The New Airline Announcement

In my recent travels, I’ve noticed that pilots and flight attendants have modified their pre-flight announcements. We no longer hear about how it is mandatory to wear a face mask that covers your nose and chin and how “neck gaiters” don’t cut it. Instead, the new announcement goes something like this:

“Due to a recent FAA announcement, face coverings are no longer mandatory on domestic flights. Whether passengers decide to wear a mask is a matter of personal choice. We ask that you respect the choices made by other passengers.”

In short, it’s pretty clear that the airlines think the skies aren’t that friendly anymore, and that they need to lecture us on how to behave lest arguments and fisticuffs break out between masked and non-masked passengers.

The fact that the airlines see a need to make that kind of personal behavior statement is weird and sad, but you can’t blame them: there have been multiple incidents of violent behavior by airline passengers in recent months. For what it’s worth, though, I’m not seeing any inclination by fellow passengers to mix it up over masks. Instead, there seems to be a kind of COVID exhaustion at work. Everyone on both sides seems to want to move on, rather than engaging on mask issues.

Let’s hope that this traditional American “live and let live” ‘tude continues to prevail and even spreads to encompass non-COVID issues, too. That would be a refreshing change.

Bier At New Braunfels

We’re in Austin for a quick weekend visit. Yesterday we drove to New Braunfels, Texas, a town located off I-35 between Austin and San Antonio. New Braunfels was settled by German immigrants and remains loud and proud about its German heritage. And when you think German, you think . . . beer. So it made sense that we stopped at Krause’s, a legendary Biergarten and restaurant just off the main drag.

Krause’s was, in a word, fantastic. If you’ve ever been to the original Hofbrau Haus in Munich, Krause’s will look very familiar to you. You can sit inside or outside, at long picnic tables, as shown in the photos above and below. Live zydeco music was playing from a stage at one end of the outdoor seating area, and the place was hopping. Because it was about 100 degrees outside (no exaggeration!) we sat inside, but right next to the door so we could enjoy the great music. It was a festive, colorful atmosphere that made for a fun lunch setting.

The Krause’s menu features a lot of German fare, which is right up my alley. I ordered chicken schnitzel, which came with a helping of beer cheese and fries. (It also came with colossal pieces of broccoli that were promptly deposited on Kish’s plate so as not to ruin the photo below.) The schnitzel was lightly breaded and fried just right, so that the chicken was juicy and quite tasty. The beer cheese was also good, and I did the scarpetta routine with my fries to enjoy every bite.

Oh, and I should mention the beer, shouldn’t I? Krauses’s offers an overwhelming beer menu, as reflected in the photo of the taps at the top of this post. I opted for a weissbier and was glad to see that it was served in a large, cool stein that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Hofbrau Haus. It had lots of flavor and went down easy in the scorching heat. so I decided to have another. As I lingered over a second cold beer, enjoying the company and the bouncy live music, and scarpettaing up the remnants of the bier cheese, I decided I liked New Braunfels just fine.