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Riverwalk, Alamo and the SeaWorld at San Antonio, Texas

Omg these look just like snowflakes, snowflakes from all those novels I have read! I took a picture of the small white leaved plant. I Walked in and took a picture of the Check in and Check out time. The receptionist looked at me quizzically. Just in case somebody needs this info I thought silently. As usual I was up early and rearing to go but my friends after Pizza dinner at 11: 30 last night were trying to wake up cursing me under their breath for sure :) Slowly they trooped out and we packed some food and got into the cab. It was dark outside as we whizzed to the Greyhound bus station. Little more than an hour later we were walking towards The Riverwalk at San Antonio.  Wow how ornate is that building? I walked towards it. The doors and windows had beautiful carvings. What does this building house? I walked up to the board "Southwestern Bell Telephone Company" it said. The carvings adorned such a utilitarian service!   I kept turning back to see it.  I now see I was smitten and I have so many pictures of the building :) We crossed the Vietnam and Veteran memorial and the Memorial for the Confederate soldier.  While the Vietnam memorial of a soldier calling out for help for his fallen comrade was very evocative the Confederate soldier stood high alone. 

                                                 Southwestern Bell Telephone Company

                                                      Vietnam and Veteran memorial
 Confederate dead

"The Riverwalk is awesome at night" a friend said as we neared the entrance.  Hmm. We got down a few steps to reach the winding walk.  The river meandered through a canal flanked by buildings on both sides. Beautiful bridges connected the two sides at regular intervals. Hotels and Cafes lined both sides. Visitors sat under canopies sipping Coffee right at the edge of the canal. The water was so clean. We stood for a moment taking it all in. A few Ducks stood uncertainly at the edge unsure if they wanted to take the plunge. Colorful pretty pots caught my eye. They lined the steps leading to the entrance of a hotel.  A little ahead a group of Ducks had taken the plunge and were cruising on the river. Wasn't that a Hibiscus? I stopped to see it. It reminded me of my grandparent's home where these flowers grew long ago.  Mother Mary stood hugging her Son close by and soon we were at the River center.  I was famished. I had almost no food the previous day and literally devoured the Pancakes. Yummy!  "Shall we do the Riverwalk tour?" I asked.  Silence prevailed. Sea world was calling. How about "The Alamo"? Deafening silence. "Ok, go ahead" a friend and I chorused. "We will join you at Sea world".   So, the team split, and we joined the Riverwalk tour. 

                                                            Entrance to the Riverwalk

                                                                  Coffee on the Riverwalk
                                                               Shall we jump in?
                                                             Mother Mary with her Son

The guide cum driver did a complete U-turn and we were off. Many bridges lined our way.  We ducked as we floated under the first one.  The direction of the cruise was spot on. The first thing we saw was the dome of a building with the US and Texas flag in the distance. The spire of a church with a cross high above was next. In his booming voice the guide kept us engrossed as we crossed museums, hotels and heritage buildings at the edge of the walk. Women were resting on the steps of the  La Villita arts village. The beautiful wooden balconies painted Coffee brown looked beautiful. So were the bells nestling in the arches. Wonder what that building is? "Look at the Chamber of Commerce" the guide boomed in its direction. With flags fluttering in the wind I had mistaken it for a Military building. 

                                                                 The tour begins

                                                         Chamber of Commerce

                                                                 La Villita Arts Village

“Giddap” the horseman was saying but to where? I stared. The cattle were supposed to climb up? Finally, the Texan cowboy in action! I stared at it. Was that the Hyatt? Its entrance opened into the Riverwalk! Beautiful. "That is the Aztec theatre" the guide pointed. With the Indian Head decorating the entrance it was unmistakable. He slowed down the boat as we neared the next building and said, "if you are lucky you will get a single plane view of that building". I watched through my camera and click I had got the shot. La la la. The building looked like a drawing on a cardboard and stood tall.  When I zoom the picture, I see gargoyles under the ledges. Wonder what story that mural is showcasing?  I looked hard.  That is the Lila Cockrell  Theater the guide explained. It had been a beautiful ride. A guide always makes such a difference! We had walked the whole length without seeing any of these. Horrified! History,hospitality and culture sat cheek to cheek and created a rich tapestry. Not only was the Riverwalk beautiful it was also culturally rich. With lights everywhere, it would definitely be very beautiful at night. Hopefully that will happen another day!

                                                                  Giddap to where?

                                                                      Aztec Theatre

                                                                        Single Plane

                                                                   Lisa Cockrell Theatre

The Alamowas just a short distance away.  The entrance was not very impressive. We were not sure if we could complete it but we decided to do the Audio tour. I stuck the earpiece and controller in hand we walked towards it. The Alamo is a Spanish mission turned Military garrison. On February 23rd 1836 the Mexican Army under Santa Anna laid siege to it. On March 6th, 1836 they defeated the Texan army defending the garrison.  The fall of the Alamo was a turning point and united the Texans like never before.  Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution says Wikipedia. 

