Hotel La Quinta Austin Airport, 22:56. Outside, in the darkness, storm and police sirens are constantly wailing. I’m starting to feel a bit tired already, after full day of working just here in the hotel room. Tomorrow, I’m about to head home, and hope to be back in Finland on Tuesday. Back to the cold, dark and sloshy Tampere, away from the scorching sunlight, t-shirt weathers and reasonably prices *everything*. And I’m really looking forward to it. Here I tried to list few things I’ve missed while in Texas:
- Food. I can’t wait to get something real to eat, something that’s not dipped in grease and rolled in marinade, something that’s not either sweet or tasteless or both at the same time, and something, that won’t make me feel hungry in seven minutes I’ve finished eating it.
- Euro. I hate converting everything in my mind to dollars and back. More than that, I hate tipping. What the hell is that supposed to be, add it to the price and quit whining about tips…
- News. I’m looking forward for good Finnish news, those that are laid-back, serious and informative, and don’t get interrupted by ads every 30 seconds.
- Grumpy people. I just haven’t understood the American way to be always shiny, happy and fake-interested on other people. I really miss the grumpy Finnish folk just caring their own business and being quite honest about it. I hope not to hear any more “AWESOME, MAN! JUST AWESOME! YOU’RE LIKE THE BEST GUY IN THE WORLD” -comments. Good old “Yhm…” will do.
- Family. You know, it might sound fun to travel around the world, meet people and party all the time, but it’s not like that all the time. Even less when you have a family back at home waiting, and who you miss constantly.
But the trip hasn’t been bad, not at all. I’ve enjoyed some parts more than others, but I’ve really had great experiences here as well. Here’s a list of what I’ll propably miss of Texas:
- Fuddruckers. Easilly the best food-chain I’ve bumped to. The only meal I actually enjoyed here in Texas.
- The sun. The weather has been the perfect Finnish summer weather all the time, and I’m really not aching to see the sorry-ass wanna-be -winter of Finland at all. It’s just plain depressing.
- The malls. If you don’t find something here, you propably won’t need it. And if you do find, you propably don’t need it anyway. But if you just have time and endurance to race the 20 huge shopping centers and malls that are spread around the city, you’re in the shopping heaven. I happen to hate shopping, though.
- The bus trips. I’ve really enjoyed the local bustrips I’ve had, rolling around a strange city, listening to music (mainly PMMP and Disco Ensemble, plus a bit of Deftones), reading a good book (Lauren Weisberger‘s Devil Wears Prada) and trying to interpret the cryptic bus route map. It’s like playing chess with yourself. And I’m just as good in that as well…
- The live music. Wherever you turn your head in the downtown Austin you can hear live music ringing loud from some of the bars. The SXSW is really a street festival at it’s best – a lot of closed streets, music everywhere, and a lot of people.
Last few days have been all running around the city after certain miserable softwares I’ve been trying to hunt down from here. After my failure couple of days ago, I spent the day after that in even worse hell, walking 10+ kilometers on different malls, waiting for buses to get to another mall that’s more than 10 kilometers away, leaving off on wrong busstops and trying to cross half-deserted lands with a huge Target‘s sign as my guiding light shining somewhere in the distant horizont. And even worse than that, listening to people’s totally f*cked-up advice on where some place is and how to get there. It seems like Americans just can’t admit they don’t know something, they rather keep on talking and talking and giving their best guesses until you’re just too exhausted to care and find yourself walking again 5 kilometers to wrong direction just because that nice old gentleman didn’t have a clue on where CompUSA actually is, because he didn’t even know *what* it is… Grr…
I left my hotel room 10 o’clock AM, and came back 11 o’clock PM, totally beaten, and with only a pack of socks with me, since I hadn’t found anything else I was looking for.
The next day was even worse. This time, I knew where I was going to, but that day being Saturday, when already very bad public transportation had halted most of it’s buses, I found out that to get where I wanted to, I would have to get off the bus 5 kilometers away from the mall I was going to. Well, not a problem, yesterday I had walked around even longer trips and the sun was shining bright on a clear blue sky.
And it really wasn’t a big problem to get there – weather was good, Paprika Korps gave the extra push to me and I was feeling good. But one thing I didn’t know was that the software I was going to get wasn’t just your normal DVD-cases, but they were packed in 10-15kg boxes filled with manuals and everything. And I had to carry two of them, walking five kilometers under mercilessly hot sun… When I finally collapsed to my room, I was half dead.
Since Saturday was the last day of SXSW, I wanted to go and see the city for a bit, so after gaining enough strength I hopped back to bus and traveled this time to the Austin center, which was filled with partying people. I just walked around, watching people have fun, visiting pubs to listen few songs by the endless stream of mediocre indie-rock bands, and finally decided to call it a day and took a taxi back to the hotel.
And that’s about it. Today all I did was worked in my hotel room, visited Denny’s for a disgusting dinner, and came back to hotel. I’ve been mainly packing my stuff, trying to fit all that I bought into same two bags that were already totally full when I came here… And tomorrow I’m about to head back to Tampere.
On a related topic, here’s a motivational poster for the week!