So, we finally get to San Antonio.

What a wonderful place. I've been before, of course, but never in quite these circumstances. Brian called it our honeymoon rehearsal. Along the lines of wedding rehearsals... I can only say if this was only a rehearsal, I can't wait for the real thing :-)

The last time I came to San Antonio was with Ted, towards the end of our relationship. I think I felt it might help to rekindle the romance. And it was fun, and San Antonio is a romantic place, or can be, at least, but there was no romance between Ted and me to rekindle. It was never kindled in the first place, and all the trip accomplished, though I didn't know it at the time, was to burn in Ted's mind how he couldn't take being away from the other woman, the one who he had been seeing the whole time we had been together.

That was a strange experience. Every time we made love... which in our case really wasn't the right term for it... every time we had sex, I'd feel empty, and depressed, and not know why, and neither of us was fulfilled, so we'd just do it again, more inventively. We wore ourselves out with sex, and it didn't get us anywhere. I think I knew when we left that we wouldn't be together much longer, but it wasn't until I figured out the cryptic messages on the answering machine that I knew why Ted had been so distracted. And then when I found them... that still makes me so angry that I have trouble thinking about it. Perhaps one day I'll write it, but I'll disguise it as fiction. It was nothing like Chapter 7 of The Old House, I'll say that. I was livid. And that part has nothing to do with San Antonio, but it should set the stage for the niggling doubts I had before our "honeymoon rehearsal".

So I've had mixed emotions about the city since then. I knew it had the potential to be lovely, but I'd also brought away some bad experiences. When I needed a vacation spot at the end of The Trade Show, I thought it was ideal, particularly as I had set the story in a mythical Texas city (I never mentioned that, but it was obviously the southwest, and was mythical because I invented the opera house and its gardens). But I hadn't any particular desire to return to San Antonio myself.

Two things brought be back. Brian, and Still Breathing. (Yeah, yeah, I know, you've heard that part before...)

Doing something with Brian has very often been like doing it for the first time. We find so much pleasure in doing things together that the experience becomes new. And I had been reminded that San Antonio was a romantic place when I saw the movie. I had seen it first without Brian, and it became especially meaningful to me when we saw it together. It's a different face of the city than I'd seen before, and made me think that perhaps Ted and I hadn't only been frustrated with each other, but also with the our limited view of the city.

So we arrived at midnight on Friday, after my disastrous return from Salt Lake. We were staying on the River Walk, and we were thoroughly worn out when we got to the room, but Brian opened the balcony window, and we stood there for a while, looking over the city, and he kissed me...

And soon we were back inside, giving each other the attention we deserved, and at about the time he unfastened my bra we figured we weren't so tired after all...

When I woke up the next morning, we were holding hands. I don't remember that ever happening before. It seemed weird, but lovely, that at some point in our sleep we decided to hold hands. Of course, both waking up naked, with a fresh cool breeze coming into the room from outside, we didn't hold hands for long. There were far more interesting things to do.

We probably picked the worst weekend for the crowds, since it was the 4th on Sunday. But still, we had our reservations well in advance, and we didn't have any problems, except for finding restaurants on the River Walk, but that wasn't too bad, and it's a nice place to have to wait.

Saturday evening we went to the Fiesta Noche del Rio at the Arneson River Theater. Beautiful dance exhibition. We tried to get there early enough to get a good seat (the seats are all grass steps), but when we arrived it was almost full. There were good seats available, they were on the front row, so we sat there.

We didn't know what that meant.

The dancers perform on both sides of the river. When they're on the far side, you're safe. When they're on the audience side, they're likely to grab partners from the front row...

What can I say? We both embarrassed ourselves, and we'd both do it over again. And Brian was especially captivated on the front row when the girls did the spinning dance that sends their skirts in a perfect circle around them...

They had a mariachi band. A very unusual mariachi band. An all-girl mariachi band. And they were very good.

When the show was over, everywhere was so busy that we didn't bother to stand in line for food or drink. We went back to the hotel, opened the balcony door, and made love to the sounds and smells of the River Walk, with the boats passing under our windows and the colored lights illuminating the ceiling.

More later.


Sunday we took a trolley to the Mission San José, where they have a midday mariachi mass, which is an interesting experience. Being the 4th, it was probably especially crowded, but it was worth the wait. I wasn't sure what to expect of mariachis in church, and probably I wouldn't have figured on what we did get, which was a mix of traditional Mexican songs and some music that was almost classical choral music, really lovely, not at all what I would expect of a mariachi band.

I think the all-girl mariachis from the previous evening were technically better, but these guys were good, and had an unusual repertoire.

And of course the service in that old, old sanctuary was lovely, too.

Sunday evening we fought with the crowds to find a place to eat on the River Walk. We were at a Mexican restaurant, I think it was Casa Rio, but there are several (obviously!). Our waitress was a young Mexican woman, with beautiful long black hair, creamy light-brown skin, and she started making eyes at Brian. I think my hand was on my lap, so she hadn't seen the ring, and I guess because we were pretty exhausted at that point Brian and I were both slouched back in our chairs, not touching or playing affectionate games, so she must not have been sure what our relationship was.

Since she was giving Brian the eye, I decided to play... and I mentioned something about "my brother here" when we ordered drinks.

Well, from that point, she flirted shamelessly with Brian, and he loved it. So did I, of course... and we chuckled about it while she was away from the table. Perhaps it was a little mean to her, but I'm sure she likes flirting with the guys, or she wouldn't have latched on to Brian. I hid my ring while they played, and I just know Brian could have taken her home if he'd wanted to... and I'd have thrown him in the river if he had tried :-)

I gave her a huge tip when we left. Back at the hotel I asked Brian what he thought she'd have wanted to do with him, and I unfastened his pants as I helped him fantasize...

I gave her a huge tip, as I said... but it wasn't enough.

Monday we toured the Alamo. For a site of so much history, the building itself is none too interesting, but just being there, knowing what it represents... I wouldn't miss the experience. Did you know that only one of the defenders of the Alamo was buried? The others were burned in a mass grave, but one of the Tejano defenders, Gregorio Esparza, had a brother, Francisco, who fought on the Mexican side. After the siege, Francisco recovered Gregorio's body for burial. I found that story very moving.

After the Alamo we drove to all the other missions, having only seen San José. And I persuaded Brian to drive around some of neighborhoods, trying to find the house which they had used in Still Breathing, but no luck.

Tuesday. Hmmm. Tuesday I think was the day we ate breakfast at Mi Tierra in the market and I went to the mall. Well, both of us went to the mall, but I was the one who wanted to go... Brian thinks a mall is a mall. And he has a point, the Rivercenter mall is okay as they go, but almost all the stores are the same as stores around here, just the layout was a little more interesting. (If you find yourself in San Antonio, Mi Tierra is a 24-hour restaurant, and the food's great!)

Tuesday night was the day we had dinner on the river. That part I do recall. Some restaurants have dinner charters, where they take one of the river tour boats and turn it into a small floating restaurant. Most only cater big parties. Boudro's, though, allows you to reserve just a couple of places, the food's great, and it's a lovely romantic idea... depending, I guess, who shares your boat. We had another couple, barely out of their teens, I think, and obviously in love, and a young family.

I didn't realize when I started writing up our vacation just how much of it I'd be able to catalog with websites. So far, it seems that most of the cool places also have cool sites. I'm amazed to find Mi Tierra and Boudro's. (I just tried typing, and lo and behold... :-)

Anyway, I'll end for today and carry on with Wednesday's tubing on the Guadalupe tomorrow. I'm sure I won't find a web site for that.