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Welcome to Texas

Other than layovers, I have never been to Texas. When a dear friend moved to Austin, I was very sad. I had no intentions of visiting her. I have a “thing” about Texas. She told me Austin wasn’t like the Texas stereotypes floating around in my mind. When her husband turned 50 and she planned a big shindig (doesn’t that sound Texan?), I had no choice. I sucked it up and made my travel plans to visit them.

The worst part of the trip actually was getting there. Sitting at the Southwest gate, I noticed a man making strange noises beside me. He had earplugs on, apparently listening to some music. All I could hear was him humming along. Believe me, I sing along in my car, with my windows closed, like the best of them. But folks, when you wear earplugs, we can’t hear the music, just your strange noises.

Ok, that wasn’t so bad. Just weird. On the plane I sat in the aisle seat. In the middle seat sat some Joe Average man and in the window seat was a teenage boy. The Joe Average guy fell sound asleep right away. Halfway thru the flight, while I was reading my magazine on the tray table, he karate chopped me. Really. He brought his clasped hands down from his throat and hit my hand on the tray table. How I managed not to scream is still a mystery. I asked him if he was alright. He mumbled and went back to sleep. The commotion caused everyone to look at us. A few folks shook their head and the teenage boy shrugged as if to say that was totally uncool. I scooted over in my seat and spent the rest of the trip leaning in the aisle in case Sleeping Joe struck again.

About 15 minutes before landing, the plane turned into the Indiana Jones ride. I love that ride. I love that it only lasts 2 minutes. The extra 13 minutes at 30,000 feet, not so much. But all the shaking did wake up Sleeping Joe for good. He remembered what he did and apologized profusely. I felt much better but told him he scared the bejesus out of me.

My husband met me at the airport, and we drove together to our hotel. Did I mention that it was stormy out? In San Diego, it rains. In Texas (where everything is bigger), it poured in sheets. I couldn’t see a thing and prayed Texas size that we’d arrive safely.

Finally at our hotel, the clerk welcomed us. I was a jumbled wreck and told him that so far, Texas wasn’t winning me over. He showed us where the bar was. Things got better.

I did get to see some of the sights in Austin. The capitol building is beautiful. We toured a nice botanical garden. But I really loved the grocery stores. They sample alcohol in the grocery stores. I couldn’t believe it. I had a couple of white wine samples and a champagne sample. Oh, and the Whole Foods store. You could spend a whole day there.

It wasn’t until the third day that I saw my first cowboy hat. Four ladies on our elevator were heading out to a bachelorette party. They wore matching hats with their skimpy dresses.

At the birthday party, I did meet a few Texan men. One in particular fit the cliché of big, loud and heavy drinking. Interestingly enough, by the end of the party, most of the guys fit two of those three traits. To be fair to the women, I also heard stories about gun toting ladies with baby rats in their bras. But by far, the best part of Texas is everyone’s hospitality. When that is Texas big, you can’t complain about anything else.