Don't Mess With Texas
Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
77Trip End Feb 22, 2012
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The train was great - when I bought my ticket the man told me he loved my accent (I get this all the time, at least 3 times a day - they love me here!!) he said apologetically 'the trains are not like the ones in England, you'll see'. Well it left on time and a conductor personally came around to greet us and made sure everyone got their own double seat as he had space, the seats are HUGE (built for fat people - to the extent that I physically could not reach the tray table it's that far in front) and there is a cute diner car with a woman announcing over the loud speaker 'come get your beer here, eat, drink and be merry people
So I arrived in Austin and continuing to blag accommodation I went to crash at my friend Mark's house. I met Mark at a jungle hut in the depths of Borneo last May ... we were both staying at Osman's house, the animal tracker and all round jungle guy, and spent a few days searching for orangutans on canoes, as you do :) I remember that Osman's wife didn't really have room for me so I got put on a mattress in the corner of their living room separated by a piece of hardwood, although Mark says they kicked their daughter out of 'her room' and put her outside to make space for me - I really hope this was not true! So he said if I was ever in Austin to stop by ... and here I am!! :)
Austin is a really 'cool' city. It's slogan is 'Keep Austin Weird'. This was backed up by Mark and his roommate (USA speak for flatmate) Davey taking me to a street corner to hold up signs reading Free Hugs and proceeding to hug strangers just for the hell of it
There's plenty of nature to be had around Austin, with lots of hiking and bike trails. Complete with stupid signs to make sure you don’t, shock horror, dip your toes into unprocessed water!!! And there is drive-through everything, from drive-through ATM to drive-through pharmacy to drive-through liquor store. Who needs to walk?! We went to see some blue grass music which was interesting! There is live music everywhere here, and loads of trailer parks with great food stalls. At last some cheap(er) food!! Mark convinced me to get signed up to Couchsurfing.com. I met lots of cool couchsurfer people at a party so I'm convinced and ready to go! I also went to the State Capital building, where they make all the important decisions for Texas ...
At the weekend I met up with another friend I made travelling - Patricia from Houston
Patricia took me shooting! I wanted to fire a gun in Texas so we went to a range in Houston, my next stop. Everyone here has guns. We just walked on in with her two handguns. When the man at the desk asked when we last came, she told them 'I was here a month ago and she's never held a gun in her life' - the man wasn't fazed, just asked me what type of target I wanted. I have to say it was great fun and I could get into shooting!! At first I was a little concerned that a crazy person might come in and shoot us all but as Patricia said who is gonna go crazy in a gun range when everyone is armed and a crack shot?!
Whilst in Houston I experience my first American hostel and went to the Johnson Space Center with some new friends that I made
So that concludes my time in Texas. I've had a great time here - meeting cowboys, shooting guns, country music, old friends and the great southern hospitality. Just remember everyone has a gun, and as their slogan says, Don't Mess With Texas!!