Sunday, June 15, 2008

San Antonio: Downtown

Wednesday morning we had breakfast at McDonald's, then headed downtown for the day. We found a good spot in a parking garage near the River Center Mall and hoofed it around downtown most of the day.

Our first stop was a boat tour of the San Antonio River - right in the middle of town. (See the slide show below for more pics from the day.) It was really beautiful, the ride was relaxing, and our tour guide was pretty humorous. Lindsay had been on this tour a few months earlier and she told us a few of the jokes the guide was likely to make. She was right. At one point on the tour, our guide asked if anyone had had a birthday recently - either the week before, the current week, or the next week. We all pointed to Daddy and the guide asked him his name. "Daddy!" he replied. The guide and all the other tourists on the boat got a kick out of that. Then the guide said, "No, what's your name really? We can't all sing "Happy Birthday, Daddy". That would be weird." So Daddy told him his name and we all sang happy birthday to him. He was quite embarrassed. Then the guide started asking about recent or upcoming anniversaries. Mama's & Daddy's had been the week before, so he congratulated them on their 40 years together.

After the boat ride, we walked through the mall headed for the Alamo. As we came off an escalator onto an upper floor, we had to pass by several kiosks. One guy on the end was watching everyone come off the escalator. He eyed us one by one, then he did a double-take and his eyes lit up when he saw me. He started asking me a question, but I couldn't hear him and shook my head no. Melissa turned around and told me that he wanted to straighten my hair. When I looked back, I saw he had a kiosk full of flat irons. I then caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. The wind blew through my hair a lot on the boat ride and it had really fluffed out. My hair looked Texas big. And of course it's really curly. I laughed at the thought of that guy spending two hours straightening my hair, because there's no way I'd let him do just one little lock of it. (Mama and Lindsay once took turns straightening my hair. It took at least two hours - and you can believe I left it like that for a day or two.) There's no way that guy would've been able to sell me a flat iron. Yes, sometimes I'd really like to have straight hair, but I also really like what I have. And anyway, I've got better things to do than spend a couple of hours trying to straighten out what God has chosen to curl.

We finally made it to the Alamo. It's weird, this old historical site right smack-dab in the middle of downtown. The buildings around the Alamo are really picturesque. And the landscaping around them is very beautiful. Relaxing. Our Alamo tour was short; the boys weren't interested in it. I tried to tell Caleb some about the battle there, but I realized I didn't know that much about it. I'm not up on my Texas history...

By now, it was after noon and the boys were hungry. We made our way back through town and along the river to Casa Rio, where we sat under a bridge along the river and had lunch. There were several ducks in the water and the boys were having fun feeding them chips. Shortly after we were seated, a tour boat cruised by. It wasn't our tour guide, but we started watching for him. Daddy had the idea to yell out, "Hey, it's Daddy!" whenever he saw him. Before too much longer, his boat came by. He saw Daddy first and yelled and waved. Daddy waved back and said, "It's Daddy!" The tour guide laughed and turned to explain the joke to his passengers. Before we finished eating, he came back by again and did the same thing.

While we were eating, we noticed some people at the table next to us who looked like they belonged to Warren Jeffs' polygamist cult from Eldorado, TX. The women and girls had the elaborate braids and rolls and sweeps of hair, and their dresses were long with long sleeves that buttoned along the wrist and big, square collars. Some of the other ladies were dressed in a more contemporary style, and one was even wearing something casual like jeans or capris. Maybe some were from the sect and the others were more mainstream LDS they had been placed with... The children were standing near the railing next to Daddy's chair. I guess they were too close to Caleb and Jacob because one of the ladies sternly told the girls to move away. Later Lindsay was taking pictures of Mama and Daddy across the table. The same lady who had scolded the little girls rudely asked Lindsay who she was taking pictures of. When she said she was taking pictures of Mama and Daddy, the lady looked at her as if to say, "Yeah, right." Lindsay offered to let her see the pictures, but she just shook her head. A few minutes later, she was standing at the railing by the little girls, ordering some people across the river to stop taking pictures. I think she even stuck her hands in front of the girls' faces to keep them from being photographed. They left the restaurant the same time we did, but they hung back to talk in small groups. Once we got on the other side of the river, Melissa took Lindsay's camera and deliberately photographed them.

We strolled along the river back to the mall and the parking garage, then drove a few blocks away to the San Antonio Children's Museum. We probably would have been better off leaving our car in the first parking garage because we ended up walking several blocks from our second parking garage to the museum. At first it didn't look like much. But as you went from one level to the next and wound your way along the paths, there were several fun things that all of us enjoyed. One highlight was the pin wall. We took turns pressing our hands and faces through and watching everyone's profiles appear. Another fun thing was playing the blue screen drums. You would stand in front of a blue screen while your image was captured on camera. Then a variety of drums would appear on the monitor. To play the drums, you'd have to reach and stretch and contort all sorts of ways. Daddy took a really great video of Melissa and Lindsay doing this. I have a copy of it, but I promised not to post it online. If you're ever in the vicinity of my computer, I'd love to show it to you, though! :o)

We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel, and the pool looked really inviting. When we went out, there were only 2 people there. After about 15 or 20 minutes, about 10 or so more people (mostly kids) came out. Thankfully they didn't do too much splashing and we were able to enjoy ourselves. Later we changed clothes and headed out for supper.

Melissa and Lindsay decided to stay at the hotel. Melissa had leftovers from lunch the day before (Mmmmm... Schlotzsky's), but Lindsay wanted us to bring something back for her. We sat in the hotel parking lot and decided where we wanted to eat. I called Lindsay on her cell phone to get her order while Daddy programmed Chick-Fil-A into his GPS, then off we went. Unfortunately there was construction and we missed the road. In order to go back, we would have to cross over the interstate, drive way back the other way, cross over again, and come back - hopefully not missing the road again. We decided to find a Burger King instead. I called Lindsay back on her cell phone while Daddy programmed Burger King into his GPS, then off we went. "Lori", as his GPS is affectionately known, had us going in circles. "Turn right." "Turn right." "Turn right." "Turn right." Again and again. I thought of the GPS jokes I've heard on a few sitcoms and couldn't help but start laughing. Finally we got out of the loop and found a Wendy's. I called Lindsay on her cell phone to get order, laughing because of our predicament. I assured her we were getting food from Wendy's because we had actually found one and were sitting in the parking lot.

The trip back to the hotel was a whole lot shorter than the trip out! We didn't realize how close we were. I got the boys in our room and ready for bed. I set a time limit and if they were all ready for bed before time ran out, I promised to play a game of Nines with them. They love that game! We all crashed shortly after.

Here are some pictures from our downtown adventures.

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