Monday, October 20, 2008

Howdy y´all !

Last week I visited the second largest state of the US: Texas. This state is bigger than France, but also less populated - 24 million residents in Texas, versus 64 million in France. My uncle & aunt live half an hour south of Dallas, where I entered a completely different world: instead of large cities, a lot of traffic and working, I was chilling in between dogs, horses and turkeys. The fact that it´s another world became clear the very first minute, when a little snake blew into their pool!

After two days of relaxing, enjoying the 80-degree weather, and driving around in enourmous pick-up trucks, me and my aunt&uncle drove to Texas' capital Austin on Monday. Dallas - Austin is a three-hour drive, and Austin is the liberal centre in conservative Texas. During the day, we visited the State Capitol and the Texas State History Museum (about the history of this once independent state, and about the time where it was part of Mexico - ironic because of all the current issues with Mexicans in the South!). At nighttime however, it became clear what this city is all about: it´s the ‘live music capital’ of the US – Sixth street is a street filled with live music bars, and even on a Monday night there´s live music everywhere!

On Tuesday we visited the largest urban bat-location in the world: about 1.5 million bats spend their summer underneath a bridge in Austin! 18 inch holes make this the perfect location for them. Unfortunately, these flying rats had already taken off to Mexico to look for more heat. After visiting Mount Bonnell (spectacular views) and the Oasis (a restaurant near a lake, that fits 1.800 people - yes, everything is bigger in Texas!), we drove back to the ranch near Dallas.

Texas wouldn´t be Texas, if residents didn´t walk around with their ´protection´. The residents love the second amendment, and nearly everyone carries a gun with them. While I don´t completely agree with this reasoning, it is a lot of fun to legally shoot outside-doors (don´t worry - only on cans!). My cousin showed me his 9mm glock and sniper rifle, and after we found some empty cans and bought ammo (for sale in many regular grocery stores), we shot on a piece of wood and some empty cans. Another American experience for me!

On Wednesday morning, it started raining - something unique for hot Texas, so it was time to get back to the East Coast. Here are some pictures from the Lonely Star State.