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Fiat 500 in the USA (Part 2): Once across Texas

Dani Heyne
Fiat 500 in the USA (part 2)
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D he friendly Indians behind the counter of the motel looks a bit stunned at his restaurant tip - we asked for a local tip and he answered us 'Dennys', a fast food chain with over 1,600 branches in the States. Dennys and insider tip are just as little part of a sentence as Fiat 500 and low seating position. More on that later, now the friendly Indian wants to know something about the car first. And why the hell we don't like burgers at Dennys. Although he gives us a feeling of Upper Franconia with his rolling R, we shorten the conversation: 'One of us is a vegetarian.' Then he smiles again: 'Oh well, then there is this pizza chain that also has burgers ...' Thank you, move into the room on Highway 83 and after a short round through the dark place actually end up in a burger -Load. Note: Most restaurants in the small towns are already closed on Sundays at 9 p.m.

Texas without filter

The next morning is not announced by the tap, but by a truck with a defective exhaust. It feels like it thunders right through our room. A little tired we trudge to the reception to enjoy the continental breakfast - a small bag of sweet cornflakes, concentrated orange juice and unlimited coffee. The pick-me-up must be, because in two hours we want to visit a bull auction, experience Texas pure. As always, the Fiat starts up without a murmur, honks goodbye and sprints at 45 mph to Mason. In the small western town, time seems to follow a different rhythm, there are no high-rise buildings, no traffic lights. The center is the old town hall, in a square there are flat buildings with wooden verandas. Here and there there are still iron hooks for leashing the horses. Although we don't see a second short car that day, the 500 is no more admired than anywhere else. Most Texans like the flag. The sheriff's office knows where the auction is taking place, 'three miles east of here'. We give the Fiat the spurs and almost on time make it to the auction house, in front of which 99 heavy pickups have gathered. Most with cattle trailers. Two women greet us warmly behind a counter, of course we can watch. Free. The entrance area of ​​the auction house is clear, on the right the reception counter, on the left a kitchen and two rooms with tables.There are no more women to be seen, but a dozen men in blue jeans with creases, checked shirts, cowboy boots and hats.

Bull auction in the first-class seat

The space behind the two swing doors opens up up, down and down, the animals are driven through a catwalk made of sand, which is fenced with high bars. The entrance and exit gates are operated by two strong men who chew tobacco. Behind the catwalk, the moderator and two helpers sit on a kind of small platform, he calls information about the animals into a microphone in chanting, the two helpers note the highest bids. The bidders sit on a row of first-class executive chairs opposite the grandstand. With alert eyes and an otherwise extremely cool manner, they examine the animals, lift their fingers, twitch their eyebrows, and scratch their ears. The moderator knows all these signs and whoops, the price for a bull climbs from $ 500 to $ 3,700. The next please. Three or four animals per minute, sometimes it's a small group. Behind the guys in the armchairs, more cowboys are sitting in a kind of amphitheater. These also offer, just not that often. Behind the scenes, the animals are herded into different boxes - depending on which buyer they now belong to. You can smell the fear and the excess adrenaline.

Austin Powers?

After two hours we have internalized the principle and have to move on to Austin, the liberal island in the otherwise conservative state of Texas. 'Keep Austin Weird' is the motto of the city, which looks very alternative in many corners. In addition, Austin enjoys the reputation of being the capital of live music: In no other city in the USA can you find so many music clubs and concerts. We do the random sample and actually find a couple of bands that play on Monday evening. Next we go to Jennifer and her Doberman, who takes us in today. She likes the Fiat, but could not part with her Wrangler, because it can also do offroad convincing argument.

The next morning we are greeted by the skyscrapers of Houston, the two million metropolis, famous for the best tricks in oil extraction and the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Houston Downtown is pretty deserted during our visit , a couple of guys in suits with coffee mugs, a couple of taxis. From the roof of a skyscraper the expanse and power of the city becomes clear. And in a small car museum wildly decorated L imousines and convertibles that are used once a year in a parade.

On the further journey to New Orleans we pass a couple of oil fields with countless huge pumps that look like oversized hammers and slowly swing up and down. In between there are picturesque cotton fields and meadows. OnLarge and small pickups dominate the streets, and delicious beef lands on the plates of the many steak restaurants. And the Fiat? He is often and gladly eyed. Some stop, not believing that we can travel comfortably in it with so much luggage. But we can - apart from the high seating position ...

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