Monday, September 11, 2006

An Austiny weekend

It was the Big Game this weekend - Texas Longhorns versus Ohio State Buckeyes, playing football against each other on Saturday evening. The American variety of course, not soccer. These are the top two teams in college football so a lot of interest was being take in the game.

College football is big business here. They were saying on the TV that the Longhorns stadium had its biggest ever crowd in it - 90,000 people. Rumours of 20,000 Ohio fans coming into town were believable on Friday night, when every bar along 6th Street turned red with their shirts. The rest of the town turned burnt orange - Longhorns colour - and I do mean the whole town; I have never seen so many people supporting a single team. Manchester United have a lot to learn!! Tickets for this game were going on eBay for up to $4000. There was a lot of hype going on. We joined in - when in Rome - I bought a hat and Alan has a shirt :-)

Come game time, we were in a bar downtown (where else?!) and sitting outside. This gave us a lovely view of the diamond-four formation of USAF F-15 fighter jets doing a flypast of the stadium, followed by two flankers. We stayed in the bar to watch the game for a couple of hours - enough to see the single touchdown scored by the Longhorns. We had to go as we were up early the next morning. Sadly the Longhorns lost the game 28-7 to Ohio - the first game lost in the last 21 played.

Pink truck with cowhorns
Gratuitous picture of a truck with cowhorns on for all those people who didn't believe me that these existed! Spotted parked on Congress on Saturday night.

Next morning, we had been invited to go wakeboarding by Dave, one of Alan's colleagues. This is a cross between waterskiing and snowboarding, i.e. you have both feet attached to a short board and you are towed behind the boat. The idea is to use the wake of the boat as a ramp to jump off and do tricks etc.

Early morning view
Here's the lake at about 06:45 on Sunday morning. The lake water level is about 30 feet lower than usual; they desperately need rain to fill it up. The lakeside is sprinkled with boathouses that should be in the water but have been left high and dry.

The first step in wakeboarding is to get out of the water and upright on the board, which Dave makes look easy but proves to be a bit tricky do achieve. After several attempts, however, I did manage to get the hang of getting out of the water. I still haven't got entirely upright, but did manage a couple of short runs where I was crouched on the board, feeling the water skitting underneath before lunching it in one way or another. It's too easy to dig the front edge of the board in which pitches you off forwards, or just not get balanced forward enough so you fall backwards etc.

I think we may try the cable lake south of here next weekend, which is apparently like a water-based ski lift; you have a series of ropes pulling you around a circle to train you in wakeboarding. Alan needs to get himself a lifevest first though - Dave didn't have one in his size and without the extra buoyancy of the jacket, Alan couldn't get enough angle to lift himself out of the water.

Dave wakeboarding
Here's Dave showing us how it should be done. Better pictures coming when I take my proper camera!

Dave jumping
Dave getting some air off a wake ramp.

So thanks to Dave to a great morning. We went off and got some lunch at the New World Deli after this, then went to Wal-Mart to buy a vacuum cleaner and other household cleaning items. We also visited a computer museum which Alan particularly enjoyed.

Last night saw us walking along 43rd street to Duval, where a cluster of eateries and bars may be found. We had dinner in Mother's Cafe And Garden, which is a vegetarian restaurant. The food was excellent. I has a spinach lasagne and Alan had a stir-fry. We then hopped across the road to a bar, where we sat outside in the warm evening air and ejoyed a few Pilsener Urquells. Verrry nice. We'll be back there, I do believe!

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