Keep Austin Weird

Was already up even before the crack of dawn. Super sleepy and tired, as I only got to bed at 2am the night before. Met the others down at the car 7am, Kasia wasn't feeling well and did not join us... Magda said Kasia was vomitting and experiencing diarrhoea (!!), she had rabbit the night before too! Lol. Apart from the dizziness from the wine, I felt completely fine. Well, for the first time, my stomach survived! Maybe all those microwaved food had somewhat strengthened it? Anyways, I later found out that Kasia was already not feeling very well before the French dinner...

Austin's official slogan promotes the city as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local
businesses and resist excessive commercialization.


The drive there took us 2 and a half hours, Irwin is such a good person, I don't know how dead tired he is, but he certainly brought us all in one piece to Austin.

The Texas Capitol building hidden.

Completed in 1888 as the winning design from a national competition, the Capitol's style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy and characterized by classical orders, round arches and symmetrical composition. The structural exterior is "sunset red" granite, quarried just 50 miles from the site. Additional structural support is provided by masonry walls and cast iron columns and beams. The foundation is limestone. Texas paid for the construction not in dollars, but in land: some three million acres in the Texas Panhandle that would later become the famous XIT Ranch.

Statues around the building.

Every single door hinge is specially crafted.

Entering the building...

Can you imagine working in a place like this? Oh yeah, there are people working inside, something I cannot comprehend, having tourist poking their heads into your office and strolling around as you try to get your work done.

Old machine that checks punched ticket coding.

Entering the centre court, right under the dome.

Isn't it majestic?

And right underneath the dome is the single lone star of Texas.

Entering the House of Representatives:

This (I think) is where bills of rights are approved or some sort.

Each table is equipped with an electronic system where you key in your vote, "aye", or "nay" and also a special little button which enables the mic on your table.

Gold (coloured) lifts.

Streets of Austin.

Anyway, we did loads of walking around the city (I don't know why exactly we didn't use the cars.) and it was so freaking warm that day! 28C must be. Sweltering heat. And it was so darn cold in the morning.

Walked all the way to the river of Colorado. Actually this river/lake/dam has numerous names it seems. Some call it the Austin lake. But it isn't a lake and it flows to the Colorado river. A dam is built there too, you will see that later.

Butterfly that managed to get into the shot.

Walked a mile or so to an artsy-fartsy Mexican American Gallery.

I was actually mildly disappointed at this stage, as you can see I didn't write much about this city. Personally I think San Antonio has more to offer, although many other Americans said that Austin is much prettier than San Antonio. Hmm... maybe it's just us who do not know where to hang out?

Austin does live up to its nickname the live music capital. As we crossed the streets, some roads are closed off and this particular area was pumping with music beats, deejays can be seen on the balcony.
Oh, not all is lost! The day was saved by a tour. Paid $25 for a tour around the city. It's called the Duck Adventures because the vehicle that we will enjoy the tour in is an amphibious vehicle.

Hot Hot Day.

General Motors came up with these type of vehicle in (insert year here) to transport goods for the army. Back then, the vehicle has to be able to cross swamps, rivers, roads etc. However, the duck that we were on was apparently a newer version of the vehicle but I think it is mainly for this tourism business.

An interesting fact: Notice that at the top of the Capitol dome, there is a statue of a lady. Well, apparently it is suppose to image the Statue of Liberty but instead of holding the torch, the lady holds a star.

The biggest star in Texas outside the Museum.

The firemen collecting donations in boots. Lol. But it is certainly refreshing to see young and fit lifesavers instead of the belly guts that roams around... ahem.

The tour guide apparently has done this tour many many times lol. Everything he says seems to rehearsed lol. But no complains. Anyway, as we got nearer to the lake/river/river, he puts the duck to a stop and yells that he is going full speed into the river.

Fun!! Oh, yes, we splashed the tanning girls bad :P

You can't really tell, but it was really hot out there. The river isn't exactly clean, but remember earlier I said we walked and were really close to the river. It is clear enough to be able to see through to the bottom of the river, but unfortunately there is a substantial amount of trash just right where you could see them.

This area is where all the multi-million mansions are.

Michael Dell apparently lives here. He did not only bought a mansion there, he got himself the whole hill too.

Oh that green strap thing I was wearing actually a whistle attached to it. But it isn't a normal whistle, when you blow through the mouthpiece (shaped like a duck's beak), it quacks! The tour guide encourages all of us to quack with it whenever we stumble into a group of people or to unsuspecting golfers at nearby golf course lol.

The dam as promised.

This building on top here used to be a tower for the firemen to practise their skills. Apparently, they used to set this building on fire and also have volunteers (I have no idea who) to jump from the upper floors and the firemen will catch them at bottom.

Our duck ride :)

Then we walked some miles more to meet the others (some of us are separated cos some wanted to go on duck, some didn't) under a bridge.

Now, this isn't just any bridge.

The bridge houses the largest urban bat colony under it. And at dusk, 1.5 million bats will fly out from under the bridge and hunt for food. An estimated 1000-1500 pounds of insects are consumed daily by these flying creatures.

So we waited.

And waited. (we were there since 6pm)

And wait wait wait.

I remembered I fell asleep. Anyway, 15 minutes to 8, close to dusk, the colony starts migrating out of the bridge in an arranged manner. They flew from both ends of the bridge and exit through the same area and fly our in groups...

1.5mil... took a looong time. I think it was already 10 minutes with those pesky things flying in groups as big as that, when we decided to leave (to prepare for our presentation!). Even as we left those things are still flying from under the bridge...

End of Saturday! Reached our apartments close to midnight.

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