12.07.2010 - 12.07.2010 38 °C
I have clean clothes! It really is true that you only appreciate things when you don't have them, and not having clothes full stop brought this truth home.
The hostel here in Austin is fantastic. As I've said before it's set on a lake (which makes the morning runs in the sweltering heat somewhat more tolerable) and is just off from the bus that travels downtown. What's more, it's absolutely full of people in a similar position to me, although most travellers here are Australian. I'd guess that two-thirds of the people I've met are from Down Under so I wonder how society functions back in Aus.
I joined a group of Australians this afternoon exploring the SoCo (South Congress) area of Austin, sitting just south of the Colorado River. I said to myself long before I came here that I wanted to come back with a pair of cowboy boots as a momento of my time in the USA and the wild west. Today I got that ticked off! I was fortunate that I was accompanied by a few of the Australian girls, because I'm pretty incompetent at clothes shopping at the best of times, let alone when it's a case of buying something as significant as cowboy boots! We hit a few of SoCo's vintage shops, which had a great range of used western footwear. I found a few pairs I liked, but I couldn't put any of them on without them leaving me with enormous clown's feet. We then walked down the adjacent block the world famous Allen's (have you heard of them? I hadn't). This place was pretty incredible - just lines of boots as far as your eyes cared to carry you and cowboy hats and Wranglers at the end of the rows. Without much time passing we came across my pair. You see buying cowboy boots is like buying a wizard's wand on Diagon Alley - the boots choose you. I slipped on the pair of dark brown Lucchese's, but something was wrong. I was wearing shorts and it turns out it is pretty much impossible to try on boot whilst wearing shorts - it's not a look John Wayne ever demo'd and now I see why. Not to worry though! I grabbed a pair of Wranglers, and I was ready to go! They had found me. The authentic western experience was taking shape.
They were probably the most expensive pair of footwear I've ever bought and I could see at the back of some peoples' eyes bemusement at how I could afford them when I still hadn't finished crossing the continent. But you see, things like cowboy boots come under my 'discretionary spending'. It's a great idea - it basically means it doesn't count and I can deal with having spent that much money when I get home.
When I got here I asked where I could see the rodeos. I was very disappointed to be told that, "We don't really do them here." "Are you kidding - you don't do rodeos?!" This won't do. I'm investigating how I can satisfy my need to go rodeos, get the complete western experience and hit the road again to see some of the Texas countryside. It's time to search for a ranch.
As for tonight - I'm going to slap on my boots and hit the saloons!