On Friday morning, Dawn and Carla were awake when we were. We took them to our our Mexican breakfast spot, where everyone enjoyed tacos with a variety of fillings including eggs, bacon, and refried beans. We were beginning to recognize patrons from the day before. Actually, they made it easy, because they were very friendly, welcoming us to their city and making suggestions for things for us to see and do.
We agreed to walk to the Blanton Museum of Art. On the way, we noticed Saint Mary Cathedral, and we decided to stop in. The stained glass windows inside glowed in the sunlight. I told Carla and Dawn something my mother first told me when I was a child: when you enter a church for the first time, you can make three wishes, but one of the wishes has to be for “the grace of a happy death”. As a child, I thought the phrase “a happy death”made no sense, but I think differently about it now.
The art museum consisted of two buildings. The first one had several squares of translucent glass on the walls that reflected their colors onto the floors and walls. The depth of the colors changed with the sun. The configurations were lovely and very soothing to see.
The main building had art from parts of the world that were new to me. Being there was totally enjoyable. Often I find art museums overwhelming, but this one had just the right amount. We walked back to the hotel, picking up Ncholas, who, along with the rest of us, was ready for lunch. The time was just before noon, and Stubbs, one of the famous local restaurants, had no line yet. We went in and ordered barbecue. We could easily have shared two orders between the five of us.
When we had finished lunch, the temperature had reached 97 degrees again, so rather that walking, we decided to Uber to the LBJ Library. This is much more than a library. The building shows the life and times of Lyndon Baines Johnson, his accomplishments and his struggles. We were as impressed as our kids, even though we had lived through Johnson’s presidency while they knew very little about him. Note: this week Carla saw the play, The Great Society, on Broadway. She said she learned a lot more from the library.
I must continue to make note of the friendliness of the people of Austin. They love their city and their state. As we were entering the building, a guard noticed that I was wearing a hat that contains small pins, souvenirs from previous trips. The guard removed his pin of Texas and gave it to me for my hat!
Another Uber took us back to the hotel, where Nick napped and the rest of us went to the pool. Earlier, Dawn had tried to get tickets for one of the “bat sighting boats,” but they were all sold out. We came up with our own plan to see the bats. We would arrive early on the far side of the bridge and find the path to the river level.
We were amazed at the number of people who had the same plan. We realized that on the evening before, we had been with other tourists. Tonight we were with locals. This was the gathering place for Austin’s families. Adults had brought blankets for their children, but as the children discovered their friends, they left their blankets to run through the crowd happily.
Sunset came. A few bats began flying above us. We were surprised by how small they are. Soon there were dozens of bats, and then hundreds, thousands. This may sound weird, but watching them was mesmerizing.
Eventually the bats were out in search of their dinner, and we had to get ours. We found a restaurant mall nearby that featured half a dozen cuisines. Some of us ordered Asian food, while others had tacos.