San Antonio travels10:16 AM
San Antonio, Texas
Our flight to San Antonio stopped in Phoenix, Arizona first. At the time the temperature in Phoenix was 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The Arizonans must have tough skins to live through such weather.
We arrived in San Antonio very late at night and caught a taxi to the Hyatt Regency, which was situated across the street from the Alamo and directly on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
When we arrived, the hotel—if you’ll excuse the cliché—took my breath away. There were swift transparent glass elevators, balconies on every floor with windows looking out onto the lobby and shiny polished everything. I could hardly wait to inspect our room on the tenth floor. Thus it was with enthusiasm that I leapt into the elevator up.
Our room was the average hotel room: two beds, one TV, a coffee maker with tea and coffee, bottled water—that was, for a five dollar fee—a desk, etc. However, we had a wonderful view of the Alamo looking out of our tall floor-to-ceiling windows.
If you are wondering what the “business” of going to San Antonio was, it was the NECC, or National Educational Computing Conference, as I have reminded my mother—alas—many a time. I was doing events there for various companies.
The NECC was being held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, which was only a few blocks from our hotel (walking distance). Inside, the convention center looked bigger than outside. On our first day, there were very few people. There were some getting a drink or a snack at the concession and some talking here or there. It was a sparse crowd, compared to what would be coming next.
On the second day, it seemed as though every corner, nook, and cranny had been crammed full with people. People in proper business dress, people with bad hair days, people who frowned in their smiles, people who tried to sell you this after that, people who shouted loud above the crowd and waited by the exhibition hall to make sure that you’d been registered for the event. And the concession that had barely had business before? It was packed full in a tight line of people waiting to buy measly snacks at cutthroat prices. I admit with some shame that I was one of those people. However, unlike many of the others waiting in the line, I went healthy and bought a delicious banana-nut muffin.
But all that had only been the beginning of the convention, the prologue to the exhibition hall. The exhibition hall itself was filled with companies. The bigger companies had giant, showy booths with banners galore. Here, people did less of milling about and more of walking fast or stopping completely.
That’s enough of the NECC for now. Let’s move on to the “fun” stuff.
My mother and I decided to go see San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk. It was a slightly hot day. I stepped gingerly around. Jan Zanetis, from the videoconferencing company Tandberg, had told me that she had nearly fallen in. There were no rails to prevent such a thing from happening, I noticed. My mother kept me firmly to the side, away from the murky green water.
The Riverwalk was certainly touristy, but that had its benefits: it was filled with restaurant upon restaurant. We had plenty to choose from that night, but we were starving, so we didn’t have to walk too far. We decided to eat at a place called Landry’s Seafood or perhaps it was Landry’s Seafood House. It was fairly good food.
To sum the Alamo up in a nutshell, we were a bit disappointed. The building itself is smaller than you’d think and they didn’t have too many artifacts. While all those fighting in the Alamo died, does that automatically make you a hero? I’m sure that they were fairly brave, but who knows? Maybe there were some heroes on the Mexican side too. My mom and I decided to leave the Alamo and move on to the Institute of Texan Culture, or ITC.
In contrast to the Alamo, the ITC was very interesting. They had junior docents who were dressed up in period clothing and showed us how things were done “back then.” They made soap out of ashes and used that soap to clean clothes. I got to help with the cleaning part. There was an old-time schoolhouse with slates, chalk, and the famous birch (for punishment). Another thing I liked about the museum was that it was well-rounded; it had points of view from Czech settlers in Texas, from Germans, from Jews, from Danes, etc.
After going to the ITC, we had dinner with Philip Nelson from NewTek and his family at an Indian restaurant which even my picky mother said was quite good.
With an abrupt move back to our hotel, I must mention that it has quite a good recreational area. There was a rooftop pool, albeit a slightly small one, and quite a few exercise machines, all equipped with TV. I watched a History channel show about ancient torture devices.
Finally, it was with some regret that I got into bed for my last night in San Antonio. Tomorrow we would be departing for…
Boston, Massachusetts/Derry, New Hampshire
...to be continued