Waiting at the bus stop in New Orleans we met a lovely Mum and daughter couple called Sue and Cayley from Houston (sorry if i spelt your names wrong guys!). They had been visiting NOLA to check out universities for Cayley and we had a great time chatting to them. Cayley was really interested the fact that we were backpackers and how many places we have been to. Its not that often that you find American's who actually know what backpacking is so we had a great time sharing stories! We all caught an overnight Mega-Bus from New Orleans to Houston before saying goodbye. After a lovely 3 hour wait at 3.45am in what was effectively an empty car parking lot (dont worry Mum Ty looked after me!) we got on another bus to Austin to visit Gabby, David and Lionel whom we had met whilst workaway-ing in Italy a couple of years ago.  We met a couple of other backpackers on this bus - one of whom entertained us with stories of train hopping his way around the USA. Not something I'm sure I'd have the balls for to be honest! 

Gabby and David picked us up and we headed back to their place to freshen up. David's brother Carlos had run a half marathon that morning and his parents and cousins had come up from their home town to cheer him on so we all went out for a celebratory long lazy brunch which was really enjoyable. It was so nice to meet David's family - they were so sweet! We had heard so much about a famed breakfast dish in the south of 'chicken and waffles' that spying it on the menu Ty had to order it. As David put it, its a culinary conundrum.... really shouldn't taste good together but it so does! After brunch we headed back to hang out and enjoy the sunshine and just spend time catching up with each other. Late afternoon they took us to 'Congress Street' to wander around the eclectic shops, food trucks and markets before chilling out and people watching with salsa, chips and beer at a local bar.
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Ty and David with their chicken n waffles
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Roller Derby!
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So fast you can hardly see them!
That night was the opening night of the local Roller Derby Championships so we decided to head along and see what it was all about. Holy Guacamole that sport is brutal! The match we went to see was the Putas Del Fuego (Bitches of Fire) vs the Hellcats. When we walked in to the stadium our first thought was that they were being a bit optimistic with the numbers of seating laid out, but as we sat down people kept streaming in and there was easily a couple of thousand people there by the time the game started. As far as we could gather the basic idea of the game is to score more points that the other team by tactically moving your 'jammer' (speediest, weasel-iest, person) around the rink scoring one point for each person you overtake in the opposition. Not as easy as it sounds when you have the rest of the team slamming into you, or slamming you into the fence/floor/other people. Even just skating around the rink warming up proved dangerous with one girl snapping her ankle before the match even started! Watching the team warm up the Putas looked to be a much more cohesive team but suprisingly it was the Hellcats who took the early lead. The game became a fierce battle with the Putas going into the lead with just a few minutes left to play but it was the Hellcats who took the match on a controversial penalty. Brutal excitement right until the end! With names like Greta-Ground-n-Pound and Holly Peno, and penalty punishments including pillow fights and tug of war it would be easy to think that this sport is taking the piss a bit. But while its all smiles after the match, during the game the girls definitly have their game face on and the competition is tough! Its definitely not a sport for the weak!
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Gabby cleaning the back of the car
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Ty talcom-powerding the back of the car
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Can you see the thumb print?
We all enjoyed a lazy lie in the next day and woke up to David cooking us yummy breakfast tacos with eggs, potatoes and tys favourite - chorizo! Lionel and his girlfriend Jani arrived from his home town further south and it was really good to see him again. We decided to take a bit of a road trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, but not before visiting the 'ghost tracks'! Legend has it that years ago on a railway track outside San Antonio a school bus got stuck and was hit by a train, killing all the children on board. If you drive up to the rail tracks, put your car in neutral and take your foot off the pedals the car rolls up the slight incline and over the tracks, being pushed, some say, by the ghosts of those children. Creepily it works!! Locals dust the back of the car with talcum powder and report occasional hand prints appearing. We didnt get any full hand prints but what looked like a thumbprint appeared where there definitly wasn't one before....Ooooooooo *scary ghost voice*. 

Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years and the battle of the Alamo (Feb 23 - March 6 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Dad had recently bought a slide converter and found a photo of him visiting with my grandparents years ago so it was pretty cool to be standing in the same place. After soaking up the history it was time for more food (I swear all we are doing is eating on this trip!). Gabby took us to their favourite San Antonio bar/restaurant which had so many decorations around the place that it looked like Mexican Christmas on crack!
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Outside the entrance to the Alamo
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Gabby, David, Lionel, Ty and I
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MEAT!
A fierce friendly game of rock band happened back at the house, followed by the boys defeating the zombies, as we all enjoyed just hanging out with each other. 

The next day we went out for a really fun round of Pitch and Putt golf (a short 9 hole course using only a 9 iron and a putter) with Gabby and David and one of their friends before heading to the legendary 'Salt Lick' all you can eat BBQ restaurant which was definitely the cause of some meat sweats that night. 

Its crazy how fast our time in the USA has gone by. Cant believe we are off to Mexico tomorrow!

Next stop: Mexico City!
 





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