Sunday, April 13, 2008

San Antonio

The Alamo

Click for Larger Image of the AlamoThose who fight, and sometimes die, for our country are without a doubt brave men and women. They go into battle knowing that they might not return. But those who fought at the Alamo took bravery to another level. They knew they would be horribly outnumbered and they knew there were no reinforcements coming. They knew they would die, and yet they stayed to fight.

The battle of the Alamo was fought in 1836 during the Texas Revolution, when Texas was fighting for independence from Mexico. In an attempt to quell the rebellion, General Antonio López de Santa Anna led 6,000 troops into Texas, surrounded the 187 defenders of the Alamo, and began to wait them out. The siege lasted for 13 days until, on March 6, 1836, Santa Anna ordered a pre-dawn raid on the compound. Those in the Alamo fought valiantly -- and in the dark -- but were overwhelmed almost immediately, and all but a handful of the men were killed. The few that survived were executed as soon as Santa Anna reached the battle field. The only survivors were 14 women and children who had taken refuge in the Alamo. They were each given a gold coin and a blanket, and then released so they could pass along the story of the conquest to the other Texian rebels.

Click for Large Image of Photoshoot at the AlamoThe Alamo is considered to be a shrine to those who died there. When entering, visitors are asked to speak quietly and men are asked to remove their hats as a sign of respect. So what is going on outside? As I was leaving the Alamo, a group of photographers were gathering, diffusers and long lenses being unpacked as they fussed over two men dressed in Sergeant Pepper uniforms who were learning to ride Segways. ...What?

Click for Larger Image of Men and AlamoThe I have no idea why, but the Alamo was being used as a backdrop for this photo shoot. Once the two Lennon-McCartney wannabees had obtained a level of Segway proficiency -- to their credit, less than five minutes -- they sped off to the end of the Alamo barracks so they could be photographed rolling along the street, waving and smiling. Click, click, click. So much for decorum and respect!


Across the street from the Alamo is one of many entrances to the absolutely lovely San Antonio Riverwalk. Both banks of the San Antonio River have been transformed into a strolling path, with lush vegetation, waterfalls, and quaint foot bridges to allow crossing from one side to the other. The businesses along the banks have open access at the river level, and boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and curious little shops compete for space. Water taxis ply the river, ducks and geese swim by, flowers of all kinds bloom everywhere, and mariachi bands play for margarita-drinking patrons. Everywhere the is water flowing, gurgling, falling, or fountaining. I didn't succumb to the lure of the margarita -- but I did have a dish of butter pecan ice cream as I strolled!

Click for Larger Image of Riverwalk  Click for Larger Image of Riverwalk  Click for Larger Image of Riverwalk

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