We're just wrapping up an enjoyable weekend in Texas visiting friends and family. After arriving at Cousin Kate's, who lives in the Heights part of Houston which seems to be home to the younger part of Houston, we ate at a number of excellent restaurants. We were able to try some of her favorite Tex-Mex places as well as a neat little bar that served a wide assortment of interesting variations on the hamburger. Tom really was particularly fond of eating tacos for breakfast. We also visited a few shopping areas that had many interesting boutiques. One area was full of resale/thrift stores and antique stores which kept our attention for most of the afternoon.
On Sunday morning we headed west, along with Kate, to San Antonio to visit Tom and Kate's grandmothers cousin, Don, and his wife Ana. Don and Ana have been living in San Antonio for over 40 years and they were very gracious hosts. After a quick, delicious lunch we were off to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk. While we were expecting the Alamo to be a touristy area, we were still surprised the hordes of people present from across the globe and the many accompanying buildings hawking standard tourist fare. Nonetheless, the Alamo visit was very inspiring many of the walls still riddled with bulletholes from the Battle long since past. The Alamo is only a stones throw away from the Riverwalk, which is filled with the hustle and bustle of visitors to San Antonio.
The Riverwalk follows the San Antonio river and is lined with restaurants, shops, and little craft stands. Along the riverbank are huge Cypress trees which provide shade and beauty for the many walkers. After leaving the Riverwalk, we stopped in at Don and Ana's for a few Margaritas (Ana makes the best Margaritas) while Don had Tom try a few dried grasshoppers (Kate and Christine, understandably, refused). Afterwards we ate at the only Tex-Mex restaurant that Don said was worth eating at. He was not mistaken, we dined on exquisite food while a talented Mariachi band performed.
The next morning, after a quick breakfast, Don and Ana took us to see all the missions in the nearby area. It was a rather warm day (in the 90's) but the missions were all very beautiful. Amazingly, the missions are still used as churches for the local community. It was quite a boon to have Don and Ana with us as they were excellent guides and knew more than some of the park rangers. The missions were all very picturesque and Christine and Kate quickly grew tired of Tom's incessant photography.
After visiting all the missions and aqueducts, we returned to Don and Anas for snacks and then headed back, in Memorial day traffic, to Houston. Along the way, at Kate's suggestion, we stopped in at a $4.99 pizza buffet. To our amazement this was the first time Kate had ever been to a pizza buffet. How she made it through college without ever eating at a pizza buffet, we may never know.
On a slightly more gross, or lucky (?!?!) according to Kate, sidenote we had 2 run ins with bird poop. The first incident occured while driving around Houston. With our windows open and driving at about 20 mph at the time a large bird dropping splattered on the side mirror and pretty much exploded into the car. All three of us were hit with some of the most rancid smelling poop we've ever encountered. Poor Kate, being in the drivers seat, took the brunt of the splatter. We immediately drove home to clean ourselves up.
The second incident occured at Don and Ana's who have a beautiful backyard full of animals and plants. While walking under the centerpiece tree, Kate was once again hit with falling foul fowl feces. Kate just had to laugh at her misfortune (or good luck accoding to her). Don mentioned, that during his 44 years of living at that house, such a thing has never happened to him.
Today, Tuesday the 26th, we are headed to Austin to pick Mark up from the airport and visit him for a short stint.
Tom and Christine
PS: Rob, if you're reading this, that homophone and alliteration combo was for you.
Total mileage: ~2400 miles
License Plates: ~31 (We've seen Alaska on 2 seperate occasions now, we're desperately hoping we'll see a Hawaii eventually)
Temperature: Hot and Humid