Written Wednesday afternoon:
I'm currently in the state capitol building in Austin, TX, which prides itself on being 14 feet taller than the white house in Washington D.C. This basically sums up the atmosphere here. The entire building brims with Texas pride. Everywhere you look there are stars, the shape of Texas and the word Texas itself.
I really wish I had my camera because the details in this building are amazing. I've gotten some links in order to try and supplement the writing better. The hinges on all the doors say "Texas Capitol," when opened. The tile work on the floors is all about Texas history and heroism. The front entrance has the names of all the major battles fought for Texas independence laid into the floor. The doorknobs even have stars in them, as well as all the lighting. The rotunda is topped with a star 8 feet across (though it's so high up it looks much smaller)with the letters of TEXAS in each gap between the points.
The building itself is endlessly huge and I am grateful to be able to walk wherever I want. I took a short tour of the building to get a better idea of what goes on. It is clear that Texans have pride in their history and they have worked hard to preserve it. Most of this building has been remodeled to look the way it did in it's original state. The desks in the Senate and Representative meeting rooms are all original, as well as doorknobs, chandeliers and probably the hinges as well. One could spend hours in this amazing building wandering about lost.
My favorite part of the entire building is the underground areas that were added much later. When you are on those floors it doesn't feel like you are underground, because the windows were planned in such a way to let in massive amounts of natural light. There is an outdoor courtyard that has been dug out which flood the halls with light, as well as the skylights, which look up out of the ground. They look odd from the outside, because they are windows literally laid at ground level and surrounded with short hedges.
I'd like to spend more time in this building, but I've got to go meet Joe and Grace for dinner and a meeting of sorts with the caving group they are part of. We're to learn about cave fishing. I can honestly say I'm not interested in how to catch fish in a cave, but I am interested in Brazilian dinner and drinking with a bunch of crazy cavers. One of them owns chickens, which he is very fond of, and one of them is German, which I am very fond of, and one of them holds "Safety Meetings," which everyone is very fond of.