Austin, Texas

So far, I have been to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and College Station. I spoke of Dallas in my Dallas stars post and I will return to the city at some point because JFK was shot and killed there. It makes an interesting city very intriguing. I added to that list Austin this past weekend and during the weekend away I realised certains things about myself and the cities that I like.

See, my favourite cities in the world all have on thing in common with them – they are all not in the UK. That is obviously a grass-is-always greener thing that appears when you go anywhere on holiday. Very few people think that their favourite city is the city they actually live in for the reason that they live there. Glasgow, and Aberdeen, are both wonderful places that I admit are not anything to write home about but by default I love them.

Austin, however, is now in my top favourite cities ever. It jostles for positions between such heavy weights as New York, Paris and Venice because of the exact opposite of the above reason. See, Austin felt like home; it felt like a European city transplanted to the USA, and strangely, Texas, because of a few important things.

Fristly, it automatically feels much more comfortable in it’s self. With a downtown University Campus, not too tall buildings, a bus network that appeared to be used, and a single set of streets of bars and concert venures likened the City Centres of UK cities to the annoyingly devoid Downtown of Dallas and Houston. Secondly, it had a wealth of musical acts playing all the time. During a Saturday afternoon it was 27’C and we were drinking a beer and coke listening to a singular acoustic guitarist playing white Christmas. It made its way into my heart in that way so quickly it was surprising.

The third reason will humble many readers of my blog, hopefully, and surprise many. When walking down Congress in Austin (a street, by the way) there was a person walking in front oh myself and my girlfriend, Connie.
“That’s really cool, you know” she says “That makes me really happy”.
“What does?” I ask.
“I like seeing that. That’s a man dressed as a woman”
And it was. In the middle of Texas there was an openly transsexual man walking brazenly down the road. No one even noticed, not even turned their head. Earlier, whilst eating breakfast at the coolest bistro I’ve seen in the country so far, we were sat next to flamboyantly homosexual men enjoying lunch. Later, there were two lesbians at the piano bar we were drinking at. Even a quip made by one of the pianists about a group of ladies sitting at a table and how ‘they might not be here for the boys, it is Austin after all’ made the whole place cheer with a loud drunken roar.

So, Austin is pretty forward thinking. Or, at least, modern thinking, compared to some parts of the USA. Texas has so far not been the hot bed of Homophobia or Religious fervour that I might have expected, but it’s definitely a part of the culture that is slowly creeping in and taking over, not without a little resistance, admittedly.