Thursday, June 2, 2011

Texas Flood

San Antonio, you are a weird bastard. 

I loved spending the afternoon in the hotel's pool, staring up at the Towers of America and the freeway that ran adjacent to the pool's length. It was pushing 8PM, but the sun was still out and the heat was blistering. When the chlorine left my eyes looking like I'd spent hours smoking dope, I opted out for food.

It was discovered that the whole riverfront area of San Antonio is pretty much man made, and essentially just a mall with a big water feature. Following a food court dinner a homeless guy told us that if we were looking to party, Coyote Ugly would be the place. Being a Monday night, the streets were still fairly void of people, and so were the bars.

Stumbling about in the heat and by the water, we eventually found a bar that was loud enough to be heard from a few steps away. Just as the homeless man suggested, we walked into Coyote Ugly.

An older barmaid was on the bar, yelling down a microphone at people, and generally embarrassing herself. She looked like Sigourney Weaver, but spoke like a trailer park resident. She called Dicky Peach Jason Mraz, and as we yelled our orders over her wailing, we finally got a drink.

Like every bar we'd been in for the last two weeks, we were again the youngest clients. A middle aged black woman danced all over the bar, and eventually Max and I. Meanwhile, a fat white guy did his best  efforts to wobble rhythmically with encouragement from more bar-dancing microphone bandits. 

After drinking scummy light beer and giggling as the nicer looking bar girls danced to hilarious heavy metal, we left when they turned the drink hose on us. The bar was tackier than a discount store, but no one had told any of the staff or white-trash clients. 

After some minor hotel rearrangements and a quick sleep, I woke for another swim while Dicky Peach and Max made the most of their new makeshift beds. Eventually, we all ventured out into downtown, and in the heat walked around San Antonio.

The city has a sandy colour about it, and if New Orleans is like America's France, then San Antonio is it's Spain. Unfortunately, the similarities end there, as after checking out some buildings and the Alamo, there wasn't much else to do apart from melt. Sure it's pretty, and there is a water feature, but there is only so many touristy cowboy shops needed in a downtown area. That said, we did pay a visit to the wax museum, where WWE figures are the showpieces out the front.


We all joined Mexican families in the pool, as their kids ran around the edges and one grandpa bellyflopped and paddled into me while swimming in his denim shorts. We also may have witnessed some mild paedophilia, as a 14-year-old looking guy swam with his tattooed girlfriend. It was pure Texan white trash, though not surprising given we were at a cheap downtown motel.

That night we watched the basketball in the luxurious bar 'Hooters'. Our heavy chested server made sure we never ran out of beer, and we thought we had charmed our way into a great price when the total came up much shorter than we imagined. However, it turned out we'd just been lucky, and selected the beer on special all night. It was all fake charm.

It turns out that despite the best intentions of locals, they are crap at giving out directions for places to go out.Our Hooters girl mentioned a bar on the other side of town, and when we stopped by the Marriot for their last cool we were directed to Leaping Lizards - a place we were told would be pumping.

Alas, it wasn't. The only excitement from our stay was a West Texan joining us for a few games of pool before we left his inaudible ramblings behind. San Antonio had proved to be an exceptionally weird bastard.

It's odd though. Austin is the town that promotes the saying "Keep Austin Weird", and right from the start, it was clear that it wasn't. In fact, it's not that weird at all, it's great. It was crazily hot when we arrived in the afternoon, and with our hostel on the banks of the Colorado River, our ideas for a swim were dashed when we were told it was dirty.

Still, we grabbed a football and kicked it around the lawn as the heat sapped all of our energy. Given that I didn't want to be the one who kicked the ball into the river, I headed towards the nearest pontoon, seeing all sorts of fish and even a baby turtle at the shore. Not long after, I saw the ball run the hill and into the water. Crap! I had given up my drivers licence to get the ball out.

Seeing my licence float away was made frustrating by the fact that I was told we shouldn't go in the water for a swim. That didn't stop Max though, and as the ball drifted further and further away, he sprang into action; emptying his pockets and rolling up his shorts.

After some persuading, he dipped his legs into the river, and slowly edged himself into the water. As his feet touched the ground he began to feel himself sink, and in a panic, lost one of his thongs as he made a hasty return to dryness. As a team of rowers ignored our calls and the ball drifted towards the other side of the bank, our quiet kick about had turned into a bit of a mess.

Max had to be hosed-down by the hostel staff, but in doing so we managed to get some company for a night out on Austin's famed 6th st. It was brilliant, with cheap beers going down as bands played up and down the road. Eventually we settled for the roof top, listening to an acoustic guitar player go through some covers including Weezer's Say It Ain't So. We sang along, and he even offered some Oasis tunes that reminded me of everyone from UMass. As his set finished Max managed to offend some Adelaide bogans who took offense at his English banter (dickheads). As we left the venue, the guy playing the set came up to me and thanked me for coming to the show and singing along. It was a lovely gesture, and something remarkably absent from every other show I've been to. I have no idea of the guy's name, but it was a brilliant set from a very talented man.
We all returned back to the hostel, and the group of sat out on pontoon, staring at the stars above and being forced to listen to me ruin some songs on guitar. After one night, Austin had won me over.

Today we walked through downtown, checking out the state capital building and 6th street during the day. There was the typical American crazies out on the street. Judging by the quietness of downtown, it seems this place is rather nocturnal, as there are a ton of shows each night. It's my last night with Dicky Peach and Max, and in a city like this, I'm sure will make it a good elf.

From certain angles it looks like this kid is trying to pee in his own mouth

Weezer - Ruling Me
So, I'm due to leave Austin on Sunday, but Weezer are playing two shows on the Monday and Tuesday here. Each show is them playing one of their earlier albums from start to finish, and sold out at rapid pace. Michael and I did plan on seeing those shows in Boston, but missed out due to university exams. Since they've never been to Australia, I'll probably not get a chance to see them unless I can find $150+ for scalped tickets. If anyone knows of any ways to get rich quickly please let me know. I have the time to stay here longer, but not the money for the shows and it's sadder than one of their many awesome ballads.

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