And how could I be on a trip without getting lost? Doug headed off to a conference, and I headed back to the River Walk, armed with my camera, many, many maps, and my compass. First, I passed these really cute statues, and then headed down the steps to the river. Near our hotel, the river was a little branch off of the main route, and fairly desolate, even in early afternoon.
Here was one of several guys, relaxing, and this one called out to me to take his picture, so I did, thinking he was just being friendly to the tourist with all the junk in her hands. And then some street sense started to kick in, especially as he started to say things that weren't quite intelligible, and I realized that he actually wasn't looking particularly friendly. And I quickly decided to move further down the river and wait for the river taxi some place else.
I walked and walked and walked, and it is definitely a LOT hotter in San Antonio than Grand Forks (like 86 degrees above compared to 30 degrees below that week). At least I started to pass other tourists looking a bit lost and anxious about how and where to catch the River Taxi. The tour boats continued to pass, but the real implications of 25 tour boats on the river to only 2 taxis started to sink in, and I kept on walking. The maps only helped somewhat; it turns out that they are not completely up-to-date about the routes of the River Taxi. I took wrong turns (still along a branch of the river, but off the path of the taxi) and continued to ask directions, only half of which were accurate. Some of the wrong paths involved walking up stairs, crossing a street, and then back down the stairs, and it was definitely disconcerting to see people sitting on the sidewalk--one woman all bruised and explaining something to the police officer that she was "only arrested once prior because the cocaine was mixed with rat poison". About then, I decided it was a much better idea to stow my camera in my purse.
***HINT ***If you're ever in San Antonio, and use the River Taxi, there's actually a phone number printed directly on the all-day pass. Find a table, order a drink, and call the taxi to find out when it's going to pass your spot and just wait for it, unless you really, really want to walk and walk and walk. . . .
After an hour more of walking, I finally got back to the River Center Mall area, exited and headed to the Alamo. The guide books suggested going to the IMAX and watching their video on the Alamo first. Unfortunately, it was already 4:01 pm. . . and they would not seat anyone for the 4:00 pm showing. Another HINT: It's less expensive to just rent the audio tour from the Discovery Channel kiosk in front of the Alamo, unless you really need to sit in the air conditioned IMAX for awhile.
These last two are photos of the Alamo. The history of the Alamo is quite moving and very worth spending much more time at than I allocated. But I had to find my way back to the hotel, and was not confident in the River Taxi at this point.
And rightly not, because once again, I never saw another taxi come by, and settled down to walk and walk and walk. . .
And the strangest thing was that by some fluke, or luck, I came upon a bend in the river that was clearly much, much closer to the hotel than I expected it to be, even though I'd walked past many shops that had looked not at all familiar. I seem to have taken the northern path back, rather than the southern much more-traveled path. And I was back in about 20 minutes instead of the earlier hour to 1 and 1/2 hour journey. Time for a mojito! That evening, a group of us took another journey on the river taxi under the magical night glow of the lights. Ha! I was the navigator! (And I didn't think anyone needed to know about what it took for me to earlier work out the kinks of this voyage!)
Next up, we board Amtrak and head for Fort Worth.