Last night I started to feel a little homesick for the first time. I am not sure if it actually is PMS, it usually is when I get upset all of a sudden but a chain of events made me just lay on my mattress here in Austin and stare for some hours.
It started with going to see the Daniel Johnston’s mural of Jeremiah the innocent. It made me think of my brother, when we watched the Devil and Daniel Johnston together, how we listened to his music, when we went to see him live in Gothenburg in the summer of 2008. And thinking of my dead brother always makes me a little low.
The mural was done in 1993, by then this was the wall of a record store. Today it’s the wall of a Thai restaurant with the suiting name ”Thai, how are you?”.
Me in 2008, some days after the concert. Photo by Camilla Lindberg.
After that I strolled around downtown until sunset and walked to Congress Avenue Bridge to see the famous Austin bats. I was about 1,5 hours early so I stood there by myself, determined to not give up since I had already been waiting for so long. Just when it got dark the bats started crawling out of the cavities underneath the bridge. It’s not bat season now, so there were probably only around 1 000 bats instead of 175 000 (I read that on a sign close to the bridge). It was still quite impressive though and worth the wait.
It has been a long time since I just stood for 1,5 hours without the distraction of internet (probably over four years, when I got my first smart phone). Just before the bats came out I met a Portuguese woman, who had moved to Austin six weeks ago because she was fed up with the economical situation in Portugal. She has an education in marketing, but works illicit as a nanny. She seemed lonely. She was nice and I enjoyed her bat spotting company, but it added on to my lowness. The deep economical crisis parts of Europe is in, how it forces people to leave and work illegally in another country, how she was so bored with her loneliness that she looked for other people who were alone at tourist attractions so she could make friends. She told me that’s what she does.
While standing under the bridge looking at bats together I felt something dripping on my lip. I am not sure, but I believe it was bat poop or bat pee. I wiped my lip off, bu t after some time my tongue started burning. I am now a little worried I might catch some kind of bat disease. But I heard the Austin bats are very healthy. I hope that is correct.
Is this the bat that pooped on my face?
I felt that I should have asked the woman if she wanted to go out for a drink after our bat adventure, but I’m a little sick of drinking too, so I just caught the bus back to my hosts’ house, had dinner and then intended to update this blog, but lied on my mattress, staring for three hours before I realized it wasn’t going to happen.
Altough this blog post sound super gloomy I have had a blast in Austin, as I had in every other place I have visited. For that I thank my hosts, here and everywhere else I’ve been. What life savers they are!
In Austin I have been skating so much – parks, banked track with TXRD, flat track with TXRG! Austin is the roller derby mecca, it was here it all started again about 15 years ago. I have skated with and against members of Team USA. Today I had to deliberately take a day off skating so I have energy tomorrow to attend a bootcamp with Texas Roller Girls. I have sung karaoke – FINALLY, gotten drunk on 6th street, eaten greek food with the greek national roller derby team, strolled around downtown, shopping vintage cowboy stuff and looking at local craft jewelry.
Wednesday: Chicks In Bowls Heart of Texas skate park meet up. I learned how to stall!
Thursday: My host Lacy Bones of Texas Roller Derby’s (that’s the banked track team) Holy Rollers took me for a three hour long private lesson at their warehouse on Thanksgiving. She even taught me how to flip the rail.
Thursday: After skating she took me to the highest point in Austin. This is what it looks like.
Thursday: Your favorite karaoke singer in the world! (There are no photos from Friday because of this karaoke night on Thursday).
Saturday: Met two of my teammates from Gothenburg Roller Derby at a scrimmage with Texas Roller Girls (flat track team). They are playing for team Greece and I scrimmaged against them with a Texas team.
Sunday: Apparently food trucks is a big thing here. They are everywhere, so I decided to eat at one of them. When I arrived to this parking lot with tons of food trucks only this one was open. It was creole food. It felt a little weird since I’ve eaten that where it’s supposed to be eaten, but on the other hand I have had soooo much Tex Mex since I came to Texas. Anyways: the food was good.
I’ve been here since Tuesday morning last week – I have one and a half more days to go before I leave to Dallas for the roller derby world cup. Even though Dallas is only three hours away it is supposed to be very different from Austin. Someone said that Austin is a tiny blue lagoon in a huge red sea. It will be interesting to see the difference. I am not sure I will enjoy the republican typically Texan part of Texas as much.
I was planning on going kayaking in the river that runs through the city today, but the nice 23 degree (Celcius) days suddenly were over. Today it’s windy and cold and I decided that it’s OK for me to do nothing. Eight weeks of traveling has started to take it’s toll on me, and more and more I just feel like doing nothing. I still have three weeks to go, the one that has just started will be intense with the world cup coming up, the two following will be intense too – my boyfriend is meeting up with me in Dallas and we’re going to road trip through the desert to Los Angeles. I’m a little worried about how I’ll feel towards the end of this adventure, on the other hand, having company might give me extra energy.
After Memphis I started feeling like I had too much time until the world cup, that I maybe was in over my head. I had planned on stopping between Memphis and New Orleans, but as I have written before I was told not to. I had also thought about stopping between New Orleans and Tampa, but for the same reasons I was told not to stop in Jackson I was told to go straight to Tampa. This have meant fewer and longer stops than I first intended to. Which has been both good and bad, the longer stops means days like this one, where I can just stay at home and do nothing, but even though I’m exhausted the long stays make me a little restless. It’s like that guilt Swedish people feel when they are indoors on a sunny day – I feel guilty for not making the most out of this trip. But I only have so much energy. I’m hoping it will come back to me soon.
Lots of love,