Neither of us had ever been there, and we were excited to see the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and of course, the sun. I know I run the risk of pissing off a lot of Texans by saying this, but I was really looking forward to gaining a better understanding of why the Alamo was such a big deal - I totally didn't get it, because the Mexicans won, but the Alamo is "a symbol of Texas liberty". More on that to come.
Let's start with the things that didn't confuse me.
The San Fernando Cathedral
Another optical illusion.
Beyond that, San Antonio kinda lost me. I spent most of my time there with a puzzled look on my face, asking, "Huh?". Actually, I spent most of my time sweating, chafing, and trying to breathe with my mouth closed so Tiff wouldn't realize how out of shape I was. I'm pretty sure I walked more last weekend than I have in the last five years combined.
These tourism posters were all over the place.
Hello, my name is "I don't really get your slogan."
Who wouldn't want a free sniffing of Bone swass after a day of sweaty thigh chafing?
These cryptic messages confused me. At first, I thought the Mexicans were just really bad at writing a haiku, but they still didn't make sense. Tiff was smart enough to figure it out: it's all about the river. I never would've gotten that on my own.
Alamo City Ghost Tours. We had a couple different tours to choose from, so we went with the group that had the most confusing website. http://www.alamocityghosttours.com/. We knew we were in for a real adventure when we read one of the testimonials: "I feel as if I have been transported into the 1980's movie Ghostbusters." Plus they promised that everyone gets ghost hunting equipment! I was fully expecting a proton pack, and fully planned on shouting, "Don't cross the streams!" at least a dozen times. However, the equipment we got was not quite Ghostbuster-caliber.
Tiff demonstrating how to use the "ghost hunting equipment": point, shoot, get temperature. Her laser temperature gauge confirms it: my butt is hot.
The scariest thing I saw on the ghost tour: a dead bird. Even scarier was when a competely oblivious lady stepped on the dead bird and I heard it crack. It creeped me out worse than anything else on the tour.
Which brings me back to the Alamo.I was excited to go inside and find out what all the hoopla was about. I thought there would be people dressed as Davy Crockett, whooping it up and firing pistoleros into the air; and I was hoping that one of them would be able to explain why this place was such an integral part of Texas freedom if the Mexicans won...
My hopes of seeing Davy Crockett were quickly dashed as soon as we went inside. It was made clear that there are no shenanigans or tom foolery at the Alamo. The Alamo is very serious, as you can see. Which gave me that much more reason to be pro-tom foolery and anti-seriousness. I still don't fully understand why it was such a critical point in the war, but here's what I did learn:The walls are only like eight feet tall. Which confused me even more! Why did it take 2,000 Mexican soldiers almost two weeks to get over these walls and take the Alamo? I'm neither Mexican nor a soldier, but I'm pretty sure I could clear this wall pretty quickly. I didn't say I could do it gracefully; there would be a fair amount of huffing and puffing involved, but still.
There are many rules at the Alamo. Like no stepping on the grass. And no touching the walls. And no photography inside.
And especially no photography inside whilst touching the walls.
Surprisingly, there were no rules about where you were allowed to sit during the tour guide's presentation. I think people thought I was part of the presentation and kept waiting for me to get up and do something, but I just sat there, politely listening and making the guide feel weird.
At the end of the weekend, I came home with a sunburn and a whole new appreciation for dry heat. Try as they may have, the Tejanos just couldn't instill any culture in me; but at least I blended in with the natives.