I'm flying home today. I just got dropped of at DFW by an Uber driver named Million (as in dollars) and I'm waiting to board. I'm sort of glad to be headed home, but definitely sad too. I contracted a pretty mean stomach bug right before Austin, so I'm excited about my own space and my own bed. School starts Monday (what!?) and I've got some things to do between now and then. Returns to reality. Yadda yadda ya.
Yeah, I don't know.
We stayed in a hotel by a Walmart and a gas station. Once we exhausted all our spot had to offer, which was pretty quickly, we took an Uber to a mall with a movie theater and saw The Hundred Foot Journey. It was a really beautiful movie (set in France and filled with food porn) but it was kind of silly too. We did have fun with the film afterwards, though. I don't think I'm giving anything away here by telling you that several times during the movie actors take LIFE-CHANGING BITES of sauces and omelettes and other foods that forever alter their perspective on the entire world. We talked a lot about how hard it would be to pack all of that meaning into one bite and practiced at pretty much every meal afterwards. Hilarious movie star bites = probably the greatest gift Helen Mirren's ever given me.
But, what I really want to talk about is this painting.
A fan talked security into bringing this beautiful painting of a whale back to the green room for the band to sign and return to her, along with an equally beautiful painting of a fox for the boys to keep. I am so impressed and inspired by the artwork WALK THE MOON's fans create on the regular. The drawings and paintings and knit goods and video art and just...all of it. I think it's so neat that people are inspired to make stuff when they listed to E's music, and I love reading fans' letters and getting a sense of how they understand WTM's work and what it's meant to them. Hats off to you, makers. I think you guys are so great.
I was most excited to visit Austin. Years ago, when Eli and I were still in the friend zone, he sent me a text about how much I would love Austin. He must have been at SXSW with some band or another, and I remember thinking: Yes. I will go there someday.
So, right before we got to Austin, my stomach started freaking out. I'm not sure if I ate something funky or if I caught a plain old bug, but either way, my experience of Austin was unfortunately and heavily influenced by how crappy I felt for the majority of the visit. Feeling stomach sick on a tour bus is the absolute worst-- you can trust me on that.
Even still, when I felt like eating things, I was rewarded. We had some dope barbecue at Lamberts and some fresh, blackened seafood at Turf N' Surf Po-Boy. I could definitely eat my way through Austin, and I hope I get the chance to someday.
Yesterday was a day off, so we explored a bit. One of our Uber drivers recommended, completely unprompted, that we visit a free, BYOPaint graffiti park. I mean, we were getting dropped off downtown seeking coffee and shopping, but something about us made him suspect we were packing spray paint and looking for a creative outlet. The park made me think of my little brother and it sounded really cool so we decided to check it out. It did not disappoint. Here's E's panorama of Hope Outdoor Gallery:
We made it all the way to the top because we're super young and not at all scared of precarious, dusty climbing situations.
The above picture is important because of the three kids on the wall (also, timely and interesting commentary on our world: APD #DONTSHOOT). I noticed the kids at the graffiti park, supervised by a mom, and an hour or so later I noticed them again at Barton Springs Pool.
That's right-- Eli and I had the same day as three 9-12 year old boys and their mom.
Barton Springs Pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees. It was much colder for us because we went Nightswimming (a definite REM reference), but it was wonderful anyway. The air was much warmer than the water which was backwards to my brain, but definitely refreshing.
Also, an Uber driver (a different one from the graffiti park guy) told us we should plan to watch the bats fly out from underneath some bridge that night ("8:45pm, like clockwork!"). Although we didn't make it to the suggested bridge, we saw a lot of bats flying above as we were swimming in the pool. Apparently, Austin has a lot of bats.
Here's a panorama of the pool taken by E:
It's about that time-- boarding soon. I'm excited to see my cats.