Austin Trip 2012: Day 1, Christian Bionat (May 31, 2012)

This weekend we have the wonderful opportunity to attend the New Politics Forum’s Campaign Boot camp hosted by the Annette Strauss Institute, where we can learn the fundamentals of campaigning and how to run an effective operation.

Were it not for a few lucky breaks on the way to Austin, we may have never arrived.

We almost drove into a cornfield, caused traffic delays at the toll booth when we didn’t have change, and then close to being rammed on I-35 on the entrance ramp by a pick-up truck!

Thank goodness we got to Austin in one piece. . .

Fortunately, we had a chance to regain our senses at the hotel for a few minutes, and then we went to Mount Bonnell.  This is a well-visited area near Lake Austin just off of the Colorado River.  Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points in Austin, standing about 780 ft. above sea-level.

Junior Fellows at Sunset

The viewpoint, named after Texas publisher George Bonnell, provided an astounding observation point for Austinites and tourists.

Christian Bionat, Holding the Moon

 Following our adventure, the Junior Fellows voted to eat Ethiopian food at Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant. I ordered an Alicha Siga Wott which is a tender beef stew with onions, garlic, and turmeric. In addition, I also tasted the Ethiopian coffee which is normally served with their meals. It was the first time I have ever tried Ethiopian cuisine and it was a very different experience having to rip the injera (bread made with the tef grain), pinch the meat, and then eat it. The spices were also quite invigorating and seemed similar to Indian food. Overall, Aster’s provided a wonderful example of a taste of the “Birthplace of Humanity.”

Tomorrow we look forward to the French Legation Room and beginning of the NPF camp!

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