April 12, 2013 § Leave a comment
The drive north on 77 was highly anticipated after a long semester. Before going home, we would stop at The River Walk in San Antonio. It was early afternoon by the time we would get there. Our usual parking was an extraordinary one. I say extraordinary because it is at the parking lot of an old hotel some several blocks of The Walk. The treasure beneath this old hotel is a cigar bar. Buried beneath the limestone walls, lead by an old stair well was the ancient layer. It might have been a dungeon in medieval times but today, it was our first stop and always our best stop. The dark corners housed men of great wealth as beautiful woman brought them wine and cigars. I felt my friend and I were both under dressed and under appreciated and rightly so. None the less, the mysterious darkness and cigar smells continuously beckoned us back. It was pricey so only a lager for the two of us, a moderately priced cigar for our journeys and we were off.
Upon reaching civilization, blinded by the afternoon rays, we made our way to The Walk. The dodging of vehicles and horse-drawn chariots required a bit of balance and good timing. Stone statues provided exhausted tourists, the elderly and the homeless a place of rest. It was a typical weekday afternoon. The ascent to The Walk by our usual path is surrounded by several waterfalls. The hotel adjacent houses another place for refreshments but that is not where we begin our journey but end it.
Our next stop is the Irish pub next to a small clearing of beautiful green grass known for having a live band and dark ales. The food can only be described as “good” as the ale may have the potential to cloud our judgment. We of course gorged ourselves regardless. Then, by some time shifting phenomenon, it was nightfall. After these few or so beers, The Walk had awoken from its afternoon slumber. The setting of the sun resulted in the loosening of the reigns in which kept her at bay. When we first arrived, only a few bystanders and mid-shift employees wondered the streets. The bars and restaurants once circumscribed by the “B Team” waiting staff and hostesses, now welcoming with Hollywood-like faces.
Crowds wondered the brightly illuminated banks accompanied by the sounds of chatter and mariachi musicians. Tour boats gracefully turned the meandering river as the man with the microphone carried on about the architectural history, and significance, and so forth. The surrounding pubs and restaurants bellowed out cheers from sports fan and beer fans and food fans. There are Scottish bars with beautiful woman in kilts waiting to take your order with a CREST white smile, a tequila bar to test your tolerance and pocket-book, and restaurants to give you the strength to carry on with the best of us. There is this one particular restaurant where they put a tall white pointy paper hat on your head as the theme of the restaurant is to treat you like shit. As ludicrous as its sounds it is one of the best restaurants, even for a 45 minute wait.
My friend and I wondered at this phenomenon. And so we marched with the rest of the tourists and locals to the eccentric beat where the lines are blurred of nationality and plurality to a place where people can be people. To tourists, the meandering sidewalk could easily cause one to lose their bearings. One wrong step and the inattentive soul could land themselves in the 3 foot deep, untreated waters of the San Antonio River. To a native, however, she easily assuaged the stresses of the day. One by one, we walked in tandem and admired, drank and admired, saw and became inspired, drank and loitered until, she came.
Our last stop stared us in the face. We had walked the entire path, not once but several times. As I had mentioned before, there is this hotel attached to the river. It is a convenient hotel as it makes it easy for its guest to detach from the world simply by taking the elevator to the “River Floor”. That particular elevator is encompassed by glass. The last stop is always bittersweet. It is at this bar and at this hotel where we sit, several beers deep, patiently waiting. We wait for that infinitesimal hope that the lonely housewife may be looking for some trouble. Unfortunately, she did not come to visit us. At least, not this particular visit. And then, as sure as we knew it, it was time to leave. We jumped in our metal stead and rode off into the waves of higher callings. Next time, we thought. After all, she’s just to pass the time.