The boy and I were in Austin this weekend meeting A. The boy hadn't been to Austin before, so A and I showed him all the touristy places. Here's some stuff we did that was new to me:
- Whole Foods - A major tourist attraction here in Austin, this store at Sixth and Lamar is apparently the largest WF store in the world. Would easily be thrice the size of my local WF store. And man, was it crowded! Filled with the usual mix of out-of-towners, bleeding heart liberals who think that everthing will be fine with the world as long as they shop at WF, health-conscious ultra-hip aunties who absolutely have to buy those $8.99/pound organic grapes and ofcourse, the people who are here because it's cool to be seen here(these are the people who actually buy those instant food packets at WF in case you were wondering). I am a big fan of WF myself and I am all for eating healthy and being fair to farmers and fishermen and whoever, but when I shell out $13.99 on half a pound of halibut to make some malabar fish curry that the boy absolutely adores, I do think its a good time to rethink my lifestyle choices. And dude, what the hell happened to competition?
- Labor Day - In the spirit of showing our solidarity with the workers of this great country, we went to the temple yesterday. The temple was to be our sole source of nourishment as we were sure that all our favorite restaurants would be closed for the day. Apparently not. Seems like workers in this great country celebrate labor day by actually turning up for work. Every store seemed to be open and doing excellent business. It was brought home to us poor wretched souls again(Excuse us, will ya? After all, we come from certain parts of the world where they celebrate May Day with loudspeakers all over the city singing praises of our comrades) that the state religion of this great country is neither socialism nor Christianity.
- Texas state history museum - So what if its just 500 years back? Its still history, right? I wasn't looking forward to the museum expecting it to be generally jingoistic with nothing of substance but I was pleasantly surprised. They have a decent number of exhibits and a wealth of information about Texas. I was finally able to find out who Sam Houston and Stephen Austin actually were! Maybe a longer post on Texas history some other time but I will say here that nothing seems to have changed over the centuries. The more things change, the more they are the same.
Well, just one history tidbit - Texas became a free republic in 1836(independence from Mexico) but in 1845, the new republic voted for annexation! To be part of the United States. The reason - an uncontrollable budget deficit. Which made us wonder whether the US will vote for annexation now. The People's Republic of the United States and China, maybe?
- The Constant Gardener - The movie is a visual treat. Beautifully shot, in the same style as the City of God. The cinematographer is pretty much assured of a nomination. My favorite NY Times reviewer has a great review of the movie here. Simplistic potrayal of third world issues, first world guilt, complicit governments, pharma companies and the rest, but it takes a clear stand and opens up avenues for discussion. And Mr. Fiennes looks as delicious as ever! Possibly the best mainstream movie that I have seen this year.