I took a taxi to the Ziker Botanical Gardens in Austin. The driver was surprised that there was an entrance charge. At $3 for non-residents, I thought it was a bargain.
Earlier, the taxi driver had something to say to me but had been hesitant. He started by saying, “You probably get this all the time but you know who you look like?” I said, “Who?” He said, “Gandhi!” I had seen this coming. He added, “I hope you don’t mind my saying so.” I replied, “It could have been worse: you could have said I looked like Hitler!”
Earlier during my US trip, a burly guard at airport security, after checking my papers, cracked open a smile and said, “Has anyone told you that you look like Gandhi!” Coincidentally, a severe looking guard (and many others) in India had said the same to me. It’s amazing how much pleasure people get pointing out the apparent resemblance.
The botanical gardens themselves are small and delightful. I spent several hours walking around, taking photos and reading. Coincidentally, my NY friend, Paul, recently sent me this lovely essay on city green spaces by the always engaging Oliver Sachs.
When I was returning from the botanical gardens, I walked along the river. There were many people running or cycling. The outdoors lifestyle is one of the advantages of Austin. It was infectious: I felt like joining them.
As luck would have it, the following day, someone I was talking to in the hostel was going on a bike ride. So we cycled together in the afternoon along the river and lake.