Went to Austin, Texas this weekend for a work event1; it was my first time in Austin so I figured I'd write up some notes:
- Cities are so indistinguishable now. Downtown Austin has the same restaurant and store chains as San Francisco, Boston, Miami, or any other American city.
- Its is weird how much Confederate stuff there still is for the supposedly-liberal Texas city. Until '96, the Capitol Visitors Center was administered by the Daughters of the Confederacy; lots of Confederate flags.
- Live music everywhere, even at the broiest bars near the hotels — even at the hotel bars! This was great! I wish more Bay Area bars had live jazz or blues or funk just as a regular thing.
- Everything was incredibly cheap compared to the Bay Area. For what I paid for my 1400sqft house in Berkeley I could get a mansion sitting on several acres in Austin. Despite how cheap everything is and how plentiful housing is, homelessness still seems to be a big problem. Tent cities under the overpasses and folks sleeping on all the benches. Kind of a downer for me as a YIMBY; more housing alone won't do it, we also need supportive socialized housing programs!
- Gun culture is insane. There were a number of gun stores near our hotel and businesses apparently have to have a giant sign if they don't want people to open carry into their restaurant or office. I don't care how many feral hogs are coming into your rural backyard; you don't need a gun in a WeWork. I could never be comfortable in a place where so many people live in such fear that they need to carry weapons to breakfast.
- Good barbecue2. Duh.
I'm drinking some coffee at the airport now3. Only another seven or so hours of air travel and I'll be home.
technically, an "engineering leadership retreat" ↩
AUS is a nice airport. Reminds me a bit of ONT; super fast security process, ample seating, not too many gates. I'm at the one place with pour over coffee — one is better than none! There's also decent free WiFi which doesn't block WireGuard traffic… always nice to have… ↩