Saturday morning started out with a yawn, a stretch, and a fresh cup of coffee! The fresh cup of coffee was key to getting Marquitos out of bed to head to my favorite place in Austin, Lady Bird Lake (a.ka. Town Lake) I have to admit I had a little resentment towards the new name, until I realized that the woman who funded the wonderful place had recently passed away, and thats why it is now called,”Lady Bird Lake.” Well she certainly lived up to her name, Lady Bird.
Some of my best days have been ones that were unplanned and slightly unpredicatable. Had I known that I would be cruising around central and east Austin until 7PM I might have worn something other than what I went to sleep in! Saturday was certainly one of those days. I had every intention of walking 4 miles with Marcus as we have plenty of Saturday mornings. As we were walking from my car to the lake I couldn’t help but take a fresh breathe, hug Marcus as we walked, and say, like I always do, “I love this place! Too bad we can’t live closer to it!” Just as we were walking onto the trail I noticed a man at a table soliciting some information. I’m always curious to see what sort of solicitations people are promoting at the lake. Well it turned out to be some organization that was trying to Keep Austin Beautiful! Before we knew it, we were grabbing a large trash bag, some sort of trash picker-upper device and slipping our hands into protective gloves. Yup, thats right, we were picking up trash at the lake. So much for our 4 mile, heart pumping, eye-pleasing, fresh-air smelling walk!!! I have to admit we weren’t doing this because we are such whole hearted, intrinsically driven individuals. If you found the “easy to find” envelopes and returned by 11am you could win wonderful prizes to Austin original venues, like The Alamo Draft House! Needless to say we never found an envelope, but we filled up the hefty, hefty trash bags.
During our trash picking up escapade we got a little bitter especially because we weren’t finding any envelopes. We started imagining all the individuals that could have dumped their trash at our beautiful lake. We found everything from a deflated soccer ball to high-end beer bottles! The hour sort of flew by, but I was really regretting not enjoying my 4 mile walk. Marcus, being the reflective person that he is, reminded me that we were simply doing our part in Keeping Austin Beautiful. “Oh right, ok Marquitos,” I replied.
From there we met my sister and an old friend at Joe’s Bakery and Mexican Cafe on E. 7th Street. Wow! If you have ever seen a movie from Bollywood, you would totally get what Im about to describe, except this would be a Mexican version of Bollywood!
So, as I was saying we met up with my sister and an old friend who grew up in East Austin and recently returned to live in his old neighborhood. For those of you who aren’t familar with Austin the East side is being revitalized, gentrified etc etc It really just depends on who you are speaking to. At any rate, it’s changing. The restaurant is your typical colorful Mexican restuarant. It even has La Virgen de Guadalupe in one corner. What I’m about to describe is what actually makes this place unique. First of all, this Satueday morning was the morning of a huge UT football game day. Mostly everyone there was wearing burnt orange and the restaurant was playing UT songs. Occasionally, about half the people in the restaurant would raise their fists and proudly sing the “Texas Fight” song and “The Eyes of Texas!” I swear it was like being in a Mexican Bollywood movie. Practically everyone in the restuarant was Hispanic and I’m willing to bet Mexican-American.
From there we went to “Rabbits,” a dive bar in E.Austin. If I had to describe this place in three phrases I would say something like, inexpensive imported beer, live Austin music, and friendly people. We stayed there for a little while…
I ended my day appreciating and loving the city I live in even more. I love that I belong to two different cultures. I helped keep our lake beautiful with fellow walkers, who were all anglo, but I can also hop over to the east side of Austin and fit right in with Latinos eating a traditional Mexican breakfast while singing The Eyes of Texas!
*This weekend actually occurred about a month ago.