Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A few thoughts on Texas

It’s not really fair to comment on an entire state based on a week spent in two of its least representative cities. So rather than a “this is why Texas is so craaaaazy!” stereotype-reinforcing op-ed piece, here's a list of observations and experiences. Draw your own conclusions.

You can get drive-through barbecue. And drive-through Starbucks.

Many bars, stores and modes of public transportation post signs in the windows alerting patrons to the fact that it is illegal to bring concealed weapons inside. Because of course the assumption is that you're carrying one.

Those damn crickets are everywhere. Including on your towel when you stumble blearily into the bathroom first thing in the morning, and also in your shoes when you go to put them on. This is after they've been
singing in some hidden corner of your room all night.

In the suburbs, you have to be careful when driving after dark, because deer may wander out from the woods, across someone’s front lawn and onto the road. We were lucky enough to see one on Sunday night; he stood in our headlights for a moment before trotting across the street.

San Antonio’s downtown can pretty much be done in a day. You see the Alamo:



Then you browse the zoo of a gift shop (need an Alamo fridge magnet? Alamo Frisbee? How about an Alamo cookie-cutter?).

And then you mill with the herd along the Riverwalk, which is beautifully designed:





but lined with chain restos: Hard Rock, Coyote Ugly and Dick’s, as well as a generous smattering of Mexican’t places).

That's about it, unless you really need to visit
Ripley's Believe it or Not! and Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum.

A San Antonio resident said to me, "I've lived here all my life, and I really believe the folks here are the friendliest in the country. Would you agree?" How could anyone possibly answer in the negative? ("No, I think you're all a bunch of jerks.") And in the center of San Antonio, the only folks one meets work in the service industry, so of course they're friendly; their tips depend on it.

They have the strangest-looking ponies.



Okay, he's really a Longhorn (no kidding!). Ten-year-old, 2200 lbs Sancho. We met him at a historical recreation fair, where his job was to model. And he was great at it; he'd munch hay quietly until it was time for his closeup, at which point he'd stop, pose and look right into the camera. What a pro.

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