Thursday, 18 December 2014

DAY 08 - Legois Botanics

Day 8 sees us in San Antonio for our second day which started after a well-earned sleep-in after a night's sleep interrupted by a phone call from Australia announcing our connection to the NBN (that's National Broadband Network for my US friends).

Breakfast at the Comfort Suites comprised the same-looking Scrambled Eggs with an added bonus of Sliced Ham and Blueberry guessed the shape of Texas. Joshua and Kyle elected further sleep in lieu of Breakfast, so we collected some Yoghurt and Muffins for them to snack on until lunch.

The first part of the day had us splitting up with Maureen, Kyle and Joshua investigating the Riverwalk in Downtown San Antonio (about five minutes from the Hotel). Schuyler and I elected to check out a funky Record Store called Hogwild Records and Tapes. It was a great shop with lots of LP treasures for Schuyler to peruse and lots of other stuff as well. In the end Schuyler purchased two LPs; First Aid Kit - America EP and Chvrches (yes, that's spelt correctly) - Under the Tide EP.

Hogwild Records and Tapes
After our Hogwild visit we headed out for what would have to be my least successful aircraft spotting  effort to date...ever. We went to check out Lackland US Air Force Base, which is home to a large fleet of C-5 Galaxies and other heavy jets. They also have numerous static aircraft displays including a Lockheed Constellation, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, SR-71 Blackbird, F-105 Thunderchief, and many others. Unfortunately they are all located on-Base, and as I said the other day, my Air Force ID counts for nothing. We then drove around the periphery of the base to look for an opportunity to catch some aircraft taking off or landing, but alas, there was nowhere for us to stop without looking very suspect. So Schuyler managed to get a photo of a C-5 Galaxy taking off, in low cloud on a very hazy day, from a moving car, through a dirty windscreen, in a limited timeframe, using my camera...whew! And here's the result:

Pretty awesome, huh? ...Not!

After this we collected the rest of our holiday party and headed out to a place called La Cantira Shopping Complex for some brief shopping and lunch. Lunch was at Chick-Fil-A...LOL, get it? and it was really quite nice for fast food.

After lunch and shopping we headed to the San Antonio Botanic Gardens which had in amongst the flora, some awesome Lego displays. The San Antonio Botanic Gardens are really quite pretty and I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself this way. There are many separate areas representing plants from various other regions and climates. Here's a bunch of shots:

I know Maureen is small, but this is ridiculous :)

There are three Plekkers in this photo, where and who is the third?
Can you spot the Plekker in the photo, and name them?
Reflecting on a great holiday so far

The three Amigos
After this we headed to Freddy's Steak Burgers for Dinner, which was also nice. We then headed back to our Hotel before stepping out again into the night air to experience the Downtown san Antonio night life. The River Walk area is really quite pretty and I really love the old buildings that seem to inhabit nearly every block in town. Schuyler and I tried our skill at night photography. I'm sure he did much better, but here's my effort:

The 750' tall Tower of the Americas

The Torch of Friendship, a fifty-tonne sculpture made in Mexico and a gift to San Antonio from the Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs. 

We even ventured into the seed, arty side of town
The Old Court House
See; I WAS there.

This is the actual Alamo, scene of the 1836 battle against the Mexicans.
Horse carriages parked right outside the walls of the Alamo. It's like a scene straight from the history books...minus the lights...and the no parking sign...and the building in the background. Apart from that, completely authentic.
Our San Antonio home
Well that's it for today. Tomorrow we head East to Houston, where we hope not to have a problem.

PS: Marion, say hi to John for me as you read this blog to him ;)

DAY 07 - A Long Drive In Grizzly Weather Leads To Grizzly Win In Triple Overtime

Today we headed down south-west from Tyler, Texas  to San Antonio, Texas a distance of 313 miles/504km or just over five hours of driving. The drive was relatively uneventful except we encountered a lot of rain along the way, especially as we drove through the cities of Waco and Austin. There were also a few traffic jams as we skirted on the highways that pass these cities.

We managed a single stop along the way for lunch and reached our destination at around 1530h. After   organising the room at our hotel, the Comfort Suites by the Riverwalk, we set about walking to AT&T Stadium to watch a Basketball match.

Leaving the Comfort Suites in Lindale (near Tyson, TX)

The weather as we drove through Austin
The Basketball match was between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies and what a match it was. The final score was 117 (Grizzlies) to 116 (Spurs), and that was only achieved after three overtimes were played. The Grizzlies lead from the start but it wasn't until the Spurs dug deep in the third quarter that the match became very interesting. Famous players at the match were; Zac Randolph, Tim Duncan, Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. Apparently if you know the NBA, you know these guys.

The walk to the stadium was interesting as an apparent 0.8 mile walk turned out to be around a 2.25 mile walk through some (let's say) 'interesting' neighbourhoods. It reminded us of our late night walk through Oakland, California during our last US holiday in 2012. After our walking experience we decided a cab back to the hotel would be the best option.

The end of our long walk to the AT&T Centre

The final score

Well that's all for today.