15th – 18.08.
After arriving in Austin and checking in at the hostel, I immediately went to the BMW dealer. Before going to Mexico and Central America, I want you to have a quick check done, put on new tires and buy a few spare parts. Today I want at least get in contact with the dealer and make an appointment.
I’m lucky. The service employee says, they do it immediately. The result of the check is, that everything is ok, I get all the spare parts and leave the property after about 2 1/2 hours with new tires.
As I was driving the last five days in a row, Friday is just for doing nothing. I have no big plans. I get a haircut and went to a bookstore to look for a travelbook for Mexico. I decide to stay with the electronic book, but I buy a Spanish book with key phrases and words.
In the evening, I go with two people .. they go, lazy like I am, although I could use a little exercise, I ride with the motorcycle, to the Congress Avenue Bridge about 3 km from the hostel.
Under the bridge, there lives the largest bat colony in North America, with about 750,000 to 1.5 million animals. Every evening at sunset they start to fly in search for food. For several minutes it’s like an endless belt of animals that leave from under the bridge. They gather in a cloud in the sky before they spread in all directions.
On Saturday sight-seeing is on my agenda. I go to the “Circuit of the Americas”, the Formula 1 circuit, which is about 20km from the city. The trip was for nothing. You can .. you could do a “tower tour” overlooking the racetrack. Unfortunately, a race or a training is going on and the tour is closed. I continue to Mt Bonnell, from where you have a good view of a part of Austin.
In the early afternoon it is too hot to walk around in the city. “Hamilton Pool” a natural spring in the city offers a way to cool down. The water is pretty cold, but I remain in there for an hour continuously.
Austin seemd to be a popular town at the moment, especially for young people and students. In the hostel are a few students, who stay there for a few days or even weeks, until they have found an apartment.
In the hostel I also meet Tino, a German who makes a trip around the world for a year, and also started about 5 weeks ago. Since we are from the same cultural area, we talk a little about the impressions we have gained. One thing, we both had to get used to, is this “small talk culture”. Here you start chatting with anyone, anywhere, about anything. When you wait on a traffic light, on the gas station, if you wait for the rain to get over, at breakfast … you talk only a few words or for a few minutes.
We both agreed, if someone is doing that at home, your first thought is: What does he/she want from me?
I spend Sundy on the Laptop, studying the mexican map, writing, doing laundry …. I have to confess, I feel a little bit uneasy. It’s amazing how much more secure you feel, when you speak the local language. I already experienced the language difficulties I could expect. On the evenings here in Austin, I had one ore two beers in a close pub. Outside the pub there is a small food truck. There are many of them around Austin. Sometimes there are three or four of them standing together, offering different kind of food, drinks or ice cream.
The Food Truck outside the pub is beeing runned by Mexicans – I assume. The clientele is primarily Spanish speaking. The first day a girl is there. She takes my order in English and passes it on in Spanish, probably to their parents. I eat a small taco. It has about palm size, with chicken, onions, parsley and a lime. I take a bite .. it tastes so good. Taste buds explode in my mouth and light a firework.
I’m getting of the track. Since the taco tasted excellent, I went to the food truck again the next day. Today, it’s only the parents, who work. They speak almost no English word, I almost no Spanish word. I think to myself: “Ok, so it probably will be this way for the next couple of weeks.” And then I hopefully can say a few words.
In front of the food truck is a white plastic table with four plastic chairs. Two Mexicans, maybe they are from another country, with Texas hats are sittin at the table eating. I sit down as well. After the first Taco I order a second one and sit down again at the table. One of the guys passes me the bottle with the salsa. I already know, where I’m going to eat tonight.
I want to enter Mexico on 21.08. in McAllen / Reynosa. On my way there, I drive through an oil-producing area. In one of the towns a lot of small conveyors pumps are transporting the black gold to the surface, in the center of the city, in the gardens and in public areas. A slight smell of oil is in the air. When there are no oil rigs covering the land, there are huge fields extending to the horizon. The harvest time seems to be over. The fields are just big brown dusty areas.
Hasta luego en Mexico.
Thanks for reading, Jürgen.