Thursday, December 20, 2012

Feliz Navidad in San Antonio

Hi Kids,
This is me on a bridge overlooking the San Antonio River
in San Antonio, Texas   The river goes right through
downtown and the city has created a lovely river walk
beside it.  The banks are lined with trees and there are lots of shops, hotels and restaurants on both sides.  Below you can see one of the restaurants through one of the many bridges which cross the river.

There are over 200 trees, many very old, along the walks.  At Christmas they are beautifully
 decorated with over 126,000 lights.  Barge rides on the river are very popular. 

 One night our group had dinner on a barge.  You can see a little of the ride in this video.  The food was great and the weather was wonderful.  Miss Elaine only had to wear a sweater -- and she's always complaining that she's cold.  Not this night.  And, of course, Emily and I had our own fur coats!

Another night, Emily and I took a helicopter ride over the city to see the lights.  Sometimes Emily takes my picture and sometimes I take hers.  We thought these little bears were cute in their flying outfits.  We didn't have to wear goggles, but we did have to wear headsets so we could hear the pilot talking to us.

The lights of the city were beautiful -- but the helicopter was jiggly so the photo isn't exactly in focus -- but you get the idea.


This is Miss Elaine and me after our ride.  The picture isn't great -- Emily needs to practice her photo skills!

 Texas was originally a part of Mexico and the 
Mexican heritage is still very strong here.  This is our favorite Mexican restaurant in San Antonio.  It's called Mi Tierra and it was really decorated for Christmas.  It's always colorful -- but it was even sparklier than usual this time!

Although tamales are eaten year 'round, they are a big part of a Mexican Christmas celebration.  It takes a long time to make tamales because you have to cook the beans or meat filling ahead of time and soak the corn husks that you wrap the tamales in so that they will be soft and won't split.  Then you have to mix the masa (cornmeal) to make a dough.  You spread the dough on the corn husk, add the filling, then roll the whole thing up.  After that you steam the tamales until they are done.  We got to take a cooking lesson in tamale making.  This is me mixing the dough.

                    And this is me getting ready to unwrap the corn husks and eat the tamales!

 Another Mexican tradition is the presentation of the play "Los Pastores," which means "The Shepherds.  This video shows the very beginning of the play.  It is done in Spanish, but we had an interpreter.  The play is very, very old.  It tells the story of the journey of the shepherds to Bethlehem.  It is a folk play, so it has some adventures that have been added to the traditional story make it more interesting.  There's even a sword fight!

 We ended our visit to San Antonio with a day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  We saw the Looney Tunes Christmas Show.  It even snowed!  Miss Elaine wound up with globs of "snow" on her head and even on her camera.  It wasn't real snow -- I think it was soapsuds!

 The park had lots of decorations and even Santa's Castle.  There were scenes of Santa's workshop inside -- something to look at while standing in line waiting to see Santa.

 We took Santa's picture with a little visitor.  Emily and I didn't get too close to Santa.  We were afraid he would think we were toys and would stuff us in his sack!  We had a great time.

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, kids!  Have a great vacation.    When you come back, we'll have another story for you about my visit to Fredericksburg, Texas.
Emily and Tiger

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