A couple of days ago I had a little extra time during the morning and decided to travel into the far north region of town to check out the Domain. This is a shopping district which has recently opened to with much fanfare, hoopla and just about any other kind of spin you can imagine.
I drove past the huge parking garages on surrounding it and found myself in what appears to be someones attempt to recreate a small downtown type facade. There was parking on each side of a small street which ran down the middle of the complex. I got the feeling that all the buildings lining the street were build on a slightly small scale in an attempt to give the place a cozy feel. (This is done at amusement parks to make the fake "towns" so cute.)
I got out of my car and started walking. It was late morning and I was hungry having just done a 90 minute massage. I thought that there would be some little bakery or sandwich shop where I could get a snack and eat it while I did my exploring. No such luck. The closet things that I found to that were a Starbucks, a Steeping Room and a California Pizza Kitchen. Are you starting to get the picture? There were two large stores, Macy's at one end and Neimen Marcus at the other. In between there were upscale chain stores of every variety. If there is a locally owned, Austin based business up there, I did not find it. I also discovered something that I have suspected for a long time. Just because something is expensive does not mean that it was made in the USA or that it was not made by little hands. I saw a cute little $295 shirt in Ralph Lauren that was made in Korea. I had to wonder how much the person(s) who made the shirt actually got paid for her work and how well she and her family live. ( I am using feminine gender pronouns because most sewing room workers are women and girls.)
I had a pleasant time walking around the pristine faux town on a weekday morning when there were not very many people there. I don't know what the place is like when it is crowded. I did feel as though I could have been in any city in this country. There was nothing to say "This is Austin", or even "This is Texas." Instead it screamed , "Welcome to Generica."
So go on up there and explore Neiman's with all the sales people dressed as though they are about to attend a funeral. Check out the ladies' room that is reminicent of the ones in old movie theaters except for the horrible music that is blaring so loudly you can hardly stay in there long enough to wash your hands. (That is probaly the idea.) Look at the $150 T shirts at Macy's and everything else in between. You might want to wear your ruby slippers just to be sure you can get back home.