“When he clapped his hands together, homeboy got super-vision…just like Superman!”
~Storyteller at the Texas Folklife Festival
I’m posting a little early today because we’ve already done so much and I know my internet is going to run out at about seven. It won’t be nearly as long as yesterday’s.
We got up a little later than usual today and walked down to get some breakfast because apparently the Hilton hotels — in all their glory — don’t serve a continental breakfast. Go figure. We found a nice little delicatessen (I love that word) around the corner that served good, cheap breakfast.
From there we decided to go ahead and walk over to the Alamo, which is about a block from our hotel. It’s located right in the heart of the city. I always assumed that it was outside of the city and I imagined it sitting on some desert-like plot with sand all around and tumbleweeds. It might have been like that when it was first built, but now it’s right beside a two-story Dillard’s and across the street from Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. How things change.
There was a little tent in the courtyard of the Alamo that was selling headphones for an audio tour. They were pretty cheap, so we decided to get them. When Paw-paw gave the man his ID, the guy said, “Wilson? I graduated from ECU!” Immediately after that a woman walks up and says “Go Pirates!” The guy selling the headsets went to ECU and lived in Wilmington for a long time before moving back to San Antonio. The woman was from Wake Forest. Go figure we would find two people from North Carolina at the Alamo.
The lady mentioned something about Ayden, so I told her about the UNC band marching in the Collard Festival last year in Ayden. After commiserating about how hot and long that parade was, she told me some restaurant that I needed to go to in Ayden to get the best barbecue, but I already forgot the name (Bums or Burns or something like that).
We got our headphones set up and started walking around the courtyard. I’m glad we got the audio tour because it not only gave us a lot of extra information and history about the Alamo, but also gave us a good path to follow to make sure we saw everything. I didn’t realize that what we mostly think of as the Alamo (the big building that you always see in the pictures) is just the old church of the fort. The fort actually stretched out in front of it and took up a little more than the whole city block. The only other structure left from the old fort is the Long Barracks, which is where the Texan forces finally retreated before finally being killed by the Mexicans.
Even more surprising is that the church wasn’t even finished during the famous battle at the Alamo. There was no roof and barely any doors in the main part of the church. The stone arches up on the roof, which have become the symbolic part of the Alamo, were added after the battle. The tour took us through the chapel, which was very barren but still beautiful — bare stone walls with one main room, two side rooms for baptism, and one other side room.
Behind the Alamo was a beautiful garden area. We walked around there for a while and heard a presentation by one of the Alamo historians. He was a big man with a booming, powerful voice and told the story of the battle and of the eventual taking back of Texas from Mexico.
We finished our tour of the Alamo and headed back to the hotel to rest up for a bit. We saw a festival when we pulled in yesterday and the guy at the audio tour booth told us that it was the Texas Folklife Festival. I wanted to walk over there to see what was going on. It was in the HemisFair Park, which is less than a block from our hotel. It is this nice little park right in the middle of the city. At the entrance was an interesting and awesome (at least to me) diversity fair in the front part of the park. There were lots of rainbows involved. It was pretty awesome. But for the sake of Madison and Paw-paw, we moved on through and went to the back part of the park — toward the Institute of Texan Cultures — to the folklife festival.
The area was massive and had eight stages with different types of performers. We saw a community marching band playing “Oye Como Va,” a very energetic and eccentric storyteller (the source of the quote at the beginning of this post) talking about the princess of Sheba, and a group of ranchers who sang songs, yodeled and read poems. There were many different types of food all around and tents of people selling handmade and homemade goods. One lady had a bunch of homemade wine, one of the flavors being Jalepeno. I can only imagine what that would taste like.
We stayed there for a couple of hours (needless to say, Madison wasn’t exactly excited about this) and finally decided to walk back through the pride festival to our hotel.
We’re just hanging out here for a bit before we get some dinner and try to take a boat ride around the Riverwalk area.
Tomorrow we will be heading out early to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and will eventually end up in Roswell, N.M. tomorrow night to sleep.
From what I read on the website, the hotel next time should have free internet, so I’ll be able to post tomorrow. That is if the computer holds up until then (fingers crossed).
[Paw-paw wanted to say hey to Sally, assuming you’re reading this! Also, there should be some new pictures up from today. I can’t figure out how to divide them into days, so you have to scroll down.]