Sunday, January 13, 2008

the domain

So, I never did end up napping. Ava, the awesome administrative assistant down here in Austin (who had me call her when I got in, to make sure I made it okay - she was looking out for a fellow woman traveling alone, which was so sweet of her), convinced me that I should get out. I had kind of thought I should, too, but I was kind of overwhelmed, not knowing the area, and the places I was interested in possibly visiting (the sculpture garden & O Henry's house) were much too far away. (They would have been easier to visit last time I was here, when we stayed in the hostel down by The Lake. This time I'm much further north.)

In any case, she told me of a very classy outdoor mall-type thingy called The Domain, where I could wander around outdoors (and enjoy the beautiful weather!) and keep myself occupied/see a bit more of Austin. So I hopped in a cab and headed over. It is a very pretty - but very high-class - area. I felt like I was dressed too scrubby for it, but otherwise, it was a really pleasant afternoon. I stopped in some familiar stores, since most there were chains, but I mostly stuck to places I'd never heard of. (They may have been chains, but at least they weren't ones you can find up North.) I picked up a pair of earrings, a cute bag, and a birthday card for a friend, but mostly just enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and people-watching. When it started getting dark (and I started getting hungry), I stopped at this awesome (and totally local!) tea shop for one of the most delicious roasted vegetable sandwiches I have ever had (I think it was the butternut squash, caramelized onions, and goat cheese in it that really kicked it up a notch). I finished off my evening out with a pot of chocolate-banana-flavored rooibos tea. Sooo delicious!

I think that might have been the first sit-down meal that I've ever eaten on my own, and totally intentionally. I tend to worry about how it'll look to other people, to be seen eating alone. But I really didn't mind it at all, once I was actually doing it. I was seated at a window so I got to watch the goings-on outside, as well as get part of a letter written, and some of my book read. It was really pleasant, and the waitresses were so nice. We chatted about books and other such things. I do have to say, I find Austin people much more inclined to strike up a conversation than us cold Bostonians! I made friends (meaning, had somewhat lengthy conversations with) with two taxi drivers, the front desk guy (always someone you want on your side!), this guy who worked at White House Black Market, and the waitress at The Steeping Room. But even beyond that, I had small conversations with a lot of the people who worked in the various places I stopped. The guy at the coffee shop told me he liked my bag, and we discussed that. The woman at the bookstore told me she was afraid of sock monkeys, and we discussed that. I really like how much more friendly & open these Texans truly seem to be. Maybe part of it is the warm weather, though. I'm much less likely to linger anywhere when I am freezing, or in a cranky mood from being wet & cold from crappy winter weather! Haha.

Well, I am going to go get ready for bed...I definitely need to get some rest before my Big First Day tomorrow. Oh gosh, I'm absolutely terrified.

I just hope I can keep up. xo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Poisonwood Bible
AUTHOR: Barbara Kingsolver


Unknown said...

Sounds like you are having such a good time -- I am jealous. I am SO proud of you for traveling alone -- it is something i am absolutely petrified of just because I don't even know what to do at an airport. Keep us updated and have a GREAT time. Sounds fun! You'll do fine tomorrow!

Jeanette said...

Your hotel room looks great. I think you made the right choice going out and exploring instead of napping. Your dinner sounds like it was very delicious. Enjoy Ausitn. It is snowing in Boston now.