Thursday, January 10, 2008


The road and freeway system here in Austin is atrocious. I've complained about it in person to some of you, but basically it makes me wish I still had to drive in LA! I know what you're saying... it can't be that bad. True: the traffic here is not as heavy as in Los Angeles, but the layout of the freeways is truly maddening. Three things in particular bother me about driving here and make me yearn for an hour sitting on the 405 at 1am on a Tuesday.

(1) The signage, what little there is of it, is completely cryptic.
(2) All freeways are bounded by a "frontage" road, that goes parallel to the freeway. These, I suppose, are to give access to the businesses and to "aid" entering and exiting the freeways. The result is that you are forced to make multiple U-turns, are punnised by miles of driving if you miss your exit, and getting around the freeways here is even MORE impossible than in California.
(3) All roads seem to have multiple names. And not in the way that's easy to remember, like how in San Jose, Capital Expressway becomes Hillsdale and then becomes Camden... but in the most obnoxious way that Ben White Blvd. is also called the SW Expressway, Highway 71, AND 290.

I mean, I'm not retarded... I can get around in my car alright. But I feel like somehow the oil or car lobbies (or both) conspired to design the dumbest freeways and roads just so we spend as much time as possible in the car. But also, people driving in Texas don't know what they're doing... it's like everybody thinks they're the only vehicle on the road. In CA, people drive badly, but at least they're not surprised when they see another car! I'll never complain about driving in California again....

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Madras Pavillion, Austin, TX

My co-worker, who is from Mumbai, India, told me that the best Indian food he's ever had anywhere (that includes his mom's home-cooked meals) was here in Austin, at a place north of the city center called Madras Pavillion. My parents got us a gift certificate to eat there for Christmas, which we used last week. Justine got the south Indian thali (basically a sampler plate of many kinds of curries and soups) and I had the mulligatawny soup and a curry with ocre and green peppers. DELICIOUS! I would have to agree that this is indeed some of the best -- if not the best -- Indian food I've ever had. So if you're ever in Austin, be sure to check out Madras Pavillion! Service is without charm and the decor is lacking a bit (and they chould use with some Indian music playing in the background), but hey, the food comes out quickly, it's hot and best of all, it's super tasty! Also, they give a 5% discount if you use cash (be sure to ask for it!)

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year's Eve in Austin

Here's what we did last year.

Now, here's what we did this year:

We went to the Continental Club's Gallery Room for New Year's Eve, instead of downtown Singapore....

We played Ping Pong while we waited for the band to play, instead of eating Thai food with my sister and waiting for the fireworks to go off on the Singapore waterfront....

The band consisted of Denny Freeman (guitar), Frosty Smith (drums), and Mike Flanigin on an organ. They were good... probably better than last year's fireworks!

I'd still take traveling over hanging out in a local club, but our new year's eve was fun and we met some cool people. Hope you had a good new year, too!