Thursday, February 18, 2010

Austin, a Pictorial (the...San Antonio edition)

This here’s the Alamo. You may recognize it from such films as The Alamo. It was firmly established by the Spanish in 1724 in order to convert savages into boy-molesting holy men and also to assert control over the land in case any stinky Frenchmen wandered over from Louisiana. Fast forward 100 years and General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna wipes his ass with the 1824 (Mexican) Constitution and replaces it with a centralist dictatorship. Texians, still a part of the Mexican government, say, “No way, Santa. We’ll just secede until there’s not such an asshole in power.” A couple of battles later, about 200 white guys are stuck in the now fortified Alamo with thousands of Mexican soldiers bottlenecking through every opening. The rebels are immortalized as martyrs of circumstance, and Billy Bob Thornton wins the theatrical role of former Tennessee congressman David Crockett in the latest historical exploitation. Note the Crockett Hotel sign. Classy.

Here’s the bullshit line in the sand that William B. Travis supposedly made with his sword to separate the men who want to be slaughtered by a vastly superior army from the cowards who want to go on living.

Whenever I visit places of historical significance, I enjoy pretending that I am a citizen of that era and that what my senses perceive are the same experiences a person would have in known in their time (In this case, I was a Texian landowner 175 years ago, rebelling against an oppressive government. (Just to be clear)). So when I stood on a bench and peered over the western battlement wall, I was dazzled with the thought that I might be staring at an IMAX theater where Davy Crockett watched 3D nature shows.

Here’s an overall model of the fortress. I’ve seen other dioramas showing its walls stopping short of the San Antonio River. I don’t know which to believe, and since I only went to San Antonio to pay a $190 speeding ticket from just before New Year’s, researching historical accuracy was at the bottom of my grumbling list. Regardless, the San Antonio River is now a main attraction for many S.A. tourists. It’s called the River Walk.

Notice that the water has been completely contained and routed for the whims of franchise owners who sell alcohol, cowboy hats, and gassy Tex-Mex to New Englanders? It complements the water's mostly rail-less edge. No rails is the way to go, I think. 

If you're stupid enough to fall in the water, then you shouldn't be left unsupervised anyway. Besides, the thought of pot-bellied tourists tumbling into 5ft of polluted city water is especially pleasing for me. Back to Austin.

*Interesting factoid: Mediocre British musician Phil Collins is a major artifact contributor to the Alamo's museum exhibit. I find that funny for some reason.


Dreamfarm Girl said...

The Alamo always looks so much smaller in person than I think it should. I kind of like the San Jose mission b/c I remember there being peacocks strolling the lawn. This was when I went there when I was six, so maybe they aren't there anymore (decades later). I think you should be prepared for Waller Creek to become River Walk-ish. I think it's a plan. Might be better than all the trash that lines its shores, but I doubt the egrets and turtles will like it much. I hope if they do tourist it up they leave off the rails so drunken 6th streeters can fall right in.

Bash said...

Why do you hate so much Carlos? I mean what did Phil Collins ever do to you? I doubt he'd call you mediocre. I will, but Mr. Collins is above that. I think he'd say, "I've seen your face before my friend, but I don't know if you know who I am?"

C. Andres Alderete said...

I kind of expected Waller Creek to be River Walk-ish, Ms. Dreamfarm Girl. I'll hold back my judgment until I see it though. The River Walk, after all, looks nice.

My next Austin Pictorial target: Casa de Bash. I already have an archive of pictures. What I lack is one of you and the missus sleeping. Muahahahaha!

SJ said...

Haha Phil Collins... "I'm into prog rock, echo vocal effects and historical Texan artefacts...".

Heather said...

I live here in San Antonio. I've been to the Alamo once and the riverwalk twice in 20 years. I just don't see the appeal. I do admit the riverwalk is pretty but just soo man made.
The Alamo's history disturbs me.

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