Austin Graffiti Park

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It’s been a crazy few days in Austin, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. One the highlights of the trip was the graffiti park. It’s free (which is great!) but you can also see some really great street art…

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Seriously, where else would you see a giant snail-snake-deer Valentines day painting.

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…and some really nice inspirational messages…

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Love.

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There was even some Doctor Who!!

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It’s within walking distance of the downtown area, on Baylor Street near Lamar and 10th St. W. It’s definitely worth the visit.

Bucketlist Item #10… Skydiving!!!

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Well, I did it and I lived to tell the tale. Bucketlist Item #10. Check! I can tell you there is no feeling quite like the rush of stepping out of a plane 11,000 feet in the air… on purpose.

We found a Groupon, so the jump cost was only $115. I say “only $115” because without the Groupon, it would have been much closer to $200. The weather was pretty terrible for our appointment time of 2:30, so we ended up jumping closer to 6 or 7. We occupied our time with some soccer…

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And mobile “Family Fued…”

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And in no time, we were off…

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Other than the initial terror due to stepping out of the plane, it actual wasn’t too frightening. Because of the delay, we ended up jumping right at sunset, which made it worth the wait. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone to try at least once. If you decide to purchase the video, be prepared to see some very bizarre facial expressions. Not from fear, but from the air pressure. I had giant cheekbones at one point, flapping lips at another and the side of my face moved in ways that ones face never should.

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Key West on the Cheap

I already posted about my favorite things to do in Key West. Now, for all the things that you can do on a budget…

1. See all the typical Key West landmarks.

The Southernmost Point. Get your picture taken with the famous monument, and grab a snow cone from the vendor that is always there on the street. Trust me, you’ll be hot enough to want one.

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Mile 0 of highway 1.

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The Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square.

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2. Shopping! Both window and otherwise.

There are plenty of touristy stores where you can find souvenirs and handy travel underwear..

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Or you can pop some tags in one of the many thrift stores…

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3. Go see the Key West Aquarium.

It’s tiny, but well worth the $15 entry fee. You can even get cheaper tickets if you pre-purchase them online.

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There’s a petting tank with stingrays and other ocean critters..

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You can feed some fish and see some pretty large sharks…

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4. Grab a cheap book for charity and do some reading in the sunshine.

On your way down the Keys, you’ll pass Baby’s Coffee…

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…stop in and grab a drink, I recommend the chai iced latte, but all the drinks are good..

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… then grab a book and give a donation. If you have any books with you that you’ve already finished, here is the perfect place to drop them so another traveler can enjoy them…

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… Then go sit by your hotel pool or the beach with your chai iced latte, read your book and work on your tan.

5. Play pool at the Green Parrot.

The Green Parrot isn’t right on Duval, which makes it more of a locals hangout. “Locals hangout” can also be translated too “full of strange Key¬† Westers who make for good entertainment via people watching.”

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I’d love to hear any other suggestions!

“Cuban Chugs”

In the Key West Botanical Gardens, there’s an “exhibit” with a bunch of “Cuban Chugs.” I say “exhibit” because it doesn’t really look like an actually display of anything, more like a bunch of old boat parts sitting in a yard. It turned out to be one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen in Key West. A “Chug” is a term for the vessels used by refugees leaving Cuba.

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It’s hard to believe that some people are so desperate to leave their country that they’d risk their lives crossing 90 miles of open water in one of these things, just to get to America.

The motor below is actually¬† built from regular boat motor parts and the engine from a lawnmower, cleverly welded together…

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Many of the boats were just tarps and wood scraps that had been filled with some type of foam insulation…

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This boat actually used a tree branch as support for one of the seats. Not lumber, but a tree branch…

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Imagine sitting on this thing for an extended period of time…

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You don’t even have to pay the entrance fee for the gardens to see this exhibit (although I do recommend going into the gardens themselves), so there’s no reason you should miss out on this fascinating display…

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