Posts Tagged 'San Antonio'

Double Dip

History repeats itself, and I am skipping Fort Worth. Reasons are twofold. Firstly, I would kinda like to spend another night in Austin because it sounds freakin’ awesome and going to a gig tonight really put me in the mood for more music. Secondly, and way more influentially, the public transport system is completely unable to support me in what I want to do. A mixture of rubbish Greyhound times and horrendously inadequate local buses mean I can’t be fussed with the problems I would have to deal with – not for one night in the crappy part of an insignificant town. So I’ll be headed to Abilene from Austin direct.

Today TK took me to three of the five nifty little Missions that surround San Antonio, including the famous Alamo wherein was fought the eponymous battle (which, according to TK’s fiancée, a lot of Texans think they won). It’s a pretty place, sun-drenched, all old white limestone and mortar with well-kept and tasteful gardens. But pictures speak louder than words.

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TK tells me that every Texan takes about two years of Texas history, which I found interesting. Another bit of trivia is that, because Texas was technically a country between successfully defining its borders and joining the Union (albeit making a speedy exit soon afterwards in the Civil War), it may fly its flag at equal height with the Stars and Stripes. Which means the bloody thing is everywhere. JonXP told me as we crossed the Pontchartrain that Texas ‘talks a big talk, but isn’t all that different’ – as opposed to Louisiana, which actually has its own system of laws still vestigially extant from its freewheeling, freebooting colony days.

So we shall see who’s right.

We also drove out to the smaller, lesser-known Missions, that didn’t have the privilege of a ripping good yarn to generate tourism. However, they were the more authentic for it, and had some really pretty interesting architectural stuff going on for such small buildings. Moorish and Spanish influence abounded – but again, why tell when I can show?

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There was also this jolly-looking character, sitting quite happily in the flowerbed with no explanation whatsoever. I’m assuming it was a nod to the indigenous populace and the help they lent to the Spanish missionaries, both as guides and converts. Either way, an uplifting bit of art.

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The reason for the title of this post is that my day was twofold. What better way to compliment the subtle reflection of the historical afternoon than hitting the riot of the night-soaked town?

We tripped to the very scenic and very beautiful (and very hip) area of town known as River Walk, which has more restaurants than really seems reasonable, and – as observed by my ever-gracious guides – no railings, which starts to raise some interesting potential logistics about punch-drunk revelers and readily available swimming. The best I can describe it is as though someone had heard of Venice but didn’t quite have the budget. There are paved walkways running their narrow ways up the side, punctuated every now and again by low, arched, heavy bridges, and occasionally a boatload of people decked with fairy lights comes drifting down the still waters. It’s very charming though, I must say. We ate at a Mexican place where I tried a Pepper Thingy stuffed with shredded beef and then fried, and a cheese filled tortilla Something-Or-Other. I’m not so good with the names. As usual, though, good stuff. Don’t worry mum, I’m walking it all off.

Then, however, we broke away from the scenic, if bustling area, and drove over a mile or two to a tiny little music venue called Limelight to see a couple of bands, the headline act being The Cartographers, a local supergroup (‘probably the biggest band in San Antonio’, I was told) comprised exclusively of, as much as I can figure, sickeningly talented people. They were celebrating their CD release and consequently were bursting with energy, the lead singer stomping and riffing all over the place. The bar was on the small side, tasted of ash, and was crammed with a disproportionate amount of geeky boys and girls. Great fun. For some reason I got my drink on the house, so I sat there bopping away to the support act, which was okay but generically schizophrenic, but when the headline came on they just blew everyone away. They really are very good, check them out.

We stayed the set and then made our way home, smelling of smoke and beer and sweat. In short – a great night. It’s really put me in the mood for more live music, and I’m now very much looking forward to my next stop, Austin: the purported bastion of music in the south.

Or so I’m told. You guys have got something to prove.

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Best laid plans…

I have made it, somewhat to my own surprise, to San Antonio.

It’s been an exhausting time of it. Since I decided to skip Houston, I had to leave Baton Rouge on a 12:30am bus, making Greyhound even more of an appealing prospect than usual. However, I hadn’t slept that well the previous night and soon after I had said goodbye to TheRoadVirus and friends I found myself in that dim twilight world between sleep and sleeplessness. I needed to sleep, but couldn’t, and if I did, I might miss my stop and end up in Dallas. And nobody wants to end up in Dallas.

Well, maybe Debbie.

But I soon learned I couldn’t rely on the driver. We had a lay-by stop scheduled about an hour in, and as we pulled up and the bus regurgitated its tired cargo, the driver informed us we had 35 minutes. Staying on the bus was about as appealing as something not very appealing, so I wandered in to the generic Food Mart. In fact, that was its name – ‘Food Mart’. There was a little café area with chairs and tables, and that translated to a bed well enough for me. I set my alarm for 30 minutes hence and put my head down in what seemed like the most luxurious four-poster imaginable.

Twenty-nine minutes later I saw my alarm was about to go off, and looked up. The place was eerily empty. Not auspicious. The man at the counter was looking at me rather worriedly.
‘You bus?’ he asked.
‘Yes?’
He was not impressed by this answer, and impressed upon me the impression that unless I pressed myself, I would soon find myself in rather pressing circumstances. I ran out the door to find the bus pulling out on to the freeway. Thankfully, the driver saw me and stopped. I stumbled aboard.

‘You said thirty-five minutes!’ I accused in a kind of incredulous gasp, trying to ignore the fact that I would have been in clear view of him when he left the shop.
‘How long were we?’
‘Thirty!’ I said. The driver, however, was implacable.
‘You wanna go back?’

The remainder of the trip was spent in similar conditions; trying not to fall asleep so much that I’d overshoot, yet desperate for some rest. I made it, however, and met up with TK at San Antonio station as planned. I didn’t really get a chance to see the city as we drove through it, but after we got home and had a revitalizing deli sandwich (the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in days), we started planning the evening – or rather, I sat back and munched away whilst TK and his lovely fiance discussed the options. It was going to be impossible not to grab an hour or two rest, though, so at three in the afternoon I said I’d turn in for a while, and that I’d be up at five.

And indeed I was up at five. I mean, a five. It was just that it was the kind of five that would draw a rather arch comment from Professor McGonagall, and probably a detention. Ten points from Flippyndor, etc. There was a very nice and understanding note on the door from my hosts, though.

Anyway, it’s 6:13am, and I should probably go do something productive. I must see something of San An today, if only so I have more to write about than my somnambulist adventures.


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