While I’ve only been here the equivalent of a generous five minutes and my impressions are based on the airport, the view from a cab, an enthusiastic cabbie, and the grounds of my hotel I have a few thoughts about Austin, Texas.
- Tillandsia! – Ya’ll didn’t tell me you have tillandsia. I really didn’t believe they were tillandsia when I first spotted the telltale blobs in the tree branches. I came up with a few possible explanations before a close look revealed that yep, ya’ll have tillandsia. You really know how to charm me Texas.
- Turns out it gets cold in Texas – How do the tillandsia survive when I thought I might die walking from the parking lot to the hotel door? Look, I understand cold. I left a winter wonderland just this morning. But this is Texas! Isn’t it supposed to be warm here? Given that I intend to spend most of my time here outside in gardens it looks like I’m going to have to make an emergency run for warm gear. Turns out that a long sleeve shirt and spring jacket just isn’t going to quite cut it.
- You have trees that lose their leaves – Who knew? I didn’t. I stupidly assumed it didn’t get that cold this far south. Lesson learned.
- Ya’ll’d inspired the creation of what I think could be a new word – And with it’s use of not one but TWO apostrophes it seems very much in line with Texan vernacular. Like Texas plus! Incidentally it means “you all would” or “you all did.”
- There are palm trees in Austin – I expected a few here and there but it turns out they are all over the place here. And not just your scrubby fan palms either. Texas you are blowing my mind.
- Where are your Texas stereotypes Austin? – I need stories to take back home to the Canadians. So far I have not seen an overabundance of patriotism, guns, gun shops, gun racks or cowboys. Except for that one monster-truck-sized SUV and a man asking for directions with a distinct twang I have seen very little that screams, You have now entered Texas! Run for your life! If I do not go home bearing tacky souvenirs this trip will not have been a success.
I get to experience my first real day in Austin tomorrow. I really didn’t know what to expect about this landscape and so far it has been an education. The next few days should make the hell I endured traveling here completely worth it.