It’s been a week since I returned from Austin and I feel ready to tackle my recap. This adventure was filled with new and fun experiences which I can’t edit down into less than 600 words. So to help my memory, structure my thoughts, and keep your attention span – I’m going to break this down by each the day.
DAY ONE – WEDNESDAY MARCH 18
I flew out of Long Beach airport, which is the most beautiful and relaxing airport ever, on Jetblue. I was a ball of nerves. Concerned about having too many carry-ons, I began shoving my purse into my bookbag, so I’d only be holding one bag in addition to my suitcase. This made my bookbag look incredibly awkward and slightly suspicious. During this feet of space efficiency, a group of guys sat around me all carrying skateboards. Channeling my anxious energy, I asked if they were headed to Austin on a sponsorship. They nodded their heads in an uber cool manner but said little else. Their manager eventually made a little light talk with me, picking up on my nerves, and teasing me about my large carryon suitcase. Then he broke down their arrival which involved one dude predominately wearing his Beats by Dre headphones and another a super sick fur jacket. They were with Supreme NYC. I loved this one fella in a purple hoodie, he rambled on about the shit Tex-Mex and seemed to be extremely health conscious. As he was munching on nuts I informed him about the need to keep up his hydration, my sister told me nuts take more water to digest.
Boarding the plane, I sat next to some nice women and spent the entire flight writing a blog post for Fit and Awesome. I arrived in Austin around 4:00pm, just as Bowerbird was picking up his badges at the convention center. With no interest in waiting at the airport for an hour, I finally used my Lyft app. I set it up in New Orleans, but never used it. So following the prompts I was totally shocked when it told me my ride would arrive in 1 minute and to be outside. I had no idea where the exit to the airport was let alone where I should meet this person outside. My anxiety really started to bubble. The Lyft driver called me to see where I was and I politely informed him I was riding down an escalator to what I thought was outside. After a little back and forth we figured out where he was to pick me up and I was on my way to the hotel.
My room at the hotel was massive. Prices were inflated for SXSW, so I really wasn’t expecting much. But my room was huge complete with a kitchen, full sofa, large desk area to work, a king size bed and nice bathroom. My only complaint was there wasn’t a bath and the water pressure was merh. I love my baths and water pressure. On every Airbnb review I leave, I end up remarking on the water pressure. At the hotel, I felt like twiddling my thumbs, not sure where to go next and what was happening with Bowerbird, so I waited. At 6:00pm they had a Nacho social, so I headed down there for a snack and some wine. I really don’t recall how I killed time between the airport and when Bowerbird arrived, but together we left my hotel for Downtown Austin around 8:00pm.
As SXSW is a series of blocked off streets, you don’t even need to know exactly where to go in order to land in some sort of action. So we drove in a general direction close to the convention center and lucked out, finding a parking spot as another van was pulling away. We then stumbled onto Rainey Street, a collection of houses converted into bars and music venues. There was music to be overheard, but our mission was food. There was a food truck corral we popped into, but we really just wanted to sit and be served. Walking towards downtown I was certain we’d find more restaurant type of establishments. Passing branded experiences like the Bates Motel, the marketing nerd in me was going wild. We were drawn into Gus’s Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken from the scent permeating around the building. I have pretty high fried chicken standards. The best fried chicken I’ve ever had was made by Shug Knights mother (I went to High School with his niece). So I always wonder if I’ll ever get to experience fried chicken that tasted as amazing as Shug Knight’s mother. I finally did! This fried chicken was spicy and flavorful, we later found out the waiters have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and can’t work at another fried chicken restaurant within one year from leaving Gus’s. They don’t mess around with their chicken.
After dinner, we met up with my friend Lauren and her new beau Michael. They took us to a venue/bar which was in one of the converted houses. A cute bar with a twenties flare, I’d like to go back there when it’s not wrapped up in the SXSW craziness. We didn’t stay too long and parted ways as we were all fading from a busy day. With Bowerbird’s show the next day – we needed beauty rest. We walked over to a grocery market that seemed to be away from the chaos of the blocked off streets and requested a Lyft driver. In thirty minutes, we were back at our hotel and off to dreamland.
**The footage from this day was all blurry and wobbly, doubt I’ll be making a vlog (sad face)**