- Symbols of Texas: between prejudice and reality
Before giving them my modest opinion and sharing my newly acquired knowledge about this place, I chose to ask them what were the first things which had come to their mind when I had mentioned I was moving to Texas.
Here are their answers:
- cowboy hats
- George W. Bush
I find it kind of funny but I also think that it’s kind of true because all the above can almost be considered ‘symbols’ of Texas.
Of course, there is much more to Austin and Texas than just this and I talked at length to my friends about Austin, this ‘unusual’ city (for Texas standards) with a lot of green parks, progressive people and expats.
But let’s start from these ‘symbols’:
Texas cows are called Longhorns and, if you see one, you can guess why. The first time I saw one, I couldn’t believe it. This cow has very long horns pointing outwards and upwards.
It used to be the most commonly bred breed in America but now it is not the most common one to find outside of Texas because easier to manage and tamer breeds are now used for cattle.
It’s a medium-sized cow and many of them are used for country-style parades now both in Texas during cattle fairs and outside of the State due to their good and unique looks.
Horses, cowboys and cowboy hats:
Many people tend to imagine Texas full of people wearing cowboy hats and Texas cities full of neon signs from shops selling handmade Texan boots.
They also associate these cowboys to vintage cars, country music and country-style saloons.
This is the Texas I had always imagined too and it is true that in some parts of Austin, San Antonio and Dallas – other than in the countryside – you may still find this typical atmosphere.
It is usually in the historic centre of the main cities and in several small towns here and there that you can take a step back in time and some very tiny museums are dedicated to cowboys and how life used to be.
To enjoy a truly ‘country experience’ you can visit a Texas ranch where they still breed cattle and move on horseback. At a Texas ranch you can forget about technology and live like a cowboy for a day – or more.
They raise horses, breed cows and they offer tours or homestays to learn many different skills.
The armadillo is a very curious and original looking animal. I haven’t had the chance to see (a live) one yet, but I know they are all over Texas.
George W. Bush:
George H. Bush and George W. Bush have been respectively the 41st and the 43rd presidents of the United States of America. Other members of the Bush family have also participated in politics, and they are all from Texas.
Texans consider the Bush family to be a dynasty.
Apparently Texas is home to more than a dozen potentially dangerous species of snakes.
However, it seems very rare to die from a snake bite and this is probably due, in part, to the growing awareness regarding snakes, other than the development and improvement of first aid practices.
I will speak about this topic on a separate blog because there is much to say about this!