Remember the Alamo

Trip Start Nov 29, 2007
Trip End Jan 30, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another early start after another "slept like a baby" night.  And more of those wonderful 80mph Texan roads.

Quick breakfast stop in Ozana, the "biggest small town" in Texas for cereal in the park and a game of gridiron.  The weather is just brilliant.  No jackets required.  It is getting up to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

Not a big drive today.  Heading to San Antonio.  And the Alamo.  More for me than anyone else.

Saw a Texas Pit BBQ during a rest stop and decided to grab an early lunch.  Clever locals noticed that we were "not from around these parts".  You can't trick a Texan.  The BBQ had lots of dead animals mounted on the walls and lots of dead animals on the BBQ.  Huge amounts of meat.  The sausages were about 12 inches long and looked shocking, but the side of brisket and baby back ribs were outstanding.  Nothing like a big plate of protein for lunch.  Oh, and the mound of beans it came with was a nice accompanyment.  Lucky there is not much driving today :)

Arrived after lunch continued the drive.  On the way into San Antonio we wandered into a real Christmas tree shop.  The owners were very keen to give us the run down of how it works.  Seems they "harvest" the trees in Oregon and then pack them in iced refrigerated trucks and truck them down.  They often arrive with snow still on them but they don't last much beyond the holidays when they hit Texas.  These things are up to 12-15 feet tall and come in a heap of varieties (including one that had an orange odour) and can cost a couple of hundred dollars.  They sell a few thousand in the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

Arrived San Antonio proper and went straight to the Alamo.   This is Mecca for Texans.  Or, as Cassandra put it (and I reckon she is right), its their Kokoda - a battle of self sacrifice against impossible odds.  Only, for the Texans, the odds were impossible.  They fought with about 180 against about 3000 Mexicans.  Interesting thing is, I thought it was an American/Mexican war.  Wrong.  It was a battle for independence by Texans.  The USA had nothing to do with it.  Their fight with the Mexicans came later.

Very interesting lecture about the six flags of Texas.  Just briefly: (1) Mexico needed to populate its northern province (Texas) and invited the unwashed masses to do that, offering land at 12 cents an acre (deferred for 10 years) in exchange for immigrants becoming Mexican citizens and becoming Roman Catholic; (2) Then Mexico decided there were too many immigrants and shut the borders (weird to think back then Americans were trying to get into Mexico, but the Mexicans would not let them); (3) The settlers who took up the offer did not like the new immigration policy and threatened to revolt; (4) Mexican army trys to stop them.

Some of it seemed like propoganda (remembering that he who wins the war - not the battle - gets to write the history), but it was a very interesting background to the story of the Alamo.  From my perspective, the actual battle was merely an incidental.  The real story is the political and economic backdrop.

No official junior ranger for Zac at the Alamo, but he sat through a 20 minute history lecture, so we made something up for him.

Dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, which has animatronic jungle animals all through it and periodic rain, thunder and lightning.   Very much a touristy place, but great for kids.  They screwed up the order, only giving us Zac's meal and a salad for Cassandra and I to share.  Ended up saving us $15.00 because the salad would have filled a small bucket - too much even for two hungry adults.  Only in Texas.

Capped the day off with a cruise along the San Antonio River Walk.  This is a wonderful attraction in downtown San Antonio.  Just some small waterways, but they have made it into a fantastic night time spot.  But the key to it are the guys driving the boats.  They really put on a very entertaining show.  They pretty much live or die on tips and our guy must live like a king.  He really made the city come to life.  But even the walk would have been romantic.

And we found Zac's Chistmas present - a mini Dallas Cowboys gridiron outfit, complete with helmet.  A miracle we got it into the car (and hidden) without Zac finding out.  The Cowboys have been his favourite team over here - he even says he wants to play gridiron for them when he gets big.  He is a classic kid.

Drive 313 miles.
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