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Enjoying Austin! « Upsidedown and Backwards

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Enjoying Austin!

By | April 19, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Austin
7 miles around town

I got up and did some yoga this morning. It’s been so many days off the bike, I’m getting a little worried about just seizing up! Amy and Tim made a delicious breakfast of breakfast tacos, which presented a regional variation on Mexican food. In San Diego, we would have breakfast burritos instead. Basically the only difference is the size of the tortilla. But I have also had a number of tortillas here that are more like pita bread than the flat tortillas I am used to.

Amy said if there was one thing to do in Austin, it was to visit Barton Springs, so we headed there by bike after breakfast. We rode most of the way on dedicated bike paths, winding around the river in town. There were so many people out running and riding on these beautiful paths. Like San Antonio’s Riverwalk, they were at river level, which is below street level. It gives the city a layered feel.

Barton Springs is a huge, mineral-fed pool that is blocked off from the creek.

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One side,

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And the other.

It’s about 60 degrees. Unfortunately, I left my wetsuit in San Diego, but I still went in. It wasn’t quite hot enough outside for it to feel wonderfully refreshing, but my heart did not leap out of my chest either. Amy, Tim and I swam about one lap all together, then laid in the sun to warm up. Apparently in Austin, you can be naked in public as long as no one complains, and there are often topless bathers and men in thongs at the springs, but they were not out today.

The rocks in the springs are slippery with plants and algae, and there is a section with a lot of growth on the surface. Signs explained that the springs are also the habitat of a certain salamander. Amy said that they used to drain the pool regularly and keep it cleaned out, but they started leaving the plant growth alone in the 90′s, so as to not disturb the salamander habitat. It seems like this pool has plenty of room for people and salamanders to coexist, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that people get used to coming into contact with plants when they’re outside.

After Barton Springs, we had lunch nearby at Shady Grove. Though they had a terrific shady grove to hang out in and enjoy a leisurely meal, it was super crowded. Amy swooped a table in the bar area for us, and I had a salad with actual green lettuce, not iceberg. Yay, Austin!

Then we rode over to Butler Park so I could meet up with the Austin acroyogis who play there on Sundays. I had been in contact with Tyrone on facebook since we both attended a Yogaslacker workshop in Tucson, and I was looking forward to finding yet another acro community!

They call their group ” Volve,” for “inVolve, eVolve, reVolve.” Tyrone has a 20-foot rigging from which they hang silks. Noah, who is working through a gymnastics training book by Coach Summers, brings a set of rings. There was also a slackline, and a lyra hanging from a tree branch.

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Of course, the best part is the people. I met a woman named Shanae who is getting ready to travel around the states, and maybe the world, by motorcycle. She’s also just been accepted to work on a pyramid excavation in, if not Bosnia, then somewhere near there. I flew Markus, a minimalist and a rock climber and an electronic music composer. His family used to have a vegetarian restaurant in the hill country! He’s originally from Germany, and my German is so rusty it’s embarrassing to admit I even sort of speak it. I can still read and understand more than I can get to come out of my mouth.

Belinda had made fabulous earrings out of plastic cockroaches. She has scoliosis, like me, and has quite recently started the hard work of developing her proprioception. When you have scoliosis, you’re sense of how your body is moving in space is disrupted. Yoga has helped me so much in this regard! Belinda has been using breath practice, and something called egoscue, which I am very interested to look in to.

It was fun to fly with Tyrone, the enthusiastic organizer of this crew, and to meet many others! I wish I had time to get to know them better. Because of our interest in acroyoga, I know that we already have so much in common!

As the sun set, I headed back to Amy and Tim’s, taking the streets rather than the paths, so I wouldn’t get lost. I came upon a bridge where there were crowds of people lining both sides.

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I realized this must be the bridge where everyone comes to watch the bats come out at night! I pulled over, and after a few minutes, clouds of bats emerged from under the bridge and disappeared into the darkening sky. They kept coming and coming for several minutes! They weren’t close enough to see individual bats, just black clouds. It looked like a lot of bats!

The full moon was amazing, large and yellow and low in the sky, as I rode the rest of the way. Amy and Tim had saved some dinner for me. What a great day! I know I would love to spend more time in Austin, but I felt like it was time to start acting like I really am going to bike to Florida on this trip.


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