Look at the weirdo (“Keep Austin weird!”) that we found in Austin!
Just kidding, it’s Charlotte! She suggested we meet for lunch while our car was being serviced at the Spider House Café, a very Austin-esque institution. And yep, with its pop-culture mural and shrine outside and peeing cherub water fountain, I’d say we got a nice little slice of Austin culture.
Charlotte just moved back to Austin after a two-year stint in Atlanta (She likes grad school HOT, apparently.) and is pursuing a PhD in Media Studies (Forgive me if I got that name wrong). Unlike some grad students I know [myself], Charlotte loves most parts of academia and is psyched about her studies and research. I’ll be in interested to see what kinds of cool media theories she publishes in the future!
After lunch, it was too hot to contemplate doing much of anything at all, so we saw The Conjuring, a somewhat acclaimed horror film. While the movie itself was sort of forgettable, the Alamo Drafthouse cinema, an Austin movie chain, was pretty neat. It even serves food during the screenings. I was afraid to get any tea for the movie, lest a jump-scare make me spill hot liquid all over myself.
For dinner, we met up with the family at Fonda San Miguel for some legitimate Mexican (Tex-Mex? Geez, I don’t know the difference) to celebrate Richard’s birthday. This is one of their favorite restaurants, and it did not disappoint. I have seriously forgotten what good salsa and tortillas taste like, so this was awesome.
There were four children in attendance, which made for a somewhat crazy but pretty hilarious dinner. (“Granny! Granny!!! I tooted!”)
The family members all work together on a UPS store franchise with three different branches in Austin. It was neat to hear them talk about how they all worked together on this family venture.
Somehow, we got the whole group together for a picture!
Richard and Vera wanted to stay in Austin at the Four Seasons, where they had celebrated Vera’s birthday a few years ago. Of course, we didn’t say “no” when they suggested this birthday plan.
Look what was waiting for us at the room when we got back! Maybe I should work on my chocolate penmanship skills (though after the disaster that was my cake-decorating class, perhaps not).
As soon as we got back to the room, we were able to see the Austin bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue bridge. We missed this the last time we were in Texas, so Harrison was really excited to see it. Even better, we had an elevated, air-conditioned view from our room, as opposed to the limited oven view from the outside bridge.
Unfortunately, the bats don’t show up that well in the picture, but there were millions of them! I say this without exaggeration.
Thanks to Richard and Vera for a fun stay in both Horseshoe Bay and Austin! We hope to come back soon. (Mom, they hope you’ll come down for a visit soon too!)
Today, we hit the road again, making our way eastward. We had a brief stop in Baton Rouge for the capitol, of course. Harrison surmises that it might be the tallest capitol buiding.
We’re staying in the Garden District in New Orleans, which is the only place outside the French Quarter that I could remember after coming here for two cousins’ weddings. For dinner, we took the streetcar to the French Quarter:
From my previous trips to the Big Easy, I remembered the Napoleon House Bar & Café, which is where we went for dinner. The building is on the register of historic places as part of a failed attempt to rescue Napoleon from exile. Oh well, it makes for a nice place to eat dinner, even if the courtyard was approximately a thousand degrees with ten-thousand percent humidity.
Napoleon House is known for its Pimm’s Cup, which was a refreshing way to combat the New Orleans summer stickiness. I look like a vampire in this picture, but that is perhaps fitting as New Orleans in the setting for Interview with a Vampire.
Harrison had a muffaletta for dinner. There are almost no sandwiches that I find less appealing than muffalettas (Italian cured meats with olive salad), but all of these make Harrison’s list of most-favorite things:
He washed it down with a cold local Pilsner and then was too full for beignets or chicory coffee at Café du Monde. Booooo!
So instead we walked around and saw the Mississippi and Jackson Square by night:
And now, I’m going to go bask in the air-conditioning and congratulate modern society on this delightful, humidity-combatting invention.