Wednesday, June 27, 2018

OTRA Part 4 - It's just "ducky."

As you can imagine, writing this during the trip has been a challenge.  Bits and pieces at a time.  I will continue working on it after we return home...   

We haven’t seen the desk clerk who checked us in for a couple days.  Guess he is part time and off duty.  The other clerks have addressed us as “folks” which is fine.  But one day, our clerk magically appeared.   He obviously remembered us, and now it became quite clear that he thought we were indeed two women.  I was “Ma’am” a number of times…and we were both “ladies.”   Hmmm.  Maybe the shorts, polo and sneakers aren’t an issue, after all?  Or were they all just being politically correct?  We'll never know...and it doesn't matter.

Anyone familiar with American history may remember the politician named Teddy Roosevelt, and his “Rough Riders.”   The Menger Hotel became a part of that history.

Back in 1898, before becoming President of the US, Mr. Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  He resigned to organize the Rough Riders, the first voluntary cavalry in the Spanish American War.  Roosevelt recruited a diverse group of cowboys, miners, law enforcement officials and native Americans to join the Rough Riders.   This group participated in the capture of Kettle Hill, then charged across a valley to assist with the seizure of San Juan Ridge.    

The Menger Hotel bar is allegedly the location where some of this recruitment took place!

In today’s world of electronic gidgy-gadgets, it’s rare to find a real, operating "conventional" phone booth.  There are 4 of them at the Menger, lined up like ducks in a row.   I wonder if enough people use them to cover the cost?  (Don’t know about you, but I can’t even remember the last time I put a quarter in a pay phone.)  Yes, I sure can remember the old days, when the cost of that call was a dime!  Oh, the uproar that change caused in yesterday’s society!

The San Antonio River snakes through San Antonio, but instead of being a nasty, swampy mess, with periodic flooding and weeds littering the banks, city fathers took a lemon and made lemonade.  With substantial investment and expansion, sidewalks on both banks, and more than a bit of landscaping and commercialization, it resulted in a perfectly lovely place to stroll with your wife, hubby, significant other, or even (gasp) by yourself.   

While in town for less than a week, my wife and I walked over 20 miles (with an electronic gidgy-gadget measuring the distance) exploring the area, and over half of that was on the memorable river walk.  If you ever get a chance to visit Texas, be sure to stop in San Antonio.

We (and a whole lot of others) enjoyed a couple of delicious meals under the colorful umbrellas at one restaurant along the riverwalk.  It’s a historic place, having been established in 1946.  At times, there is quite a wait for a table.  Our challenge was to get there when the wait was short.   We succeeded!  The food was good, but oh, my – the atmosphere was superb!

With small battery-powered barges full of people paying princely sums for barge tours of the riverwalk area constantly passing by, we had fun watching the tourists watching us, and watching the ducks scurry around, cleaning up on any crumbs accidentally dropped under the tables. 

It’s hard to resist the hungry eyes of this feathery little buddy:

This location provided a first for me:  

Someone was tugging on the untucked hem of my polo top.  Not sure who was trying to look up my top, I quickly glanced around and down…at an apparently-hungry, and very tame, generic brown duck (like the above) with its beak clamped on my shirt, tugging at it in an attempt to get my attention and beg for food.  When I reached around to grab my camera, the duck promptly let go of my shirt (no harm done) and skedaddled off to greener pastures!   

I wonder if anyone fed him afterward?

Following is a sample of some of the fabulous scenery, with more waiting around every curve!!

More to follow!



  1. I have been to San Antonio a few times and it was always a great place to visit. I have a recollection of visiting "Dick's Last Resort". I think it is in a new location and no longer on the River Walk. At the time they had about 500 bras hanging from the rafters. I remember talking to one young lady that night and she told me that one of her bras was hanging from the ceiling and she challenged me to find it. I failed but it was a pleasant night on a business trip. I had a few business trips with this particular group and compared to the rest of the guys I was a bit of an amateur drinker but I remember waking up every morning with a hangover.

    1. Mandy doesn't drink (at least not very often - like once or twice a year) or smoke (at all.) We didn't touch a drop of it on the trip. Diet Coke, maybe. But no booze!

      But I seem to remember friends who imbibe regularly...telling me that those who don't drink often can develop a "worse hangover sooner" than those who do. I can't speak for that...but it sounds reasonable.

      And they say a big folks like me probably can have a lower alcohol content after a given number of drinks than a tiny person. (More "person" to spread the alcohol around in.) But I don't plan to officially "check that out!"

      Yes, San Antonio is a wonderful place...



  2. I'm reading your journey with fascination. Glad you're getting addressed as a woman, too. Sue x

    1. Hi Sue,

      Androgyny sure helps, but remember, I wasn't trying to present as female. (Since my wife was with me.) Gotta admit, it was nice when it happened!

      Glad you're enjoying...wish I could be more timely, but life goes on. And there are more posts to come - soon!