Sunday, August 18, 2013

San Antonio 2013 - Remember the Alamo Over Dinner on the Riverwalk

When visiting San Antonio one's first instinct is to visit the Alamo. We followed our instincts and made our way to the world famous historical site. It is a fairly small structure, once part of a larger fortified compound. During the battle which bears it's name the settlers and townspeople took refuge there as it was the most secure building in the area. The iconic Americans James Bowie and Davey Crockett met their ends during the battle, as did all the defenders. Many think of it as a church. Although originally constructed for religious purposes it was later utilized as a fortress.

Today it is treated as a shrine to those who fought and died there. Photographs of the inside and the use of cell phones are not permitted. Men are instructed to remove their hats before entering. The ones who died during the siege and battle are revered as heroes, so much so that their remains are interred at the entrance to the city's 18th century cathedral.

I found this reverence to be a somewhat offensive and unsettling. One of the main causes for the Texas revolution were disagreements over slavery. The Texans wanted to break away from Mexico due to the Mexican government's resistance to the institution where one man owns and forces labor from another. These so called heroes were fighting for the right to have slavery as an integral part of their society. Eventually they were able to secede from Mexico and form their own republic, slavery included.

After strolling thorough the gardens behind the Alamo we took the cities Riverwalk. Begun in the 1930's it's present level of fame came during San Antonio's centennial celebration in the 1960's. Lush landscaping and waterfeatures mix with the shops and restaurants found there. Walkways wind along the edge of the shallow river, bridges cross over it and water taxis carrying tourists travel down it. It being Sunday night the sidewalk was packed with people.

We found it ironic that, in a state that went to war to secede from Mexico, Mariachi bands are featured in several of the restaurants. I have always found Mariachi bands slightly comical. In my experience they tend to be comprised of portly men shoved into skintight clothes, reminiscent of a late era Elvis.

We had dinner and engaged in people watching. There were a plethora of options to view. An extremely handsome and hunky dad with trendy long sideburns strode by our table several times. There was the massive, deeply tanned, shaved head bodybuilder in a tight gray tee shirt and another prematurely gray haired biker looking dad, his tank top revealing his muscled, tattooed arms. I suppose there were some women there as well......

We stopped on our way back to the car to once again view the Alamo, beautifully lit at night, and enjoyed the LED illuminated carriages as they moved through the historic streets.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting emotional response to the 'Alamo as shine'. I was reading your comments about the reverence as a positive thing, in part because I was recently in the 'Boothill' Cemetery in Tombstone, AZ and was a little offended by the playground & gift shop ambience. Your point about the "heroic" nature of their fight for slavery is a good one.
    I have only recently begun to learn about the impact of the US Civil War and the Mexican American War on the Southwest; were it not for the Civil War, for example, Arizona and New Mexico would likely have been one state.