Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Traveling Again- Austin, TX

My husband got a coveted speaking engagement at this week's SXSW conference in Austin, and I was lucky to be able to go with him for the weekend. I've never been to Texas before so this was pretty exciting. We made a weekend of it, staying with friends and enjoying the sights and food of this fun part of the country.

We arrived at our hosts' home on Friday night and tucked into some delicious home-made chili. After a long day of flying that was about it for us.

Saturday was a full day of running around and taking in the local color. After getting the day started with some Torchy's breakfast tacos (migas with chipotle sauce for me) we visited Book People, the legendary independent bookstore. I bought The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes, a bookmark and a little zipper pouch.

Book People, Austin TX

We spent a good long time browsing and exploring the aisles. Book People is two floors of books with staff picks running down the center of every shelf. It also has a big cooking section and a very nice cafe. I had the Frida Kahlo mocha- delicious and very spicy!

Next up was Cavender's, a department store of Western wear-boots, jeans, clothing and jewelry. My husband found some cowboy shirts and I came away with a pretty necklace. I wanted  pretty much every pair of boots in the store! I own a pair of red Ariat boots that I did not bring to Texas- I should have!
Cavender's boots- just a sample!
I could have spent all day trying on all the fun clothes.

After this we scaled back and enjoyed Central Market, a big gourmet grocery store, Hobby Lobby, a local chain of craft and hobby stores and The Quilt Store, which has a great selection of Texas and Mexican fabric. I came away with a handful of fat quarters including two pieces of orange Longhorn batik, which I bet I won't find here in Massachusetts!

We had dinner at the Salt Lick in Driftwood that night- yum! The Salt Lick came highly recommended for barbecue and we were not disappointed.

Sunday was all SXSW. We walked the exhibits, checked out the scene and Jeff did a great job at his presentation, on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the "Fragile Law" that protects Internet speech. My job was to monitor the questions that the audience tweeted and repeat them to the moderators. It was a great session!
This guy is dressed up in some kind of robot motion-capture costume, from the SXSW exhibit floor.

Then Monday we flew home but before we did, we had the chance to check out the Austin Rodeo Midway. The actual rodeo took place at night; this was more the county-fair side of it with rides, greasy food and animals. We saw longhorns, met a guy from New Mexico who makes pewter models of horny toads and watched a pig racing competition. I believe the pig racing was rigged, since the Longhorns pig always won and the OSU pig always came in dead last.

I wish we could have stayed for the evening rodeo but all in all it was a great weekend in Texas! I hope we get to go back sometime soon!