Sweet San Antonio

by Rachel Gertz

San Antonio

Day 80

What a blissful vacation! Two days in a warm bed with decent shower did a lot for our morale. And San Antonio is a beautiful colonial city. Trav and I had an ‘alone day’ on Saturday so we could breathe some independent air. Ironically, we both ended up at the Alamo right around 2:30pm. You know when couples start finishing each other’s sentences and eventually start looking like each other? Annoying, right? Well, we’ve got that first part down, but if you think I’m going to start growing chest hair and shaving my moustache, you have another thought coming. We just show up at the same places like Sherlock and Watson. That’s all. The Alamo was a place filled with tons of history; the expected stifling patriotism of American history as it were, but a beautiful wreck all the same.

Anyway, I fell in love with the winding river walk, the decomposing colonial houses, and the chile con queso. Travis snapped shots of buildings with closed signs hanging over fragmented window teeth and ducks basking in the mud of the river that had been drained for winter clean up. I would go back just to see it full. You can take river boat taxis up and down the streets and stop at boutique shops and fancy restaurants. The sad part is, San Antonio was toppled by the recession. There were yards of plywood suffocating the doors of abandoned businesses, whitewashed stains where old bookstore signs used to be, and empty broken people out of work, begging for change. Even still, the atmosphere still felt overtly optimistic. You gotta hand it to Texas for that.

I had an interesting chat with a oddball named Patrick. He was feeding the pigeons on the plaza bench, a social misfit filled with some crazy ideas. While I was basking in the sun, he mistook my smile for a grimace and plopped down next to me, asking if I was sad. His teeth were broken and hanging loose from his rotting gums. He told me so many colourful stories; he was a preacher, not of the bible, but of culture. He knew the Alamo, Texas, and the whole of the earth’s metal core and planetary alignment inside and out through self guided research. He was illiterate (or showed signs of it), but his imagination kept him so alive and animated, it was hard not to listen. I am awe inspired by his passion for people and for his devotion to history. He made me smile, which made him smile. So we smiled together. Patrick is a part of San Antonio’s charm.

What a wonderful, sad, and yet stunningly optimistic little place.

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