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Month: February 2016

Ours can be quite the tough lot in life. We get woken up by sex workers, compete with drug dealers for hotel rooms, and occasionally find ourselves at restaurants with rancid bacon.* But once and a while, it all pays off. Sometimes we find a culinary gem or a hidden oddity. In this case, we got an upgrade. To celebrate Valentines (on our own time) we reserved a room with a king bed at the Ocean Village Hotel, right on Surfside Beach, Texas. The morning we were to travel there, I got a phone call: "Unfortunately, the room [we] had reserved is under construction. Is it ok to climb stairs? Really? That's great! We'll put you in the Honeymoon suite."

Austin, Texas is a bi-polar blend of foodie fair and raucous partiers. For the foodie in search of new experiences, Austin offers up everything from clever food trucks to high-end artesian cocktails. The town is a delightful blend of high-rise prosperity and down-to-earth historic landmarks. There is an emporium of oddities, complete with a Fiji mermaid. There are light towers from the turn of the century. There is a magnificent parade of bats that emerges from a local bridge every evening. And monkeys in bars!
We have come into Texas and are immediately bombarded with the same and constant refrain: "Don't Mess With Texas." It's on t-shirts, bumper stickers, roadsides signs, and even government vehicles. This brings out the armchair psychologist in me. How defensive is Texas that it has to tell everyone right away not to mess with it? Did its mom tell every teacher on the first day of school, "Dear Texas is a very delicate youth and takes things very personally. Please make sure that the other states don't mess with Texas."

We hadn't planned a stop in Tombstone but it just so happened that we were driving right through. It is almost as if the town itself were saying "I'm Your Huckleberry." At the very least, it offered tasty steak and locals dressed in period garb. As much of a tourist trap as it was, it was that fun kind of tourist trap and we handled it the way we handle all such draws: by remaining out of the gift shops.