.  Perhaps if the venue was less concert and more coffee house style it would have been better.  Anyway, I did find the second band, "Moon Doggies," to be a good fit, probably because they were a louder faster paced band.  Unfortunately the Head and the Heart disappointed me.  In addition the fans disappointed me.  It was a really stiff concert, and I do not really understand the point of standing stiffly for hours on end.  I wanted to move around and even dance, but nooooo, that was not acceptable at this hipster paradise.  Needless to say, I have not come anywhere near being converted to hipsterism.

Then the next day I went home with my friend.  I really enjoyed it, and would love to live there someday maybe.  In addition to everything I have mentioned the city is surprisingly affordable for such a cool place.  $800/month is typical rent in the city, which would be unheard of in most cities with cool downtown areas.  Also, San Antonio is only a bit over an hour away, and there is tons to do there as well.  I have been sold on Austin's awesomeness.  Check it out for yourself and see what you think.  Unless you despise all things city, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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