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mermaidcamp

Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

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Air bnb vs Hotel Throwdown

July 27, 2014 3 Comments

I came to Austin to attend a reunion party that was held yesterday at the Drury Inn. Although I am very happy in my Air BnB Airstream I decided to check into the hotel for one night to have the best experience at the party. I am glad I did because the festivities were extensive and the crowd big. By staying there I was able to visit and enjoy the group, drink alcohol, and then just fall asleep in my hotel room. I brought my bathing suit thinking I might go in the pool, but the party was the focus, so I never unpacked the suit.  I had a wonderful time and ate some amazing food that was brought to the giant potluck.  Someone even imported white cheese from Venezuela for the arepas.  I got so full I could not taste all the goodies, but I was impressed with the creativity of all the cooks.  There was a giant paella prepared, then some music and dancing after dinner.  All in all this was one of the best organized and entertaining parties to which I have been invited.  It was really fun to see friends from 50 years ago.

Today it took me less than 5 minutes (because it is Sunday) to move back to East Austin to the Airstream.  I like both hotel and Air bnb, but for different reasons.  My love for hotels will never die, but now I have a choice when I travel, so I do look for availability in the rental market to compare prices/value.  It all comes down to one thing for me..or, or if you are a real estate professional you could say three things..location, location, and location.  If I can situate myself in the exact spot I want to be I consider the Air BnB option to be the superior one.  You will be exposed to the local culture, have a chance to live like a native wherever you are when you rent a space from a private owner.   I have found my hosts to be very attentive to my personal needs, offering much information and guidance that makes the stay more individually crafted.  This time my host is out of the country and two very local managers handle anything I need.  My full of organic food and drink kitchen saved me both money and time upon arrival.  The two fancy bottles of wine for which there is a $15 charge if I decide to drink them are a super nice touch.  I have laundry facilities and plenty of parking off the street.

I liked my hotel stay because:

  • It was convenient, clean, and well managed
  • The staff was very helpful and friendly in every way
  • The internet was the fastest I have had in any hotel (often this is a problem)
  • They serve good coffee at breakfast (this is not always true)
  • The bed was excellent, providing full comfort when I crashed
  • There was room for our big party and they let us make paella in the parking lot
  • They have bathtubs and unlimited hot water (this was my favorite part..I took 3 baths during my overnight stay)

I am happy to be home in the Airstream because:

  • I am integrated into this neighborhood and know my way around
  • I have total privacy
  • I have a full (tiny) kitchen and lots of storage space in general
  • I am not right next to the freeway
  • My rent is about half what the hotel costs
  • My managers are on hand to answer all my questions and give me good advice
  • I live here as a part of the community rather than a pure tourist. I meet people who live here.
  • Now I can say I have stayed in an Airstream

I am not sure how you like to travel or what your priorities are, but check out Air BnB for the fun of it.  You can start a wish list if there are properties that strike your fancy.   Depending on where you want to be it may or may not be the best choice, but I think it is worth investigation.  The Airstream has no TV.  I do have Hulu, but I can only see the evening news 24 hours after it is broadcast.  These days there is so much tragedy in 24 hours, and all the news comes on twitter anyhow.  Being spared the ritual of news watching at the end of every day at this particular time has been a blessing.  At breakfast in the hotel the television was large and looming. CNN was showing us all the freaky horror going on in the world…over our morning meal.  This, I can certainly do without.  Home sweet Airstream, for 3 more days!

 

East End Fourth Friday, Austin

July 26, 2014 4 Comments

 

My neighborhood (in Austin) had a party last night which I enjoyed attending. On the 4th Friday of every month many of the businesses around here throw a small festival to celebrate being here. I did not last long enough to go to the free BYOB movie, but I did check out some places I had not even seen during my time here. This neighborhood was once the true home of black music in Austin. Later there were significant crime problems, and some real estate devaluation. From what I hear this was as rough as any scary urban area for a while. Now it is the rising star of commerce of the hippest kind. There are very cool stores, bars, restaurants, and of course food trucks. I started at Hillside Farmacy for a couple of drink specials, then moved on to Sagra for a couple of very personally crafted cocktails and a fried pizza.  The bands were arriving and the whole place rocking when I walked home.  I kind of thought I might go back later for dancing and the movie, but was fast asleep full and happy shortly after I arrived at the Airstream.   I had a great time, and even had a quick dance with Mama Jewel on my way home.  Perfect evening.  If I had any ambition to develop real estate I would do it right here.  Since that is not the case, I will develop friendships for the future.  I think this hood has about 5 years before the rent goes way up.  It is where the action is.  I can only hope the attitude and the available parking will last until I return.  This is a neighborhood business scene with real community support and diverse flavor.  I love it.

