Since we were already in Houston for the Golden Wedding Anniversary of my elder brother Edgar and his bride, Josephine, some of my family members and I decided to make day trips to several attractions the state offers.
I have always been intrigued by Austin, the capital of Texas, and why it takes a back seat to Dallas and Houston in popularity in spite of its eclectic live music scene. In fact, it is supposed to be the Live Music Capital of the World. However, I seldom hear my friends or acquaintances mention this city as part of their itinerary when they visit Texas. It’s always Dallas and/or Houston that they visit. So I was glad our group decided to head over to Austin because I learned a lot from the short trip.
First off, I finally got the answer to why Texas is called The Lone Star State. For a long while, it was an independent republic, standing alone amidst the other states that have already joined the Union. Added to that, the moniker also reminds everyone of Texas’ gallant fight for independence from Mexico. Remember the Alamo?
So there we were, right in the middle of the city, marked by the majestic dome of the State Capitol. Built in 1888, the Capitol and 22 acres of surrounding grounds are the physical and symbolic center of the government of Texas. The well-designed landscape around the historic building adds to its charm.
Curving stone-edged carriage drives, black and white diamond patterned pavement shaded by trees, and a decorative iron fence on a stone base make the building’s surrounding area conducive to leisurely strolls. However, it was almost zero temperature when we were there, so we preferred to explore the building’s interiors instead.
The State Capitol houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and of the Governor. It is a rectangular building, and rising from its center is a dome in Italian Renaissance design. I guess every visitor to the Capitol takes time to take selfies with the dome because the concentric circles viewed from below is such a beautiful sight. I, for one, spent a lot of time, getting the best angle for a perfect shot of the dome, as seen from the ground floor lobby, the result of which is somewhere in this column.
Going around the massive government structure, we wandered into the office of the Secretary of State, Rolando B. Pablos, one of the six officials forming the state’s Executive Department. His office is the repository for official and commercial records, and he publishes government rules and regulations, and is the keeper of the State seal. He also serves as the senior advisor and liaison to the Governor for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs.
The staff in the office knew we were tourists but, nevertheless, allowed us inside and even showed us around. We were led to the conference room where, I’m sure, important government transactions take place. What immediately caught my attention were the unique bookshelves, the design of which I’ve never seen anywhere else before. I had to capture them on camera because I really found them peculiar.
Visiting the State Capitol gave me a crash course on Texas as the Land of Opportunity. I learned that its vibrant economy and business-friendly climate make it the top state to do business in, per The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, CNN, CNBC, and Newsweek.
For 14 consecutive years, Texas has been the top exporting state in the US, and CNN Money named it the best place to launch a small business. And there are more Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in the state than in any other state. No wonder my elder brother and his family have found their home in Texas for the past many decades. Life is easy for them. And for those of you who plan to move across the Pacific, you might want to consider becoming a part of Texas’ success story.
For all its interesting attractions and the positive factors I have discovered during this recent Texas visit, I honestly think The Lone Star State deserves another star! So, just as what cowboys usually do, together with the star, I’ll give it a big “Yeehaw!”
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE
If you want to change the world, do it when you are still a bachelor. After marriage, you can’t even change a TV channel!
For feedback, I’m at [email protected]
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.