I'm sitting in the hotel lobby with our crew. Earlier, I spent about 2 hours cruising around the greater Austin area with an old friend who recently began a new ministry role here. This trip has served as a reminder that those of us who grew up in Southern California are a bit arrogant/elitist in our opinions. You see, there is no way any other place in the United States can be as nice, as fun, as beautiful, as trendy, as....well ANYTHING as So. Cal. As we headed to Austin, we knew without a doubt that there would be nothing about it that equaled our home sweet home.
Now four days later, I must admit that although there isn't a whole lot about Austin I like better than Southern Cal there is a VERY cool flavor to the city. It's eclectic, diverse, full of great local restaurants, friendly, and feels like a place that, should I be forced to leave California, I could enjoy.
Okay, now for my thoughts on Bats, Faux hawks, and Deep-Fried Green Beans.
BATS: There is a bridge over the lake just below our hotel. It's been named 'bat bridge' because just after dusk every night of the year, close to 1,000,000 bats fly out from under it into the night sky. We watched it one night and it was a pretty amazing sight. The whole phenomenon raised a ton of questions in my mind, two of which are:
1) Why THIS bridge? There is another, identical, bridge about two hundred yards up the lake, but no bats hang out there (ha! 'hang out there'....).
2) Which bat is in charge and when does he/she decide it's time to fly into the night. They didn't slowly trickle out over a couple of hours....the night went from totally calm to being flooded with bats in the blink of an eye.
Faux Hawks (shortish hair pushed to middle on top and gelled to resemble a short, temporary style that resembles a mo hawk): While they may not be as popular amongst the youth worker profession as the mullet was in the 80's or the goatee/soul patch of recent years, they are definitely the preferred hair style of the coolest of cool youth workers. However, unlike the mullet or facial hair trends, the faux hawk is one that only the younger youth workers can pull off. A 40 year old with a soul patch is somewhat acceptable...put a faux hawk on the same guy and it screams 'insecure, older youth worker trying hard to hold onto his youth'
Deep-Fried Green Beans: A new appetizer at TGI Fridays. We were told that Austin leads the way when it comes to fashion (we dispute that claim), but we weren't told that they lead the way in new appetizer offerings at TGI Fridays. I had never heard of Deep-Fried Green Beans, which are served with a spicy ranch dipping sauce, but we ordered some the other night and they were quite tasty.
I miss my family.....can't wait to get home.