DOS & DON'TS
Texans enjoy inside jokes, homespun lingo, and getting smashed on straight corn liquor, but what they love the most is to gush on about Texas, and Austin in particular. Familiarity with a few insider tidbits will make for priceless cocktail-party fodder and enable you to dazzle the britches off any number of locals.
There are only two truly recognized holidays in Austin: March 2 and April 19. March 2 is the date Texas declared itself independent of Mexico. And just so you know, they may have lost the battle at the Alamo, but they went on to win the war. The Republic of Texas’s paradisiacal existence lasted for ten full years, during which France was their closest ally. For that reason, true Texans love the French and refuse to be swayed by Johnny-come-lately Yankees like the Bush family. The other festival day is April 19, Bicycle Day. This holiday, especially beloved by the old hippie set, commemorates Albert Hoffmann’s discovery of LSD and the bike trip he made while under its influence for the first time. Austinites love fun discoveries as well.
Beginning in 1895, more than 30 Moon Towers were erected around the city, each 165 feet tall and mounted with six carbon lamps capable of illuminating a 3,000-feet radius. Astoundingly, 17 of the original lighted towers are still functioning. Ask a smart girl to show you one, they’re the equivalent of Texas mistletoe.
A BBQ is a cookout involving hunks of meat, wood, smoke, and time. What Yankees do with hot dogs and veggie burgers on rooftops or fire escapes is called grilling.
Hangovers are referred to as the brown-bottle flu.
The cowboy-hat rule is indisputable: Felt in winter, straw in summer.
Cedar chopper is the slang term for a central-Texas hippie-redneck hybrid. Usually male and sometimes associated with methamphetamine.
Split tail is the local term of choice for a woman, because it’s to the point and also kind of cute like a bunny.
Of course, if you’re there during SXSW, you can disregard the entire preceding paragraph as the crowds will make a car about as useless as wheels on a fish. Just make like your brisket and follow the herd to whichever places seem the loudest and most fun-oriented.
We put a little map in the section with all the bars to give you a general idea of where stuff is; it should be basically all you need to make it from some places to others. Honestly, that little drawing two pages back should be all you need. Ever hear of asking for directions? It used to be the hallmark of the friendly visitor looking to make local friends before Mapquest turned us all into a bunch of Silent Sammies. Anyway, don’t be shythey won’t.
BASIC PHONE NUMBERS:
Cabs: 452-9999 and 482-0000.
Lawyer: 495-9595. Antonio Wehnes is our trusted German-Mexican attorney. He makes HST’s 300-pound Samoan advocate look like a candy striper.
AND IF YOU REALLY WANT TO APPEAR TO BE LOCAL, DIGEST THESE HINTS IMMEDIATELY:
When deciding on the type of tortilla to accompany a plate of Mexican food, always choose cornunless, of course, you are eating breakfast tacos or fajitas, then flour is appropriate. Also note: The word “fajita” refers only to beef. No chicken, no shrimp, no veggies.
There are strong opinions in Texas about whether or not to put sauce on a plate of BBQ. The best plan is to ask the proprietor what he recommends. That way you won’t look like a fool, and he will usually slide you some sauce on the side anyway. Remember, Texans always choose brisket.