                                                                              The Alamo
                                                                                In 1836

Huge chandeliers lit the corridor within. With the Battle of the Alamo narration in our ears we peeped into the rooms where the massacre took place.  Women and children had been killed too. A huge tree in the courtyard and a well were mute witnesses to the bloodbath that happened.  If they could talk they would cry tears of blood! As we walked through the well curated Museum in the barracks I got goose bumps. This was the place where the brave men of Texas had played their part. The names were suddenly familiar. The guide at The Capitol had mentioned them.  Bravery and valor in any context are the same. They inspire you. It reminded me of the battles by Kings and Queens in our freedom struggle.  A mill stone sat by itself. I walked towards it. I smiled as I read the legend.  It was driven by water just like Panchakkiin Aurangabad! What coincidence!  "Never forget The Alamo” resonates in Texas even today. I would hear it from our shuttle driver back in Dallas. I would see it on Cabs. And then I would remember this shrine to Texan revolution. BTW we couldn't finish the Audio tour :)

                                                             Mute witnesses



Shamu at SeaWorld was calling and we rushed. The show had already begun as we entered. The killer Whales were in love with their trainers. They were so much in sync. Mouths agape we watched as the Whales jumped high into the air and dived into the water. At a call they climbed out of the water onto the ledge and preened shaking their tails in glee.  Like synchronized swimmers they dived under water and shook just their tails in the air. The crowd roared in appreciation.  The trainers rode them like a bike in an arena! It was amazing.  The whales came close to the audience, jumped into the air and dived back.  Whoosh water fell on the audience. The frontbenchers got up in a hurry and climbed higher. Oh that is why those seats had warnings on them. I nodded enlightened. The trainers took a break to introduce a bird but Shamu was the star. Finally, Shamu and his trainers bid goodbye. The Mahouts adopted baby Elephants and trained them. Perhaps the same thing happened with the Whales?  What hard work and emotional investment had gone into it! Were  the animals happy  to perform?. I had cringed at having to pay 78$ as the entrance fee but I now lingered wishing to see this show once more. But it was not to be. We had to catch the bus back to Dallas. Slowly we walked out. Still thinking about Shamu I looked at the Pelicans picking food standing on one leg in their arena.  The Steel Eel stood high up in the air and covered the entire Park! A few friends decided to try it. I sat down to wait. A Spanish song wafted in the air. Close by a lady was singing and dancing gracefully in an open food court.  The Eel shook slightly as the cart hurtled over it and a minute later my friends returned, shaken. That was quick.   


                                                                    Shamu Show

                                                            Shamu preening on the ledge

Penguin show this way a board pointed. We walked towards it. Omg a Mermaid with moss green hair! A child sat in her lap. She was uncomfortable. I would be too with a green haired Mermaid :) It reminded me of Santa claus.  It was dark inside the Penguin area. Suddenly I noticed we were moving. We were on a moving walkway (conveyor belt:)) facing a giant glassed area. A disembodied voice was talking about the small Penguins. I peered into the dimly lit area. A few minutes later we saw a girl surrounded by Penguins behind the glass.With the light on her face it was eerie. A Penguin behind her seemed to be mimicking her.  Oh, so it was her voice. A dark shape walked in the area between us and the glass. He was asking the questions. Novel idea!  The conveyor belt :) deposited us at the door and we walked out. At the Sea Lion pond children were petting them while the trainers and parents hovered around.  We watched them for a while. The SeaWorld was a theme park with lots of rides, interactive touch pools and live shows of animals.  It was a family outing place esp for kids and youngsters. But for me it was all about Shamu :) Finally it was time to say Goodbye to SeaWorld. 

                                                              Green Haired Mermaid

                                                                           Steel Eel

                                                    Look at the Penguin behind the girl

San Antonio is a beautiful place and walking tours around the city would be lovely I thought as we drove to the Bus station. It was Goodbye to San Antonio itself as the bus rolled out of the station. And this time we had got Window seats.  By the time we reached Austin we were shivering in the cold draft of the Ac. Smart people had rugs to cover themselves, but I didn’t even have a Jacket! My legs would freeze. It was raining outside, and a few friends picked up some food at Austin. Luckily the driver was kind enough to turn off the Ac and my legs came alive. Dallas Downtown was lit up when we arrived at Ten thirty in the night, but Austin had stolen my heart the previous night! It had been a great weekend and like all good things had come to an end. This was my last weekend in Dallas. Next week I would be with my sister in Augusta, Georgia :)

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This post first appeared on A Wet And Rainy Picnic, please read the originial post: here

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Riverwalk, Alamo and the SeaWorld at San Antonio, Texas


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