After a slight delay at Auckland Airport I settled in to the glorious comfort of Air New Zealand’s cabin ready for a 13 hour flight to Houston. The flight was uneventful, save for the dawning realization after continued research what a massive event SXSW is. Around 100,000 people over 9 days flock to Austin in a mix of interactive, film and music events, talks, parties and networking. And there is so much to do, and all at the same time. It gets exhausting just thinking about where one should even start!

In fact so exhausting that I fell asleep quite quickly and didn’t wake until we were just a couple of hours from Houston, only to be told that due to the delay in Auckland, getting my connecting flight to Austin was going to be tight! With four other Kiwi’s on the trip to Austin from Auckland we devised a plan that was pretty much, every man for themselves, and run! Ben Rose, who’s staying in the same hotel as I, ran the fastest as Air NZ had forgotten to check him through to Austin. Oops.

And we did. Through customs (actually quite a charming customs official), through security, through more security, and then finally on to the Austin flight with moments to spare. For a 31 minute flight to Austin. We all made it, except for Ben’s luggage which it seemed rather wanted to stay in Houston a little longer!

Arriving in Austin, my pre-arranged driver from the fantastically named Wingz app (Uber and Lyft are banned in Austin as they don’t treat their drivers well) picked Ben and I up and Marshall spend the next 20 minutes of the ride giving us a list of the best BBQ and tacos joints in Austin. Gold.

Quick change for me, and with Ben still in flight clothes we trooped off to Stile Switch, the first of Marshall’s BBQ tips. It was glorious! Metal tray of the most delicious ribs and steak you can imagine with sides of mac n cheese and some sweetcorn dish. Topped up with a lovely local lager. Just what the doctor ordered, and less than $20!

Tomorrow we have a free day to collect passes, finalize schedules and meet up with a bunch of other Kiwis to swap plans and tactics. Can’t wait!


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