Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Round Rock Premium Outlet
Round Rock Premium Outlet

We had some time in the morning as our conference event starts later in the afternoon. So we decided to check out Round Rock Premium Outlet. It’s located just outside of the city, about 30 minutes drive.

Given that it was a Tuesday morning, the outlet was somewhat empty. I walked around exploring the many shops and bought some souvenirs for people back home.

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

For lunch, our driver suggested that we go to Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbeque. Turns out it was an excellent suggestion. The ribs at Cooper’s were great! And the staff at the restaurant were friendly too. Seeing that we’re foreigners, the staff gave us a good explanation on the type of meat and dishes.

IATR Gala Dinner
IATR Gala Dinner

In the evening, the conference had a Gala Dinner and Awards celebration. There was a band performance, and various awards were given out to participants. We had a good chat with the other regulators. We were the only multi-mode operator there (we oversee taxis, buses, rail and freight), while the other participants are mainly taxi regulators. Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear their challenges. The challenges in cities such as Montreal and Chicago are not so different from ours anyway.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

View of downtown Austin
View of downtown Austin

I woke up early and went to the gym. The gym is located at the top floor of the hotel along with the swimming pool. The pool offers a great view of downtown Austin!

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport
Austin–Bergstrom International Airport

We went to the airport earlier than usual. Our flight to San Francisco was at 2:10PM. It was a 3 hour 50 minutes flight via United Airlines. Initially I was really worried about this flight. There was an incident in April 2017 where a passenger was dragged off the plane for refusing to give up his seat due to overbooking. Anyway, my fears turned out to be unfounded as the flight was half empty. Haha!

Milk selection in USA
Milk selection in USA

While waiting at the departure lounge, I went to a cafe and saw the milk selection. It’s a common setup for cafes in Austin (and I believe it’s common in the US). It was amusing to see “half and half” and “2%” milk. After some googling, I found out that 2% means reduced fat (milk fat is 2% of total milk) and “half and half” means half whole milk + half cream. Interesting .. the milk varieties in Malaysia are either full cream, fresh or skim.

Anyway, once the flight took off, I was absolutely relieved. From our experience Austin felt like a depressing place and we were glad to see the back of it. All of us were really looking forward to the next leg of the journey: San Francisco.

Related posts: Transit in London, Austin Part 1, Austin Part 2, Silicon Valley