I think my preconceptions about Texas were fueled by childhood Westerns watched on TV. Heading out on the 10 from El Paso did nothing to shatter my illusions. There was lots of empty space and endless horizons. Lots of sand and dry ground, scrubby shrubs, cacti, and hills that promised canyons in shadowed depths. There were even a few cows on a ranch. But El Paso isn't San Antonio, and San Antonio is like a touch of Paris (and London and Blackpool and Italy and Spain), and already I miss it.
Friends had mentioned the "River Walk" before we left, and I tried not to look too foolishly surprised that there might be a river there. But their descriptions really couldn't do it justice. (Likewise neither can mine.) The river, sunken down beneath bridges and streets, reminded me of Cambridge and punting on the Cam: or of Paris, strolling by the Seine; or even of pictures of Venice though I've never been there. Shadows dapple the banks, bright colors splash like paint reflected in the water, music plays, voices laugh, the scents of different foods tempt the palate, while awnings and tables and diners dot the path. Rippling waterfalls play and flowers bloom.
London was when we climbed the steps to see the Alamo. The square in front was bright in the midday sun. Traffic circled lazily. And Tussauds and Ripley advertised their delights.
And Blackpool? That was when I saw the flickering lights of games in shadowed stores and the bright souvenirs.
Our son will be living there for four years now. I'm eagerly awaiting our next visit.
Meanwhile, if you've not seen yesterday's post about Mary DeMuth's Defiance Texas trilogy, please scroll down the page.