WARNING: LONG POST!
You know how I said that I don't have to go far to see amazing cities? Well a week after Houston, I celebrated my friend's 25th birthday in the great city of Austin, TX. One of my best friends, Milan (seated below), had never been to the capitol of Texas even though she has lived here since middle school! Her other best friend Jully (second photo below) wasn't going to let that continue. Like a pro, Jully planned an awesome jam-packed weekend full of must-sees, must- eats, and must dos for the birthday girl. Of course, we didn't see all of Austin's awesome attractions; but we did see a ton that even I hadn't seen.
LOVE this view of Austin! I enhanced this photo a bit because I really wanted to bring out the blues in the sky. It was an incredible sunny day!
Milan has a huge bucket list and one of those things on the list as to shoot a gun. Jully surprised her by taking her to Red's. I had never shot a gun either so it was a big check off my list too!
There is an enormous amount of dynamism that I felt when I held the gun for the first time. It was a little surreal and overwhelming because you feel suddenly more powerful and yet you're thinking, "Oh geez, I can really kill someone with this!". I really enjoyed shooting with a revolver because I had much better control unlike the gun with a magazine. There was another gun with a magazine which I don't remember the name of. So "gun with a magazine" is what you'll get. The latter was a lot harder for me to gain control. I could see my hands literally shifting after I pulled the trigger. I actually had a gun casing pop out into my shirt and burn my skin which made me have a strong aversion to the gun with a magazine even more.
I had never been to The County Line on the Lake before and the place just oozes Austin in the sense that its incredibly inviting and relaxed. All the hills, water, and nature really make you feel liberated.
The image below was enhanced through HDR but I have a few mistakes due to in-shooting bracketing but the end result is very dream like. Doesn't it make you wish there was a tire swing? Or make you think of a Tom Sawyer kind of summer?
Another Asian?! Liz, a high school friend of mine came to visit!
So many turtles to feed!
After a good 30 minute nap and an hour of showers, we all got ready to continue the scheduled itinerary that Jully prepared.
We took a BAT TOUR on the Little Star in the middle of downtown Austin.
While waiting for the tour to begin, Jully took my camera and snapped a photo of the water and said, "Now everyone will know how gross Lady Bird Lake is!". LOL
So this water boat tour was really nice because the tour guide gave us all sorts of facts and stories about the city of Austin and tons of info on the bats that reside on a certain bridge.
Man, dusk + city skyline = magic. I didn't have much control of the angling because the tour guide was driving the giant boat in every which way.
Every year, Austinites celebrate the bats that come from Mexico for the summer by having a giant BAT FESTIVAL. Music, food, apparel, and costumes all honoring these winged animals. I couldn't believe how many people came out to see the bats. People on the bridge, seated in boats, canoes, and kayaks all eager to see the bats fly out. It was a good while before they came out. You have no idea how badly I had been wanting to see these bats. I've been to Austin several times but never got to see them. But when I did was completely in awe and snapping photos like crazy.
Can you believe how many bats there are?! So incredible! And the most unusual part about it was that there wasn't really that much noise coming from them. It was really elegant to see all these bats fly out from under that bridge all at the same time.
As the day came to an end, we headed off to Justine's for dinner. I really enjoyed this restaurant because the food, the people, atmosphere, and wine were all representative of the Austin adult - cultured, adventurous, easy going, and fun. Of course, good food deserves pictures which I was more than happy to take.
And another Asian! Leo's good friend and former UT college friend, David.
After a very full meal, our gang continued the night festivities with some ridiculous photos. Justine's has a little room off in the back with wall to wall mirrors. We took a good amount of pictures which I'll spare you. We were perhaps a bit tipsy from our drinks which allowed us to be...less inhibited.
The best and ONLY photo of my butt that you're gonna get.
We did a lot more that evening. Visited Icenhauer's, danced a bit, drank a bit more, and chatted until it was time to go. I was spent but really geniunely happy. I haven't had that much fun in a long time. The weekend was flawless. It'll definitely be hard to go back and top that weekend.