Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Clare in San Antonio, Texas...

Clare is in San Antonio, Texas this week with her boss Peter from Ireland, adding to the Clare & Joe World Tour, which has taken in Wellington, Dublin, Belfast, Poland, London, Orlando & Los Angeles over recent months! More cities & dates to be added soon! ...
I'm in Texas. Ye Ha! I've finally got the internet on in the hotel room. I was having problems as you have to use your own name as a password and the hotel computer kept rejecting me. So they gave me another name - Winkler! My trip started on Friday night, and on my way to Crumlin (Belfast), I got stopped by the police at Newry and asked where I was going and why. Every car in and out was being stopped. Belfast cars were allowed on. Peter said they were looking for someone in particular as it would normally just be a road block and re-direction signs. The B&Q store in Newry seemed to be intact and not in flames when I went past! (see note) Belfast (MI5) airport was a breeze compared to Dublin but no special clearance zone with Americans in the basement. So at Newark we had to get our bags and clear customs and check in again. Stress and a half. We were both quite buggered and it was warm in Newark. Peter got detained for a bit to discuss why he still had his green slip in his passport from his last USA trip!
Newark is a completely new airport since I was last there. Owned by Westfield actually. All food groups and lots of other shopping. I went to a mall in San Antonio this afternoon, and frankly the Westfield at Newark was better! Not one supermarket, book store, music store, etc. at this mall, but Macys, Saks, bath shops ie. body shops with artificial colouring & flavouring, and kids shops like I've never seen. I bought nothing. And of course you can’t walk across the 6 lane highway to the mall across the road. I tried. At least its warm. And no RAIN. Actually they are in long term drought. All parts of the USA had flood rain this week except here.
Funny kind of place but still it’s a big American city with shopping malls and a wide range of ethnic food available - loads of Tex Mex and BBQ shops. Not BBQ as in Bunnings but as in meat that has been Texas BBQ’ed - not like an Aussie BBQ. Traditionally buried in a pit and cooked for 12 hrs on coals but does not taste or look anything like a hangi. So much better! I did tourist stuff yesterday and went to The Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral, the historic "artist village" (all stuff made in Nicaragua, etc.) and I went to the art museum for a photo show. Walked for miles, caught buses with locals for 85 cents, talked to homeless black folk, etc. and ate Tex Mex for lunch. I stuck to some meal based on corn chips, avocado, salsa & sour cream (of course). And a margarita (of course). But alas no plastic cocktail cups yet.
That's it for now. I'm presenting a 15 min session on Wednesday. Lots of networking happening!
(note) - B&Q is a British hardware superstore chain (much like Bunnings) which has been targeted by firebugs in Northern Ireland recently. Nobody has been caught yet. So you're always on the lookout when you drive past B&Q!

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