It’s been an eventful, and fairly humorous day.
Technically this geeky shindig hasn’t really started, but I’ve already learned a few things that I am going to account for next year if I return to SXSW.
Lesson 1 – Leave Wide Gaps in Flight Layovers
I knew this going in, but the last minute nature of my plans left me with no choices. I had a 45 minute layover in Memphis, and due to some mechanical failures, my flight out of NYC completely missed the window. Fortunately a quarter of all of the people on my connecting flight to Austin were also on my flight from NYC, so Delta held the connection up 45 minutes for us to make it.
It turns out that SXSW pilgrams buy up all of the flights in and out of the city. All of them. ALL OF THEM.
Had I missed that connection, I would not have been able to get to Austin by plane for another 36 hours. I probably would have had to fly to Dallas or Houston, rent a car, and drive.
Next time, I’m booking early, and making sure I have at least two hours between flights.
Lesson 2 – Have Friends & Make Friends
There’s a ton of stuff going on, and I have no idea what I’m doing. I am not a person who is easily overwhelmed, but without the help of my friend Jackie Danicki; the lovely woman at the front desk of the Governors Row Hampton Inn; and Gina, a SXSW veteran I met on the shuttle to the hotel… I wouldn’t have a clue as to what I should be doing.
Lesson 3 – Texas BBQ Rocks
More specifically, the brisket from Green Mesquite. To hell with the iPad, that stuff is magic. Two bites in I realized that I could sustain myself on only Green Mesquite brisket for the rest of my life, and be very happy. Sure it would probably be a shorter life, but it would be an enjoyable one damn it.
Seriously, this is a must go. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint; the staff is engaging and funny; the prices are very fair; and the food is to die for.
In addition to the brisket, I strongly encourage your stick around for dessert and get some homemade fudge pie, AND ask for the homemade ice cream on top (they bring both in fresh from other local restaurants). Remember you’re on vacation. Go for broke.
Lesson 4 – The Tale of Two “Airport” Hampton Inns
Turns out there are two “Airport” Hampton Inns. There’s Airport Hampton Inn & Airport South Hampton Inn. My cab driver didn’t make the distinction on the way back from Green Mesquite (even though I asked for the correct one).
Upon walking into the hotel (which looked remarkably similar from the outside), I realized that the lobby I was standing in was flipped. I stood in the doorway with what I can only imagine was a very stupid look on my face, while I slowly processed my inverted surroundings and concluded I was in the wrong hotel. The woman behind this desk clearly thought I lost my mind.