I Survived the Alamo. Chapter One

Previously, Fred and Matthew journeyed to Texas for vacation and mom-seeing.

Runaway Brides, Waffles, and a Morbid Morning

I waited for the firemen to leave. I didn't want to wake Fred, and I couldn't go back to sleep. After waiting a safe period, I ventured out into the hotel. It was around 5 in the morning.

Hotels these days offer some amazing breakfasts, especially the cheap ones (hotels or breakfasts, you decide). This one had not only an amazing coffee machine that made it by the cup after you press the buttons for the desired type and strength, but a WAFFLE IRON! They had little cups of waffle batter set out, and a waffle iron with a built in timer to remind you when to flip and when to serve. It was early, and there was almost no one down, save for a couple of maintenance guys and the desk clerk.

CNN was rattling off, over and over, the top stories shaping our world, including the discovery of the runaway bride (the clerk and I shared views on taking her back: "Give me back the ring bitch"), some sort of sex and drugs blackmail scandal at a San Antonio area military training centre, the Jewish Cowboy running for governor, and the 60th anniversary of Hitler's suicide.

I made some waffles, vended myself some coffee and sat with my book (Burmese Days) to await the dawn. Man it got boring. The woman at CNN San Antonio reread the same stories over and over (I wonder if she was just looped), I drank more and more coffee, and stepped out for yet another smoke.

A walk! That would be lovely. I didn't have to go far. Right behind the hotel was the most beautiful abandoned mill I have ever seen. I want it. I walked around some more, found the jail, multiple bail bondsmen, two mortuary services, and a motel with "Fantasy Rooms" available. We definitely picked the right part of town.

Having had a morbid enough morning, I sauntered (I was in Texas, and could therefore not sashay) back to the motel, to find Fred awake and aggressively caffeinating.

Soon, it was time to go meet mommy for breakfast. I went in to take a shower. It was a pretty standard hotel/motel bathroom, although the room service here did not find it a "nice touch" to fold the ends of the toilet paper roll into a point. I got undressed, turned on the water, and as I pulled the shower curtain, realized that someone had burned cigarette holes into the curtain in the shape of a jack-o-lantern smile. Yay...The day was looking up.

"Romantic, Historic, Newly Renovated" the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

Fred in his infinite internet-based intuition had booked our Microtel room only a short distance from where my mother was staying. While not exactly close to the convention centre where the IRA fest was to occur, the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk was undoubtedly costing the school my mom works for a pretty penny. Never mind the fact that my mother's boss (Mel) also dragged along the company credit card which was going to cost the school even more to feed them and us.

It was quite a fancy little piece of four star accommodation. At times, the place seemed more like a hipster club. The lobby was a split level affair with dark shades of black, red and gold. The entry way had a waterfall beneath a stone arch, emptying into a U shaped pond, lined with river stones. Speakers pumped out that strange blend of electronica, lounge and trip-hop that is all the rage in the urban-cool. The sound of the water and the tunes made for quite an impression. Not so much a fancy luxury hotel, as a high-budget afterhours club. The hallways were painted red, and the tracklighting and exposed ventilation ducts were hidden behind black metal grating along the ceiling, adding to the club atmosphere.

The Secret Knock

Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits.

Thus was the secret, and ever so original, secret knock to announce our visit to my mother's hotel room (which she shared with her boss, Mel, and coworker, Karen). The door began to open, and I was on the verge of booming out my traditional, and ever so original, "Are you decent?" However, the room was dark, and my mother hurriedly crept out the door and whispered "Mel and Karen are still asleep." So, no...They weren't decent.

It was so wonderful to see my mom. The last time I saw her,a few years previous, I was in an unhealthy and far from sane period in my life. The funny thing was, SHE looked a lot healthier than the last time I saw her, and I know I did. Fred, mom and I hugged and kissed and 'so good to see you'd in the hallway before going back down to Citrus, the hotel restaurant.

The breakfast buffet spread was a tad fancier than the Microtel's. For one thing, there was no sign of either a soda machine or CNN. There were waitstaff and white cloth napkins. The buffet was pretty standard fair (no more waffles, though), with silver chaffing dishes with an assortment of grits, oatmeal, red potatoes, bacon/sausage and croissants. Yes, standard. Very standard. Plus, you could get a made-to-order-before-your-eyes omelet. No Do-It-Yourself waffle, but pretty fancy.

Before long, we had worked through what all of our flights had been like and what was going on with dad (still at home) and our animals (also still at home). Mel and Karen appeared, and much to the dismay of the hostess and our waiter (who wasn't sure what to make of us anyways), we rearranged our table, stole another chair and squeezed in for an intimate Guamanian breakfast (in spirit, since most definitely not in flavour). My family has always left a strange impression on the employees of food service establishments. We're outgoing and courteous, but also disarmingly chatty (even in the AM hours) with people serving us coffee and food. The nicer the restaurant (which I believe provokes a certain level of pretension), the more confused the staff is by our down home lack of status-consciousness.

We casually noticed that it was raining outside, and went back to gorging on the all-you-could-eat-ness of it all, catching up on the politics of Guam, the politics of the school they work at and I graduated from, and the goings-on with my brothers (who mom would be visiting with after the convention).

*The San Antonio Riverwalk
*Andean Cover Bands, and the Mall
*Monty's Guide to the Alamo
*Lyle Lovett
*More Andean Cover Bands, La Cucaracha at your First Communion and Santa Coming through the Roof
*Dolores Del Rio Ristorante - Italian Food, Mexican Decor, beatnik vibe, Chicago blues band and a bellydancer
*Joe's Crab Shack - Got Crabs? Hope not!
*Goodwill towards Blind Men, Cold tourists, and parking restrictions on the Governor's Palace. If this is a regular candy bar: "Mommy, mommy, can Ricky come out to play?" Then this is an O'Henry: "Hi, Rick. Busy tonight?"
*The Triple Threat: Davey (I mean, David) Crockett, Casket makers and the Museum of Texan History and Taxidermy.
*So Long, San Anton.

And then!

*Port Aransas, the "last undeveloped stretch of coastal real estate in the United States."
*The Sand Castle
*Talcum Powder, Black Goo and Salt
*Giant Sharks Eat Tourists, Maybe Santa
*The Ferry, don't feed the non-existent dolphins your vomit.
*The Prophetess
*What Are Mexicans Doing at a Mexican Restaurant!?

And finally!

*This Hitchhikers Guide to Ontario California