As I go under the Guenther Street Bridge, I notice how many spiderwebs there are here. It took me a while to remember what these spiderwebs remind me of. It’s when Alex and I went to the Great Salt Lake. There were all of these little flies all over the place and, drawn to the all-you-can-eat buffet of flies, there were also a lot of spiders. I love spiders, so this was fascinating. However, the grandfather of the family that arrived just after us was freaked out.
As I walk farther, I noticed the sound of the Pioneer Flour Mill. It always makes this kind of regular humming sound, which is understandable. It’s probably the mill milling. But there’s also an occasional hissing, like a can of compressed air.
So I’m going back north. I think that rather than going over the bridge this time, instead I’m going to under the Johnson Street bridge past the arsenal which I’ll talk about a little as I pass it probably and then cross the river back to the other side. I will have to cross the river twice. One of those crossings is going have to be on or just after Nueva Street. There’s no pathway on this side of the river after that. Then my car is on this side, so I will have to cross back over later on.
So now I am at the headquarters of HEB which was the United States Arsenal. I guess that the interpretive signage is on the other side of the river since the interpretive signage on this side is for Guenther’s Upper Mill, which is on the other side. Anyway this was the United States arsenal from 18 something to 19 something. I think after the Civil War.
To be honest with you, when I first ended up working at my current retail location, I actually wondered if there was some way I could parlay it into a job at HEB headquarters, since I have corporate home office experience and retail experience, I figured, “Why not?” I searched for jobs for quite a while, but nearly all of the postings I saw were for graphic designers. I’m sure I could pick it up, since I’ve been trained in five careers so far, but I’d rather be able to get paid for something I can already do.
I found the interpretive signage on this side of the river. Construction began on the arsenal in 1859, but the Civil War interrupted it. Then after the war, it became the arsenal again until 1947. It sat empty for quite a while before HEB bought it.
I think I’m going to cross over the Nueva Street Dam and Marina. The name of it is a lot of words but there you go.
I was originally supposed to be doing this with Evelyn but she hasn’t been feeling well lately, so I’m doing this by myself. I guess that’s okay though, since I’m doing this narrating thing. I’d probably be talking to her and socializing. Maybe walking with dogs because she’s got several of them. She’s got custody of Mila right now.
I keep forgetting to punctuate and add paragraphs. I guess I can do that later once I get home, but sometimes just trying to figure out what I was intending to say is we kind of adventure. We’ll see how this turns out.
At this point, I found that I must have gone through and edited most of this before. The next few paragraphs look pretty good, at any rate.
I just passed where the Texas Master Naturalists Wildscape Garden used to be (it’s in Hardberger Park West now) There’s this really old-looking building right there, and there’s no historical marker or sign or anything indicating what it is. Maybe I get home I’ll look it up.*
Spring is upon us. I have seen at least three animals in pursuit of reproductive success. Right now two squirrels are chasing each other and earlier I passed a couple of pigeons who seemed to be feeling romantic. And when I started my walk, I saw two male ducks either trying to mate or fighting. They kept nipping each other on the neck. They didn’t look angry about it. Maybe they just weren’t to the angry part yet.
I’m on the Nueva Street Dam now. There are traffic cones with arrows attached. I’m not sure what the arrows mean**. This dam is one of the places where we stop the flow of the river when it’s flooding. And also we use it when we clean the river out. I have some pictures of the river when it’s drained. I’ll have to see if I can find them.
There’s some kind of rusty stuff on one of the sides of the dam. I’m not going to take pictures because it looks pretty unappetizing.***
I am now passing the statue of Francisco Madero who was president of Mexico or something like that. There’s an interpretive sign here. Let me see. This is the site of the former Hutchins Hotel, which was his headquarters. He was kicked out of Mexico in 1910 and when he went back to Mexico he became president in 1911, and was assassinated in 1913. That was fast.
I was here one time in . . . November? The statue here was decorated with flowers. I tried to figure what that was about and I never did. I’ll have to remember to come here next November and try that same day and if I do, maybe I’ll call the city to see what’s up with that.
