Sunday, May 5, 2013

If it's Cinco de Mayo, this must be San Antonio

Saturday evening, I was in Sanderson, Texas, pondering where to go next. Then it hit me. Tomorrow was May 5 -- Cinco de Mayo, commemorating the Mexican army's victory over the French in 1862.

No less an authority than USA Today says one of the 10 best places in America to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is Market Square in San Antonio -- and I was only 275 miles away.

The day's ride began in Sanderson (A), crossed the Pecos and then the Amistad Reservoir near Del Rio (B), and ended in San Antonio (C).

There's not much to look at between Sanderson and San Antonio except the Pecos River, the Amistad Reservoir in Del Rio and these old- and new-style windmills.

The mesquite got taller the further east I got, but the scenery was still your basic desert until I reached Uvalde, where suddenly there was enough water to grow corn.

Next stop, San Antonio.

I checked in at the Alamo Motel on Commercial Street next to a huge cemetery and, following USA Today's advice, headed down to Market Square, where I found a big, enthusiastic crowd dancing and drinking in the street.

Is it ironic that Hispanic people wear Frito Bandito mustaches to celebrate their heritage?

There was dancing in the street.

Gorditas were being grilled on the spot.

Blended margaritas were being consumed in abundance. This one froze my brain at least three times.

Artists were drawing absurd caricatures and people were buying them.

The street was packed -- and it was still early.

A few people were wearing absurdly huge sombreros, but only paying customers were allowed to relieve themselves.

Deaths heads and Mr. Smiley Face necklaces -- how's that for juxtaposition?

An artist was selling Dia de los Muertos paintings.

There were Nacho Libre wrestler masks, just in time for Halloween.

Buying photos of yourself and your friends dressed up like banditos was popular -- complete with fake mustaches, sombreros and bandoliers.

A mustache is the perfect accessory for a halter top.

No blow-up jumping house for these kids. They get a mini mechanical bull to ride.

Nothing's funnier than seeing somebody else get thrown and gored.

Cowboy hats and First Communion outfits.

A Cinco de Mayo Elvis impersonator posed with the kid with a Mohawk.

Spurs fans watched little kids getting tossed off the mechanical bull.

A hot, sunny day and a cold cerveza -- it doesn't get any better.

I switched from brain freezing margaritas to a tall Dos Equis with lime and salt.

Self-deprecating humor.

The afternoon had warmed right up, so it was time for some Mexican food and another Margarita. This time it was on the rocks -- no brain freeze.

The Lone Star flies high over downtown San Antonio.

A piper serenaded the Sunday afternoon strollers near the Alamo.

The old mission still brings in the crowds.

A visitor to the Alamo Plaza finds a spot to read at the foot of the memorial, which lists all 185 Texans who died defending the old fortress.

No, that's not Fess Parker. It's the real David Crockett.

A tourist couple poses in front of the Alamo.

River Walk winds through the downtown area, lined with shops, bars and restaurants.

River boats ply the River Walk.


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