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July (in March)

March 17, 2023

A friend and I wanted to go somewhere warm for spring break, but couldn’t quite afford the beach umbrella trip of our dreams so we settled for a trip to San Antonio, Texas, where we could be outside most of the time and get in a swimming pool. I asked another friend if she would be interested in joining us and she said yes, so we converged on San Antonio from Ohio and Colorado, ready to explore the riverwalk, drink margaritas, and try some good tex-mex food. We did all of that, plus the pool, the Alamo, and a side trip to Corpus Christi to see the waves in the Gulf of Mexico.

The first day we were there, some very old blogging friends (since 2009!) who live in San Antonio–Amanda and Jason–came out to meet us. They’d proposed a less touristy destination, but when I looked it up, I got the erroneous impression that one of the restaurants we were interested in was at the place they’d suggested, The Pearl. It was not—it was smack in the center of the most crowded and touristy part of the riverwalk. They were good sports, though, and wove their way through the crowds to find us and have a great dinner and a few photos. All the tables were outdoors and we thought the weather was perfect, fair and in the low 80s. Everywhere we looked, there were flowers—the tulips were finished, and pansies and petunias were blooming.

The pool, like most I’ve seen at hotels in the last decade, was only 4 feet deep, so no one except little kids could swim much. We got in and splashed around, and then sat in the lounge chairs and the big wicker “onion” beds. We went on a boat ride around the little river.

The tex-mex food and margaritas were great. We tried the guacamole everywhere we went, and at one place I tried a “tuna” margarita, made with the fruit of a prickly pear. It was fun sitting at a table and watching people go by; I’ve rarely seen so many people in one place in the last three years. We ordered enough to try everything and eat what appealed to us most, like in this poem:


The figs we ate wrapped in bacon.
The gelato we consumed greedily:
coconut milk, clove, fresh pear.
How we’d dump hot espresso on it
just to watch it melt, licking our spoons
clean. The potatoes friend in duck fat,
the salt we’d suck off our fingers,
the eggs we’d watch get beaten
‘til they were a dizzying bright yellow,
how their edges crisped in the pan.
The pink salt blossom of prosciutto
we pulled apart with our hands, melted
on our eager tongues. The green herbs
with goat cheese, the aged brie paired
with a small pot of strawberry jam,
the final sour cherry we kept politely
pushing onto each other’s plate, saying,
No, you. But it’s so good. No, it’s yours.
How I finally put an end to it, plucked it
from the plate, and stuck it in my mouth.
How good it tasted: so sweet and so tart.
How good it felt: to want something and
pretend you don’t, and to get it anyway.

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

One day we took an Uber to the airport and I rented an SUV for a trip to Corpus Christi—we’d meant to drive out onto Padre Island, but the flat tire we got about an hour out from San Antonio and the two hours we spent waiting for emergency services to get there meant that I had to drive the SUV to another car rental place and trade it for a pickup truck. What I kept calling “my god-given right to drive 75 mph on the Texas highway” was restored, and we got to Corpus Christi in time for a very late lunch at a very good seafood restaurant, and then a walk on the beach and look at the waves before I had to drive back to the San Antonio airport and turn in the pickup.

We walked through the McNay Art Museum, where I saw a painting about necromancy.

The three of us have been friends for four decades, but we never ran out of conversation. It’s a great thing, when old friends can make the time and take the effort to hang out for a while.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2023 11:39 am

    Wonderful! Looks like a great time. The area looks beautiful. I’ve never spent time in Texas (except a layover in the Houston airport.)

    • March 20, 2023 2:22 pm

      San Antonio is beautiful, in a dry way. They had a cactus garden out back at the Alamo.
      On our drive to Corpus Christi, I noticed that trees of any size are rare. The foliage is mostly low to the ground.
      Houston is much more humid. Texas, of course, is a very big state!

  2. March 17, 2023 11:43 am

    What a lovely time spent with friends!

    • March 20, 2023 2:22 pm

      It was. I’m glad my friends make it a priority to get together when we can!

  3. Rohan Maitzen permalink
    March 17, 2023 12:33 pm

    This sounds like a perfect vacation. I definitely understand the temptation of seeking warmth and sunshine in March!

    • March 20, 2023 2:24 pm

      It was great. I’d have liked to have been able to swim more, but we spent a lot of time sitting, talking, reading, and eating, and those are pretty much my best things!

  4. Carol Schumacher permalink
    March 17, 2023 1:27 pm

    It was a grand time!

  5. March 18, 2023 12:26 pm

    What a lovely friend trip! We’ve just been in Southern Spain and very much appreciated the warm and dry weather!

    • March 20, 2023 2:26 pm

      I think this kind of trip must be much the same, heading south towards spring. Going to a different country sounds more exotic, though!

  6. March 19, 2023 3:00 pm

    That painting sure is busy! Poor fella trampled by the horse and all. My mom just texted me, and she and my Dad have arrived in Texas. They’re on their way to Arizona from Michigan.

    • March 20, 2023 2:27 pm

      I loved that painting–I’d noticed it before I saw it was about necromancy, and then I had to take a photo!

  7. March 20, 2023 6:28 am

    What a great trip, and you got to see Amanda. I hope she and Jason are doing well. It sounds like you had an excellent trip.

    • March 20, 2023 2:28 pm

      It was an excellent trip, and Amanda and Jason seem to be doing very well. She gave us an impromptu lesson on how to pose for photos which made some of our vacation shots come out better than usual!

      • March 20, 2023 3:50 pm

        Nice to have lessons for that. I suck at being photographed.

        • March 20, 2023 3:53 pm

          Me too, and I always thought it had to do with not staying still to pose, but Amanda suggests you put your face towards the camera and then point your forehead at it, which produced a few better-than-usual photos of me and my friends and also one where my face isn’t in the light enough and I look evil, which was a source of some hilarity.

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