Thursday, June 3, 2010

Visit with Jamie and Mandy, Part 2

Finally, Part 2! After we left Wild Ginger we went home and packed up and got on the road to Austin. I was sorry that Mandy had missed the height of wildflower season by a few weeks as the Brenham area we passed through is always especially beautiful. Jamie missed most of the scenery but at least I got to wear her sunglasses while she slept! Why can't I keep a pair of sunglasses more than a few weeks??

We were stuffed from lunch and so decided to forego a regular dinner. We took a walk and then spent a low key evening with the laptops. In the morning Jamie had to go to work and Mandy and I went with her.
Jamie works at the Austin Visitor's Center on 6th Street -- the old Grove Drugstore. (See my Etsy page for limited edition prints of this Austin landmark!) She advises tourists on what to do in Austin -- where to go and what to see. She also sells tickets for "the Duck" -- the amphibious vehicle that tours downtown Austin and then glides into Lake Austin for about a 20 minute segment. I've heard so many stories about "duck drama" i.e. grown people crying because the tour is sold out (!) so was curious to see what's the big deal. We got some yummy breakfast tacos on the way to the Visitor's Center, and then looked around at souvenirs and watched Jamie work while we waited for the duck.

Mandy and I boarded and our tour began. We saw the sights of downtown Austin, including many I was not familiar with, so that was interesting and informative. The entertainment aspect was a little lame. The driver/tour guide exhorted the passengers to blow the provided duck calls at pedestrians, who responded with puzzled looks. The driver apparently thought he was auditioning for Don Pardo's job, and after awhile the singsonginess caused me to grit my teeth.
The only moment of drama was when the duck was clambering out of the lake, and it seemed like it might not make it. Jamie informed us later that sometimes that happens, and I'm glad I didn't know it at the time. I would recommend this wacky tour as a fun way to see Austin, especially for families with children.

Mandy appears to be enjoying herself, but I'm not convinced!
When the tour was over Jamie took her lunch hour and we walked over to a local Tex-Mex. Right before we went in I looked across the street and saw something unusual, so I took the picture below. Curious, we crossed the street and approached the group.

Well yes, it WAS a cat riding on a dog! The owner and animals had just arrived in Austin, apparently ready to work the streets and make some money!

No, I was wrong; it's not a cat riding a dog. It's a rat riding a cat riding a dog.

The dog was outfitted with a heavy leather harness for the cat to grip. The rat was free to roam.

The owner/trainer revealed that while there is one dog and one cat, he has several rats. When I put a few dollars in his tip jar he said, "Thanks! The rat needs a new pair of shoes!" Nice to keep one's sense of humor while making a living in such an uncertain way, and with several mouths to feed.
The dog seemed delighted to be there and to get so much admiring attention, and I don't think the rat(s) cared one way or the other. But I gotta say, I think the cat, tethered to the dog with a slim leash, was wishing he could get some other gig.

Ah Austin! The Key West of Texas! Seeing the dog/cat/rat trio was my second favorite thing in Austin. First was spending time with Jamie and Mandy -- love you both! Least favorite? I left my pillow at Jamie's! :-(


artsysister said...

like it!

Cynthia said...


Jamie Reid said...

About the rat-cat-dog man:

I can't say I'm overly surprised that he was arrest for crack possession.

ArtPropelled said...

I thought I was seeing things ..... It's the first time I've seen a rat riding a cat riding a dog.

Cynthia said...

It was definitely a first for me as well! Just when you think you've seen it all....