Thursday, August 05, 2004

Adios Texas! - Headin' North

Finished up my one-day session and am winging my way back home to KC.
I quite enjoy Austin, though this was an abbreviated trip and the humidity this time of year can be even more punishing than back home. I only read USA Today while on the road, and while in Houston at least a year ago, I read about a study on perspiration of all things. Sponsored by one of the under-arm anti-perspiring companies (of course) it rated US cities. New Orleans was rated number 1 as WORST American city. Surprisingly, Dallas/Ft. Worth was rated second and either Austin or San Antonio (can't remember which but six of one and half-dozen of the other, given their geographical proximity) as third. Houston was rated fourth overall. I felt this was a travesty and that Houston was clearly number two and informed my class of my support for their cause when I arrived at the client site later that morning. Needless to say I as soaked, having walked more than a few feet from Lobby to rental car and rental car to lobby. ;-)
Arrived in plenty of time via the SupperShuttle service from the hotel, which was just down the block from the office I was visiting in Austin. I usually rent a car when coming anywhere in Texas, but I usually am staying longer than a single night. The Shuttle was efficient and cheap. Good idea if you don't need transportation during your stay. I have noticed their signs in other airports. If the occasion arises again I will give them another try.
When traveling to Austin for the first time a few years back,I was quite confused by my rental-car company map (ALWAYS take the map! It is your good-luck charm to keep you from getting lost. But THAT's another story... ;->) and the complete lack of correspondence to the surrounding road system. Eventually the map started making sense with roads I was encountering and I made my way to the hotel, but it was a bit dis-concerting. The next week (I was there a week and a half.) I discovered that I had flown into the newly minted airport, barely a month old. The rental-car map still had the old location! (I know this SEEMS to contradict my good-luck charm theory, but TRUST ME, TAKE the MAP...) Bergstrom airport is a sifty little place. Still has that 'new' feel. Not too large and you still walk directly across the street to pick up your rental of choice. (Always a favorite feature, though recent security measures have moved more and more rental operations off-site, requiring the schlepping of bags up and down the stairs of busses.)
Upon arriving yesterday, I noticed a statue of Barbara Jordan downstairs by the baggage pick-ups as I walked toward the Shuttle desk. I have no idea if it is new, as I can't remember ever having passed that way on previous trips. Today, I noticed the signs welcoming me to the Barbara Jordan Terminal. (BTW, what is it with Democrat women politicians down here? You would think some down-East state more known for Liberalism would have produced more memorable Politicos of the female persuasion. But no, it is Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards that come to my mind when I think of truly memorable, quotable Democrat Women. I guess you have to be flamboyant to get these Texas boys to pay you any heed... ;->)
As I mentioned yesterday, Austin is a Live-Music Mecca. This trip was no exception. The Radisson featured a young Jazz vocalist with a lovely voice, well suited to the standards se was performing, accompanied by an accomplished keyboardist. (Electric, but still those new-fangled things can sound pretty darn good.)
And let us not forget the inestimable SowPremes!!!!
(The Swine have LEFT the BUILDING!)
There was a duo playing live as I arrived through security for my flight home, and another duo playing alternative music on acoustic guitars in a BBQ joint down the way.
A quick trip but a good one, I think.
And now back home.
Up to Dallas and shift to another airship andcontinue to follow I-35 the rest of the way back up to the MO-KS border. (Co-incidentally, their is a MO-KS railway that runs No-So through Austin that also lends it's name to the highway on the West side of town that runs parallel to the right-of-way.
Below me, the cowboys took weeks to drive cattle North on the old trails. I will arrive late, but in a single evening.
"Up the Chisholm Trail, to the old cow-towns.
Through the canyons and the draws, on to Wichita.
They drove the cattle up to meet the trains.
Oh! The times were hard, on the rolling Kansas plains..."
Rolling Kansas Plains - The Prairie Rose Wranglers
Buenos Noches e Via con Dios...


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