Near the dam is the marina where the barges that the tours run on, and I think the river taxi as well, are stored. There is also a double crested cormorant sitting on a cable here. The first time Alex and I saw one of those, it disappeared beneath the water and didn’t come back out, so we called it the Loch Ness Monster. Though the term may actually have been used first by a passerby. After some time passed and I was like, trying to figure out what the heck that had been and finally I found a description of double crested Cormorant and looked it up and by golly that was what it was. So I mentioned to my dad after that and he’s like just based on the description of it, I could have told you that. And I was like “lot of help you are.”
I didn’t think it was going to get this warm today I should have worn shorts. I’ll survive. Probably. If you find a news article about a woman who has melted on the Riverwalk that might be me. I think that my next weekday off, I’ll walk around the surface and talk about the buildings things that I pass.****
The only real problem with this new approach for narrating my walks is that I dehydrate faster. I think if I’m going to continue to do this, I am going to have to carry my bigger purse with two bottles of water. I’m also getting hungry.
I sort of do this modified intermittent fasting thing. I don’t want to fast too often or too regularly because I think my body might get used to having fewer calories on certain days. Instead, my second day off of work for the weekend, I eat breakfast and then go for a long walk until I’m really hungry. And I’m really hungry.
I think this building here that I’m passing is the International Center. This is where the barges used to be stored. Anyway I am standing here by the water and I can see the place where the barges used to come and go from underneath the building. I think there may be other boats there now, but I’m not sure.
Do you know how long it took me to figure out where this old marina was? I had been reading directions and descriptions and destinations and hitting Google maps and all this other nonsense. I don’t remember where Thomas said it was, but I could never see where the boats would come out of that building.
Now I’m crossing another flood bridge. This is the one closest to the main touristy part of the Riverwalk. I’ve found a lot of lost people at the foot of this bridge. They end up unsure which direction the people are in.
I’m walking past a bunch of hotels. Nothing too exciting here. I mean, I like hotels, but the historically important hotels are, well, not here. Additionally, there’s a dilapidated building here that I’ve seen, but I’ve never really looked at before. I need to go to the surface someday and see if the front of the building looks any better. It’s probably a palace.
One of the hotels I’m passing is a Holiday Inn My father-in-law and his second wife stayed here in one of their visits. Then on the left again, next to the dilapidated building, is the Book Building. Thomas and I were very disappointed the first time we noticed it to find that it had nothing to do with books. It seems to have been designed by an architect whose name was Book.
And then on my right just before the Houston Street Bridge we have the Hotel Valencia on my right. Wow. I don’t remember what was here when I first moved to San Antonio. I need to get off my butt and get a damn GoPro or equivalent so that I can take movies of what downtown looks like today, so that in 20 years I’m not, “there used to be something else there. I don’t remember what.” I’m kicking myself for not getting one earlier, but, like they say about investing, the best time was yesterday. The second-best time is now.
*I looked it up and it looks like it might have been built in 1993. It looks way old for that, though. I guess it’s time for more research.
** And I call myself a history buff. This walk was on the anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. I think that might have been where the arrows were leading.
***As I went to sleep that night, I realized what it looked like (granted, I didn’t have my glasses on, so . . . . It looked like what you’d see if you covered beggar’s lice in an orange tomato sauce, kind of like Spaghetti Os and then looked at it through a magnifying glass.
****I’m editing this on the evening of my next weekday off. I ended up having Popeye’s for lunch with my dad and then going to Friedrich Wilderness Park with Evelyn. I spent the evening crocheting and working on my Mandarin. So maybe I’ll do that on my next second day off.
Today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is The Bone Shard Daughter, by Andrea Stewart. The Bone Shard Daughter is set in a world where the major form of magic are constructs animated by shards of bone. Lin, daughter of the Emperor, is forbidden to learn the bone shard magic. Nevertheless, she is trying to learn it in secret. She is in competition with her father’s protege, Bayan, for her father’s esteem. There are three other narrators and their stories intertwine, telling the story of an empire that is falling apart.