I've been posting SXSW tips from my friend and current Austin resident Vic. As it turns out, there are former Austinites among the ranks here at WNYC. Robby from the 26th Floor weighs in with guidance on everything from BBQ to how NOT to catch a cab.
But it's how Robby begins his email that seems most important:
'First, Guadalupe Street is pronounced guAD-a-loop.'
Phew! I'm going to board a plane in just under six hours and this is the first I've heard of this little local anomaly. I mean, 'Guadalupe' is Spanish, right? And Austin is in Texas, no? Yet it's not 'guAD-uh-loo-pay'? Robby, thank you. This could have been embarrassing. I'll return the favor: Next time you're in Minneapolis, the Nicollet Mall on which TV's Mary Tyler Moore once tossed her beret in the air is 'NICK-uh-let,' not the Frenchier 'nee-koh-LAY.' Also, the suburb New Prague does not sound like the city in the Czech Republic. It's 'prayg,' rhyming with 'tag.' And, more important, don't bring up 'Fargo' around my Uncle Dan.
Continue, Robby, oh wise Austin sherpa:
My favorite BBQ spots are Ruby's and Green Mesquite. There are too many great Mexican restaurants to name. Try them all. Huevos rancheros is a religion. [And it's pronounced how?--Ed.]
My favorite chill-out spot right in town is Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park and need a little escape. Also, nearby is the notable Stevie Ray Vaughan monument at Town Lake (pictured at right, credit: Mrbill).
Leave your car parked where it is and get around on foot and in cabs. The city is easily navigable that way. BUT, do not try to catch a cab back to your hotel just as the bars are closing. You will spend an hour jockeying for position along with thousands of other revelers trying to flag down a taxi. That is no fun, and that situation often ends with a long walk home.
Get the cellphone numbers of everyone you know that is going to be there. You will want to maintain contact via text messaging about hot shows that are happening. There are always numerous surprise shows that pop up out of nowhere and you need to be ready to pop over to catch them - The Beastie Boys in a parking lot, Thurston Moore playing in a church...anything can happen. [Wait ... do you know something I don't? I can't tell if you're just being hypothetical, or if you're trying to drop a hint to me. Is Thurston playing a church?--Ed.]
Last random tip: stay away from those criminal ATMs on 6th Street. They have fees of $5 or more. Get your cash before heading out to the shows.
Well, I plan to barter for goods and services in Austin, having stuffed my suitcase full of American blue jeans. But this is all sound advice, Robby. This soon-to-be traveler thanks you.