Published: December 14th 2011September 10th 2011
Well, here we are. Saturday morning, September 10. I’ve been waiting for that day for weeks now. If we decided to visit the state of Texas in late summer for a specific non-football related reason, the specific timeframe for our road trip was all about this date: BYU at Texas, Cougars at Longhorns...yeah, this is college football. We still have a long way to go though (Literally speaking). Kick off is scheduled for 06:00 PM and Austin is 165 miles from Houston, roughly a 3 hours drive. I don’t mind, this should be fun... 3 hours on the road, perfect weather (i.e. hot and sunny), a nice car, good tunes on the radio, considering we’re tourist and not local, we decide to make the journey with the top down, after all, this is the reason why we chose the convertible. After saying good bye to Kindel, we’re on our way to Austin, the state capital of Texas. The closer we get from Austin, the more cars with longhorn stickers we see. Longhorns is the symbol of the University of Texas at Austin -UT for short- and the university football team, one of the most popular in the state (probably due to
DKR Memorial Stadium
One of the 10 largest attendance in the history of the stadium, more than 100.000 in the attendance
the large number of alumni living in Texas), not too sure about the other states though...Austin on game day is exactly like I imagined it to be. Thousands of people tailgating in the vicinity of the stadium, people everywhere, a band playing country music on the street...this is what we came for!
I like NFL football, but there’s something you can’t find at NFL games (well, maybe in Green Bay, but that’s it). The atmosphere, the colors...Julie, whom we met last year in New Orleans, and who’s been living in Austin for years now, told us she find it difficult to go to a game and root for a team when you did not attend college there. I guess it different for us as we never attended college in the US and are not biased toward any school (I don’t think working for a summer semester at Wake Forest University really counts as my visa specified Visiting Scholar), but I still like UT (and Wake Forest of course, Go Deacons!)...This is just the second game of the season, after a week one win over Rice, a private school form Houston, the Longhorns are facing the Cougars from BYU. For
the occasion, I’m wearing a burnt orange T-Shirt with a Longhorn. I may not be a UT student, or alumnus, but at least, I fit in the crowd (the attendance for the game is slightly above 100 000). Funny thing among others things, one guy a couple of row below is wearing a University of Oklahoma (OU) sunglass leash. Even if the Red River shootout (the annual matchup between the two universities) is weeks ahead, the guy is probably in for a long day as the animosity between both university is real (OU sucks!).
Honestly, this was not what I'd call a good game, but that doesn't really matter, does it? Once again, this is all as much about the game as it is about what surrounds it: The tradition, the marching band, the songs: Thanks to Kindel, I’ve had the lyrics of UT Alma mater in mind since the year before, so, when I get the occasion I go ahead and sing along with the rest of the crowd, it’s fun! Except for Adrien, nobody thinks I don’t have anything to do singing the lyrics of the Alma Mater of a school I did not attend...
game may be over, but our night isn’t. Like most of the crowd, we exit the stadium and head toward downtown and the 6th Street. The landscape has changed drastically since before the game...no more tailgate party at every corner...Austin is nicknamed the ”live music capital of the world”, so I have high expectations for the place, I’ve been in Key West and New Orleans, where they have good, if not excellent, bands in every bars, so anything less than that will be a disappointment. First bar is slightly disappointing as the band is packing up. Ok, it’s 10PM, but come on! saturday night in a college town! Whatever! We order a couple of drink and decide to stick for a while anyway, after all, even if it’s not live, a DJ is playing some good country music (Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton)... Second bar of the night is actually located downstair from the first one, so, it may just be the same bar but with a different atmosphere. A guy is playing acoustic guitar and singing anything upon request, from Garth Brooks to Journey...he’s pretty good, so, once again, we decide to stick there for a while, after all, there’s
light to celebrate the horns win
no hurry, we’re on vacation...Despite the lack of dance floor, some people are dancing... Third bar is huge and has live music too, no really what my kind of music, but we're tuned to country music station when on the road, so I can let Adrien decide once in a while. The band is mixings song from various artists, from Michael Jackson to RHCP.
....If there’s such thing as an off-6th street in Austin, then our next and penultimate bar belongs definitely to that category: The Mohawk. The crowd here is very different from the one you find on 6th Street. Here, no burnt orange tee-shirt everywhere...this trip really starts to look like a New Orleans Revival, after Kindel in Houston, this is Julie’s turn...
Results of the night: Five bars visited, most of them good, but none of them has really met my expectations (I've been tod that I tend to set the bar too high, so, maybe this is just me). Make no mistake, those bars were good, the bands were well above average too, but let's face it, when it comes to the bar scene, NO
place in the US can come close to New
Fun Tee shirt!
Come early, be loud, stay late, wear orange
Orleans and Bourbon Street (been there...and will go again...soon). I mean, how can you beat a place where the term Last Call
does not exist?
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