Mama Jewel, Queen of East Austin

July 25, 2014 5 Comments

I am a visitor in the neighborhood of East Austin, Texas for a couple of weeks. On the first day of my visit I was walking down my street and met Jewel Thomas Lusk sitting on her front porch. She is the neighborhood watch, the historian, the social director, and godmother to some of the kids around here. If you live here you know her, or at least she knows all about you. I like talking to her about the way the neighborhood developed. She has lived here for more than 58 years, so she is well informed on the subject.  I wanted to interview her on video but she would not give her consent.  She has a strong accent and told me she does not want anyone making fun of her.  She also has a job working at a law office once a week and does not want any kind of publicity to mess up her deal with the lawyers.  I do understand, but I still wish she had agreed to talk to the gentle readers.

She is a Baptist who enjoys dressing up sharp and singing on Sundays.  This weekend there is some big to do a the Tabernacle that will include all the Baptist churches around here.  She is planning to wear a fancy green outfit with a brimmed hat.  I do wish I could see her all dressed up because I am sure it is impressive.  She also enjoys Coors silver bullets, which she informed me she was responsible for finally getting in this town.  We had a little difference of opinion about when Coors actually arrived in Austin, but sometime in the 1960’s is correct.  This beer was highly prized and personally imported ( that’s right, imported) from Colorado, which was the only state where you could buy it.   Jewel told me she used to buy it in Ft. Worth and bring it down here, but was finally able to convince the mayor of the city to help her bring Coors to Austin. I have no doubt that this story is true.  She can literally tell you everything about everyone who has lived around here.  I do hope somebody will talk her into recording her stories on video so that they will not be lost.

When I went to college here I was 17 and could not get into bars to hear music…with one exception.  The black clubs on 6th Street did not discriminate against the white youth, and let us into their clubs.  I got to see BB King and Bobby Blue Bland one night playing about 10 feet in front of us.  We were 4 or 5 teen white chicks in an all black club having a wonderful time.  No problem.  I can’t remember if they served us alcohol or not, because we were not really drinkers, just BB fans.  Jewel and I reminisced about those clubs and that music for a while, and I wondered if she and I had ever danced together back then.  She still likes to dance, but says for dancing she switches to Crown Royal because beer is not the thing for dancing.  She is a remarkable woman, representing a front porch attitude that has faded with time….but not on her corner of the world.  I am grateful to be her neighbor for a couple of weeks.  She is the essence of cool.

Austin Ashiatsu, Better than Your Average Bodywork

July 24, 2014 1 Comment

I had the deep pleasure (pun intended) of experiencing for myself the talented feet of Cathy Royder.  I can admit to being a bodywork pig.  But I am a picky and discriminating bodywork pig.  At home I am a patron of the “hospital spa”, Supportive Care for Healing at the U of A Cancer Center.  The public is welcome to use the facility, with or without cancer.  The very best therapists in Tucson give 1 hour treatments there for just $40, which is hog heaven for a bodywork pig like me.  I do patronize some therapists in their private practices as well, but usually I get those bargain treatments because I can afford more of them.

On holiday now I am in exotic splurge mode because that is what holidays are intended to be.  Lucky for me Austin Ashiatsu is literally right down the street from my temporary home in the hood.  A quick check of the map, an easy to navigate appointment made on the website….and voilá….I found myself under the very capable feet of Ms.Royder,L.Ac, MAOM, LMT.  She asked me what kind of pressure I wanted and I replied that she could go all the way.  After a couple of minutes I had to tell her to lighten up a bit. I was astonished how such a small person could exert so much pressure.  We arrived at the perfect pressure for me, and I drifted into happy land for the next hour.  The treatment was lovely and I feel very balanced and refreshed as a result.   If you live in Austin, make yourself an appointment for a super mini holiday at 1306 E 7th St.  If you are visiting the city I recommend this experience to make your time here extra special.  I recommend this service to anyone who likes to feel good.  She will whip out the tuning forks in certain circumstances…I might need to return for that!!!  Tuning forks on acupuncture points is a very powerful way to treat the body.

 

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