We'd been to Nashville, we'd seen a fair chunk of the Midwest, but now it was time for a true cowboy fix. So off we went to Austin, Texas in the hope of being immersed in real yeehaw Cowboys. Sadly, Austin wasn't a true reflection of the Texas that we Aussies think of. There were no hat-wearing, gun-toting, southern-drawling cowboys in sight. In their place was a sea of bearded hipster douchebags with typically lame and predictable sleeve tattoos, sides-shaved haircuts and permanent pouty-faced expressions. Talk about a letdown. We flew out here to find John Wayne and ended up finding Russel Brand on oestrogen pills. Sometimes I worry for our future.
Despite the oversaturation of tossers, we did find a few relics of typical Texas - lots of bars blaring out the country music and southern rock, and a few cool t-shirts with a picture of a Smith & Wesson and the words "Welcome to Texas. We don't dial 911". Cowboy absence aside, the general vibe in Austin was actually pretty cool. Our apartment was located on the famous 6th st, right near all the bars and night spots which we visited almost every night and never went home disappointed. We spent an evening at the famous Coyote Ugly bar - which is basically a bar with cleavage-clad bartenders who just keep shouting at you and pressuring you to drink more. Jess ended up taking on one of the bartenders in a hula-hoop beer sculling challenge - in which the contestants must scull a stubby of beer whilst swinging a hula-hoop around their hips. I could've watched that for hours…
As well as the hula-hooping, we also learned how to play shuffleboard at the local sports bar and spent many a night trying to outdo each other on the board, punctuated by the odd air hockey game in between. 6th st also sported a cool little cigar lounge which employed Cuban refugees to hand roll cigars right in front of you. I would have loved to have sat down there and enjoyed a stogie but the staff were so obnoxious and preoccupied with what product they used to groom their ridiculous beards that they put us off the whole experience. So instead we tried our hand at all the local food trucks.
There's not a vacant block of land in Austin that isn't brought to life by the presence of a food truck. Whether you're in the mood for tacos, hot dogs, pizza, cheesesteaks, Thai food, whatever, there's a truck for you somewhere in Austin. It's something that I wish Australia would embrace but our regulation heavy Nanny State would never allow random old caravans to spurt up all over the place and cook hot food for sale to the public. We tucked into some tacos one night, cheesesteaks the next and Thai curries on another night. All of that was washed down by a visit to the 'Fried and True' truck which served up deep fried Oreos and chocolate brownies. God bless America!
When we weren't plying our trade on 6th st, we were paying a visit to the SoCo (South Congress) district to check out the unique stores full of bric-a-brac and antiques. We even stumbled across an old fashioned lolly store (or candy store as the Yanks call them) that made traditional egg cream soda. What is that you ask? It's basically a fizzy milk chocolate drink that contains neither egg nor cream. In fact nobody really knows why it's called an egg cream soda. But it was delicious. I reckon I know how to make them now so get ready to try some when you next come to our place in Australia. Until then, you'll just have to console yourself by reading the blog on our Next stop: Los Angeles