Batman Forever

June 6

My father’s a pilot. My mother’s father was a station manager. Travelling is in my genes, I tell people. Every year, as May starts walking away, I get the itching in my feet. It gets harder to pay attention to what is around me and I want to pack a suitcase, board a plane or plan a road trip. And like every other summer, I get to travel around this one too while others are immersed in school work already. I mean, I know I’ll have to make it up in the last two semesters but oh well!

We walked around a lot today, enough for me to want detachable feet so I can take them off and put them to the side. Or soak them in salt water. It reminded me of our trips with my dad, who is the most determined tourist you will ever find. A baseball cap, an unwillingness to spend money and an iron will to check off as many things-to-do as he/we could. It also reminded me of our treks in the northern areas. Ah, I am dying to go on a trip to Hunza. College, I miss you.

So, I got to see more of the city today. We met an ambitious young artist in front of a huge mural near UT, it was pretty warm and he was battling the heat for his dreams, sharing his music – rap, hip hop – with people walking by, in their sunglasses and holding ice drinks. Check me out on Facebook and Twitter, he told us after we told him his song, called Miracle, was cool. Not an easy job, I admired him for pursuing his dreams… and so far, he seemed optimistic.

Juice, iced tea, frozen yogurt; sandals, shorts, hats. 

And then we walked up and down South Congress, which is full of amazing shops that do not allow photography! Why create something so amazing if people can’t share it with others! There was a shop called Uncommon Objects, which I entered and was a little stunned. My jaw fell open and my eyes widened. There was so much to see! My camera practically wanted to jump out of my hands and hop around, taking pictures of teacups hanging from a wire rack as if to dry in the wind, typewriters that warned ‘resist the urge to type’, dolls with stitches coming apart at the neck, rusty boxes that entice you with ‘keep out’ scribbled on it. An under-construction doll house, lamps and chessboards, and a broken wedding couple thing that you decorate the top of your cake with. There was old furniture, antique cameras, old yellowed books and taxidermy specimens. You could have spent hours in that place…

Then there were the bats under the bridge. And the deaf man with a bat-hat, the real batman, who makes badges and wants to keep Austin batty… scores of people had gathered at the lakeside, and on the bridge, the cameras with the big lenses and tripods were out, people out on the lake in their various means of flotation devices had pulled closer to the bridge and were sort of lazily wafting around, waiting for the famous spectacle of thousands of bats flying out from under the bridge while the sun set in a sea of orange, yellow and pink. It is supposed to be one of the coolest things to do in the city, watch the bats dot the sky like black shooting stars. So we stood on the bridge, watching the sun set and looking out at the calm water, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. The bright colors in the sky faded to pastels, and then darkened to a charcoal. Everybody stayed put, though, and in fact as it became darker, a couple more boats slowed to stops too.
‘It’s a boat show,’ a toddler corrected everyone standing there in anticipation. And the kid was right. 

We stood there for an hour and a half and finally, as we started to walk away, a few bats flew out and around back under the bridge. Then more, and more. They flew really fast, and in spinning circles right and left, flying out and then curving sharply to go back in again. It wasn’t the spectacular, breathtaking view promised but then that’s nature. You can’t control everything and I appreciated that.

Also, I did get to see a beautiful sunset, a boat show, Batman, and spinning bats. 


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