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San Antonio
New Year's Eve 2004
New Year's Day 2005

by Paul Ridenour

If you cannot go to Times Square on New Year's Eve, San Antonio is a great substitute.  With the Riverwalk, Christmas lights, fireworks, Alamo, shopping, margaritas, and Mexican food, it is quite a fantastic place.

Dottie and I have been to Times Square twice.  Once in 1985 and in 1991.  At that time, there were about 250,000 people.  But I understand that number is now closer to one million. 

San Antonio is only a five hour drive from Dallas.   The Marriott was right on the river and the mall was across the street.  In this area, one is only about three blocks away from the Alamo.  The Marriott is a perfect place to stay and we plan on going back in 2005/2006.  The only drawback is that with the Alamo Dome, the SBC Center, and one million square feet added to the convention center, the tax on our room was 16.75 percent.  There are two Marriott Hotels right next to each other - the new one and the old one.  We stayed in the new one.  One night - $265.

We asked someone at the hotel to direct us to the best Mexican restaurant.  He told us to go to the Mexican market area and eat at Mi Tierra.  We walked about 1.2 miles to the restaurant.  I wanted to eat on the river but more so, I wanted the best hot sauce, margaritas. Guacamole, and Mexican food in town.  When we got there, a girl told us that La Margaritas is better so we went there instead.  I called my older brother Dale and told him where I was.  He spent his honeymoon in San Antonio.  When I told him we were eating at La Margaritas, he said "Don't eat at the other place called Mi Tierra!"  I was surprised he mentioned it.  He went on to say that he really wasn't impressed by Mi Tierra.

We visited the Alamo at night, stopped off at the Riverwalk for another margarita, took a Riverwalk boat ride, and then went back to the hotel to watch the ball drop in New York.  Regis Philbin was terrible!  He would not stop talking and he was a second behind.  All of the guest celebrities were praising Dick Clark and hoping he is back next year.  I worked with a guy who had lunch with Dick and he said Dick was one of the most foul-mouthed guys he had ever met.

We wanted to take a horse carriage ride but ran out of time and money.

We watched the fireworks at midnight from outside our hotel.

The next day, we left late and wanted to visit the Natural Caverns just north of San Antonio.  You see signs for this place all over Texas.  The signs all said they were open daily.  When we got there, it was closed - closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

We shopped at the outlet malls in San Marcos and in Hillsboro before returning home.  In San Marcos, I bought my first ever "Bose" - the Radio/CD II Music System.


A room with a view


The Alamo at night - Crockett Hotel in the background


The Alamo Christmas tree


The Riverwalk



A German Catholic church - St. Joseph's
"Siehe die Dohnung Gottes bei den Menschen den 8 Mai 1868" written on a stone in the outside wall


Riverwalk Mall


Waterfall by the river near the Marriot


Paul's photographic experimentation with a New Year's Eve party light, or is it Peter Gabriel?


Just before 2005 - some guys said "Happy Easter"


San Antonio or Fallujah?




The morning after (There's got to be...)


The Marriott - both of them


100 to 300 year-old Cypress trees align the Riverwalk


The Alamo on 1/1/2005