Apple Training III: Weekend Break

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Now that we have finished with the Support Essentials class, we have taken a break for the weekend. Some people have flown back to their homes, flown out to visit families, or gone on to visit friends in the area. Because it would have cost more to send me back to Salt Lake for the weekend, and then fly out again, I instead remained in Austin. What to do?

Well, since this is my first trip to Texas, I wanted to see the most famous landmark in the area: The Alamo. Now, the Alamo is in San Antonio, which is roughly 1.5 hours drive from Austin. I struggled with the decision, weighing the pros of going to the cons of possibly getting killed on the Texas Freeway system, and decided to go for it. I got in my car this morning at 10:00 am (central time), and headed south.

The drive was great! I stayed primarily on one road, so there was a minimum chance of getting lost. The drive also took me through New Braunfels, which was founded by a relative of the current Baron of Braunfels (which I visited while on my mission to Germany). So that was also pretty cool. Driving was pretty much like driving in Utah: there was always someone that wanted to drive 20 miles under the speed limit that I ended up behind, and then quite a few people that have forgotten the whole concept of "safe following distance", no matter how much over the speed limit I was driving. So, pretty similar. ^_^

Once in San Antonio, finding a place to park was a problem. I finally decided to park at the mall parking structure right across the street. I walked into the mall to find my way to the Alamo, but got lost. Instead I ended up right next to the San Antonio river, which was in the other direction of the Alamo. ^_^ So I got back to street level and found my way to Alamo Plaza.

The impression is pretty much what I expected: The church (which is all that is pretty much left other than a few walls) was small. A nice touch is that they ask that anyone entering remove their hats out of respect. There has only been one other landmark I have visited before that asked for such reverence: the rebuilt synagogue I visited in Worms.

No one was yelling in the little church, which was good because it echoed like crazy. They had displays there and in the gift shop of artifacts from many of the men there and from the Mexican army. Davy Crockett was represented by a portrait (replica of the original that was retired), two rifles, a beaded buckskin vest, and plaques with his name on it. Jim Bowie was well represented with his knives. And, of course, the streets and businesses surrounding the Alamo had their names all over them.

The grounds were very hallowed, either because the Texans (or Texians, as was printed on one of the displays) wanted such a homage paid, or because the people there know what the battle of the Alamo meant to our country. With the rebellion of California and Texas, many of the Western States were allowed to join the Union as American territories. Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico.. All of them benefited from the reaction to the battle of the Alamo.

I then left the compound after reflecting on the impact of the Alamo on the West, and walked outside. I took some footage of the outside of the compound, with some plaques and a raised map of the compound in 1836. Then, I headed back to Austin.

Now, I know I have not been overly warm to Texas in the past, but this trip has really opened my eyes. I've been really well surprised with the similarity between the two Western cultures of Texas and Utah. And the connections were made stronger with that trip.

If you have never been to the Alamo, it's hard to describe. I can't even show pictures of the place, because I only had my video camera, and no one can video the inside of the church (for obvious reasons, I would think). But if you do get a chance, and you are within driving distance (even if it is a few hours away), I would recommend it. For the quick half hour I was there, I gained a connection with Texas that I never had before. I even listened to some country music on the way home (until I found a Christmas music station, anyway ^_^).