Riverwalk, the Alamo and a Birthday
Apr 24, 2007
|For those who have followed along and know about the motorcycle accident, there is a lovely memorial site at:
Click on the photo album for more pictures of this lovely woman.
Our Monday started with broken overcast skies and light rain. We decided to take a chance on the weather anyway and headed downtown to the Riverwalk. Using our travel luck, we randomly chose an exit off the freeway and 2 turns later we were parked a half a block from the entrance to the Riverwalk. It is actually a loop of canals that were built in the 1930's for flood control of the San Antonio River. The beauty of it was that they had an architect work with the engineers to create a masterpiece urban oasis that simply brings the city to life.
One of the places we had been told to visit was a bar called Dick's Last Resort because of its character and fun reputation. It also happened to be the first place for lunch we came across. It didn't disappoint; we had good food and drink and were entertained by the service staff and fellow patrons. Dick's shtick is insulting, sarcastic service staff (the "Dick" isn't a name, it's an attribute, as in you're such a ...). A girl who came out with the food said to Brenda, "I love your hair. How long did it take you to style it this morning?" Brenda told her it took about 30 minutes so the girl took both hands and mussed it up something fierce and then threw in a muss job on Penny as well. A woman at an adjacent table got a large paper condom placed on her head that said, "I'm easier than a community college".
While we were sitting in Dick's, several guided tour boats came by on the canal, which seemed like a good idea so we sought out the launch point and bought tickets. We've always found it really helps to pay for a professional tour when you first enter a major center, be it Paris, London or San Antonio. The river tour is fantastic and really worth it. I think the guides must have been trained at Disneyland's Jungle Cruise for their corny jokes and repartee with their passengers.
We returned to the surface later for a short walk to the Alamo. The Alamo is literally a shrine for Americans but especially to Texans and when you are in Texas, you are a Texan; it's just a feeling you get. When you enter the Alamo, men must remove hats and you are asked to keep noise to a minimum. It was larger than we had thought and the actual battleground included a lot of surrounding area. Our river guide had told us that development of nearby buildings is restricted by height so that no shadows are cast on the Alamo. The historical displays relate the timeline of the battle and there are plaques listing the name of every identified defender. It is a must-see destination for anyone visiting San Antonio.
Returning to the Riverwalk, we found preparations for that evening's Texas Cavaliers River Parade in full swing. Folding chairs were set out all along the pathways and crowds were staring to build. Chairs were strictly for prepaid ticket holders and they were really crammed in. We decided to bail on the parades and crowds and headed home for dinner, copious wine and phone calls home.
Happy Birthday Brenda!
Being Brenda's day, we bent ourselves to her will and returned to the Riverwalk. The weather forecast was threatening rain in the evening so umbrellas were the order of the day. We did some light shopping at the huge River Center Mall and headed outside along the Riverwalk to find the largely Hispanic Market Square (Plaza Mercado). It was a bit of a walk but worth the cultural experience. The Market is alive with colour and there were 3 different bands playing along the way featuring mariachi, blues and rock and roll. There was already a lot of beer flowing and it was obvious that by nightfall, there would be a rowdy party underway. Once again, being old and subdued, we sought out quieter activities.
We returned to the Mall for the 4:00 pm showing of "Hurricane on the Bayou" at the IMAX Theatre. The movie is a documentary about saving the wetlands that had started filming 3 months before Katrina. It shifts in the middle to brief clips of the storm and then shows the aftermath in New Orleans as well as in the swamps, marshes and bayous. It was a good preview of our visit to New Orleans with Katie in May.
After a quick side-shopping trip to get Penny a comfortable (and stylish) pair of walking sandals, we returned outside to a misty drizzle and looked for an appropriate venue for Happy Hour. We found Durty Nelly's Irish Pub, featuring a pretty funny and talented piano player/singer. We would have liked to hang out there a little bit longer but dinner was calling (Irish Pub fare just doesn't cut it for birthday dinners).
We made our way to Landry's Seafood House where we had a great dinner featuring good food and excellent service from our waiter, Johnny. It was a fitting celebration for the birthday girl. We picked up a couple of bottles of wine (surprise) on the way home where Brenda had e-mails and e-cards galore recognizing her big day. While we made some calls, the skies opened up big time with thunder, lightning and heavy rain. The TV news told us that there were tornadoes nearby and the airport was shut down. Luckily, no damage to our area or us but we did hear that 7 people were killed in a tornado near the Mexican border not far away.