Sunday, October 22, 2006

Austin City Limits

Well, would you believe that I bought a book in the airport about a reporter who travels by herself and writes about her learning experiences. (Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by Alice Steinbach.)

And, would you believe that I didn't even get to read half of it, because I was too busy enjoying Austin?

The exam prep part was mostly rather boring.

But I also:

* sat in the airplane next to Jay, drummer for the Fabulous Thunderbirds

* ran into a college friend I hadn't seen for over fifteen years

* found a wonderful French brasserie where I ate three different evenings with three different sets of companions

* had lunch at Las Manitas, recommended by Jay, an authentic Mexican restaurant threatened with being shutting down--I assume it has to do with the fact that you have to walk through the middle of the kitch to get to the patio, which is covered with a platic "roof"--a petition was in progress to protest the shutting down--quite an eating adventure, and I hope it doesn't get shut down

* met the lone psychiatric intern who had also come alone and thought she would spend five days shunned by family therapists (who have a history of major disagreements with the medical model used by psychiatrists)--and she was even considering Memphis as a residency option--who'd've thought it?

* watched thousands of bats fly from the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset

* watched the sunrise during my morning prayer time

* found a wonderful bakery that made everything from scratch and had the cutest Halloween cookies I've ever seen

* accidentally walked into a Catholic church at mass (I thought the church was empty!)

* watched hawks flying over the river

* ate fettucine and funghi sitting at a bar because the tables were all reserved

* got to have breakfast with Jackie Halstead, a woman I'd admired from afar based on her writings

* generally had a wonderful time walking around Austin when I wasn't with old and new friends

* talked most of the flight back with a 79 year old woman from Vienna who had actually been to Zagreb and other Croatian cities and gave me advice about being married to a European man

You just never know what's in store, do you?


Carolinagirl said...

Its been years since I've been to Austin, but the one thing I like about it is that it's probably one of the most diverse places in the States that I've been.

Your trip sounds as if it was adventerous.

Lisa said...

So, was Jay from the Fabulous Thunderbirds "tough enough"? And when did you start enjoying Mexican food?

Sheila said...

Well, it's not like the plane crashed or anyone picked a fight or anything to give Jay a chance to show his toughness.

My impression was that he is very polite and gentle, actually. And said if he ever marries and has children he will not keep traveling and drumming. (In case anyone reading is interested? I don't know why I wrote that, except that it wasn't what I expected from a long-haired drummer. Not at all a "tough guy" in the traditional sense.)

About Mexican food, I generally enjoy it if it's not hot and apicy, and I've found it's generally Americans, not Mexicans, who make it hot and spicy.