Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years, A Year Ago


The fireworks went off right in front of this tower.

A year ago today I spent New Years Eve in warm San Antonio, Texas.   Oh how i wish it was as warm here now, in West Virginia (currently 10 degrees).  There isn't much to do for new years in west virginia unless you are in the 2 or 3 major cities in the state, so I typically don't celebrate it or care.   

But since I could choose to go somewhere and celebrate it on the road, I broke my normal rule of avoiding urban areas and took a trip to San Antonio for their fireworks show.   It wasn't disappointing.  It is a beautiful city at night downtown.  


This is a mural i liked along a canal that winds through downtown.
The only problem is, the city had probably the most confusing grid of streets I have ever experienced.   Man, what a nightmare to navigate, and I lived in washington dc before.  In this city, during 'events', the parking lots are allowed to charge 4 times the amount for parking they normally do.   I stopped at one, and then bust out in laughter when i found out the price was 20$ per hour.  Really?   How many hours did i need to look around the city and catch the fireworks?!

I moved on and noticed signs for municipal parking was normal rates, about $6 dollars.   There was a garage ahead, the entrance around the next left with its own lane on the street so i pulled in.   Well what they dont tell you, and you cant see from that street before being locked in, is that the entrance to the garage was like 6'2.  So my van did not fit.   So here I am, locked into this lane blocking the entrance, unable to move forward or back. 

Luckily the supervisor for the place was behind me, and she got out, stopped traffic on the street, backed all the cars up and let me out.   What a pain, that they could have avoided by putting a sign on the street you actually use to get in line.  

I eventually debated whether to just give up and head to a nearby walmart for the night, or park in the outskirts (read: ghetto) and walk two miles in. 

I looked online for rules about parking the city on the street, and luckily discovered an interesting fact.   Meters downtown are not enforced after 8pm.  Sweet.   I ended up parking near a hospital about a mile or two away and walking in after 8pm.

Some lovely churches and buildings in San Antonio

Just walking to downtown was difficult.   Google GPS was woefully failing me in the city, even the mighty google was confused by this place.    I did manage to find a canal that scenically takes you through the city, and that helped a bit.   It still took a while to get near to where the fireworks show was happening.

I finally arrived at the park, and was shocked to see so much fanfare.   They had news casters setup like they do on Rockin New Year.   There was a concert area (tho just playing dance music, no live singers till later).  There were food stands and people shuffling about, much like a little carnival.   There was also a separate concert area, that was absolutely packed to the gills with hispanic partiers, and there was a latin band playing.   This spot was a lot different from the other area, it really seemed festive and fun, everyone was actually dancing and having a good time.  I hung around there a while, out of place as ever with my giant white butt, but no one seemed unwelcoming.  

Eventually i decided to find a place to sit and watch the fireworks, places to sit were at a premium.   If you wanted to make some really nice coin on new years, go to this place and rent out little folding chairs.   You'd make a killing.    I eventually found a free spot on a bench next to what looked like a homeless man.   No problem for me !  I sat and watched the fireworks with him and a family who didnt speak english settled in next to us.  I eventually gave up my seat to one of them.

The fireworks show itself was amazing once it finally came.   It lasted way, way longer than any other one i went to, even the one in baltimore.  I enjoyed it immensely, though i was pretty happy to get back to the van after so long.

This year I am back here, its too cold to do anything but sit in my sister's kitchen, and watch the year expire.   A friend I met at the RTR is stopping by, maybe for the night, but I feel kinda bad for him.   Its awfully boring here in the countryside on NYE, but I am glad to see a friend from the road as he sets out back west.    Wish I was going too.

Here is a video I made last New Years, if you want a better idea of what it was like.


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