Friday, May 15, 2009
Austin Texas is not in Texas. So says just about everyone I have met there. There is a culture different from that which one would think is the "damn proud of my heritage attitude" of most Texans. It is a good place with style, unlike Dallas, Houston, even San Antonio with its fabricated river walk of corporate hotel and restaurant. Austin is different from the rest of the state, independent of the state in many ways, even though the state capital sits boldly in the middle of downtown.
I was there on business meeting some folks on the active living front. Austin is all about that, active living and entrepreneurship is the best way I can explain. Small start up businesses are springing up everywhere. I strolled the warehouse district to get a feel for what is real and what is not, as well as other areas of the city, to find out what the culture there truly possesses. I noticed some things that were really on the fringe. The use of the old buildings, the architecture that defines the area--this was cool. The loading docks are all left exposed, so to navigate from one building to the next took you up and down stairs, connectors with surfaces that change, creating an interesting way for business owners to merchandise.
We went to Mellow Johnnie's near an area soon to be developed and enhanced by additional big building stuff. There is mixed use apartments towering high above the skyline, condos, expensive ones, with retail below, mixed in with the old. The whole place is really quite splendid with the eclectic mix of old and new. The attitude is hip. Lots of fixie retro stinky bikes ridden by the locals, for those with impeccable style. I, like a tourist, purchased a couple MJ jerseys, one to display at the Wolf and one for swag at the Dirt Crit races this summer.
I am going back in two weeks. if anyone wants to go with. Going, to just hang out in the center of town and get in to the active lifestyle a bit, ride bikes, drink coffee, listen to music. You can ride out of town in to single track I am told. The locals also told me of a couple private land owner places where the single track is golden. I am taking up trail running and since this place is famous for ultra marathon freaks, I plan on working my way in to the fold and find out what this place is all about.
Maybe I will bring a video camera and film it, start a reality show seeking out the best Active Living Cities in the Country, maybe that is what I am supposed to do. Maybe I have already started this whole thing and I haven't quite gotten warmed up yet. Regardless, Austin is a fun town and certainly inspiring for those who want to check out of Midwestern delirium. I plan on getting a firm dose of this town, and seek to capture the culture in the journey, then spread the word, ifyouknow.....