Saturday, July 21, 2012

Airplanes, Mariachi bands and heat.

And so the adventure begins. Early. Very early. It was up at 3am in order to make it to the Ottawa airport before 4:30 in order to have plenty of time to go through customs and catch my 6am flight. I must say though, the terminal does give quite a nice view of the sun rising. The Tim Hortons lady however really needs to step up her game, when you have 20 people all needing coffee badly you might want to up it to a slightly faster snails pace...Finally with coffee in hand I get on the regional jet that will take me to Chicago, and from there catch my connecting flight into San Antonio. It’s just a little jet but it sure has power and we made it into Chicago 20 minutes early! After a slight adventure trying to navigate around Chicago airport (it has 6 concourses!!), I ended up in the awesome colourful light tunnel that crosses underneath the tar mack and found concourse C. And I had time to spare, it was going pretty well. So had packing my suitcase the night before for that matter- I managed to actually have room left over and could zip it up with ease (something which never happens to me, queen of overpacking). Though I do have to give mom some credit for helping me thin out my pile of stuff to pack, it may or may not have been as big as me when I started, ahem. 

Then it was into another regional jet to fly to San Antonio. And let me just give a side note of travel advice, while it is fine to book plane tickets last minute, be prepared to get the back seats next to the bathroom that no one else wanted. I was however sitting next to a very nice lady for Guatemala who seems to have travelled around the (including living in Winnipeg, or Winterpeg as she fondly referred to it) and the two of us had quite nice life chats. That's one of the things I love most about travelling, you meet the most interesting people and have these wonderful conversations in the most random places. Once I landed in San Antonio I had to figure out a way to get me and my giant suitcase downtown to meet some of my AOII sister from UTSA for lunch. Shuttle bus seemed like the best bet, and it even included a friendly driver who took a few detours to show me some of the local hidden treasures that aren't on the tourist map. I now know that the Thirsty Monkey is the best bar in town and that the spinning restaurant will give you free admission to sightsee if you order a drink. I finally made it to Market Square, and found my way to Mi Tierra Restaurant, which according to everyone it seems is the best Mexican food in San Antonio and some of the best in Texas. Walking through the door I would also learn that it was the most authentic too, never In my life have I seen a restaurant quite as elaborately decorated as this one...

I was so happy to be able to meet 3 of the wonderful ladies of our Upsilon Lambda chapter, we had so much fun!  Even though the Mariachi band took a keen interest in us and kept trying to play for our table (it's great to listen to in the restaurant but when they surround you it's just plain awkward). After lunch it was back to the airport to wait for my friend Conrad's roommate Edward to pick me up from the airport after he was done work at 5. 3 hours at an airport is a significant amount of time for people watching, and I noticed some patterns. This was this family sitting on the benches next to me and they had this adorable looking little girl who was wandering around, completely enthralled by the airport. Now they were there for about 2 hours, and many people stopped to say hi to the little girl or play with her for a minute, but what I thought was most interesting the watch was the business men. About 3/4 of these men in suits looking like they were going somewhere important actually stopped for quite a few minutes to say hi to this little girl and play along with whatever game she had going. Watching this from the sidelines was one of the cutest things I've seen in a while, all these high powered men sure seem to have big hearts; welcome to Texas.

After quite an adventure trying to find Edward in the airport, we finally found each other and headed off to Uvalde. The sun was setting over the hills to the west and the sky was completely clear blue; it was a beautiful drive to say the least. Pulling into the little town of Uvalde felt like coming home, it's crazy to think it had already been a year since I had been here. The Walmart is still as big as ever, Don Marcilennos still as colourfully painted as it was last year and Rockin R still the little place tucked away with the best real Texan clothing around. My beautiful cowboy boots come from there actually, and let me just say how happy I am to get to wear them on a daily basis again and not get any funny looks. After and insane day of travelling it definitely felt nice to pull into their house, and if  didn't already feel at home opening the door and seeing airplanes project, decoration and memorabilia all around the house would have done it. I have to say I owe Conrad big time for opening his home up to me without thinking twice when I asked if there was any way I could crash here for a bit until my hotel reservation starts. Because living in a box here is not an option, you'd melt. Oh yeah did I mention it's hot here? Like really hot (40 degrees during the day or higher!). I have to get used to the feeling of walking out of a car or building and feeling like I just got wrapped up in a thermal blanket turned on high. Last year I was fine with the heat by the end of the couple weeks so well see how long it takes me this year. After a quick dinner at Jack's steak house (fantastic food, even though I don't eat steak) I was about ready to pass out. It was 11pm here, 12pm my body time which meant I had been up for about 20 hours running on 3 hours of sleep. Needless to say I had barely hit the pillow and was out like a light. And that's one day over already, 29 to go! But I'm not counting down, because that would mean I'm excited to leave, of which I am the complete opposite :)  

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