Road Trip Day 3: Big Hats, Bad Translations in Big Texas

It’s true when they say everything is bigger in Texas. The food is bigger, the days are hotter, the hats are massive and the experiences are more elaborate…

The day started with the largest waffle I had ever attempted to eat. And yes, it was in the shape of Texas. Dad and I soon got on the road for the short drive from Hidalgo to San Antonio.

We spent a total of 20 hours in San Antonio, arriving at our hotel around 11 am on Tuesday.

The visit started a bit humorous, like out of a National Lampoon vacation movie. We stayed at a small hotel I found on a travel site and it seemed to have decent reviews. The description listed its’ location as “steps from the Alamo.” While the staff was great, nothing could have prepared me for the lack water in the room. When I checked with the front desk, they just said “oh yeah I forgot to tell you we are working on the pipes for the next hour.” …umm ok?…. I decided to just go along with my day, praying we would have clean running water upon our return. We headed to the Alamo. Thankfully, we took the car, because “steps away” apparently means a mile in 104 degree weather.

San Antonio has a lot to offer and we did all the basics, The Alamo, River Walk, San Fernando Cathedral, El Mercado and much more.

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We ate a large lunch on the River Walk at the famous Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant for some proper TexMex. After a River Walk cruise we strolled the shops, until my dad decided he needed a large brim hat to protect himself from the sun. We were now on a mission for a hat… We finally stumbled upon a place right across from The Alamo that appeared to have every Mexican wrestling mask every created (we bought one for my brother). It was there that my father found his hat.

The monstrosity of a sombrero couldn’t have been any bigger, if not it would have been an umbrella on his head.

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My dad loved the hat. It reminded him of a sombrero he has in Mexico which he uses when he works in the farm. He said it would be a “sensation” (una sensacion) especially as he planned to use it for our upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon. (I will say a few people did complement my dad on the hat. Others just looked in bewilderment.)

These are the moments that it’s much better that I’m an adult and not a teenager traveling with my father. The 15 year old version of me would have been mortified and would have VERY vocally protested the massive sombrero. My current adult self still thinks the hat is silly, but am more concerned that my dad is happy and is protected from the sun with the sombrero/umbrella.

Now accompanied by his hat, we continued on our San Antonio adventure to San Fernando Cathedral. The historic church is amazingly beautiful. There we lit a candle in front of La Virgen de Guadalupe. (MORE PICTURES AFTER THE JUMP)

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Probably one of the most humorous moments of the day occurred during our visit to the market shops. We went to the Mexican bakery, picked our favorite treats and sat down for coffee. I asked the waiter for a cafe con leche. It is a very common coffee order in Miami and in my father’s Mexican home state of Veracruz. It is basically like a cappuccino (expresso and steamed milk.)

The waiter could not have been more confused. He tried his best, and literally translated my order for cafe con leche as coffee and milk. He brought us two regular cups of coffee and one large glass of ice cold milk (leche fria). My father and I could not stop laughing.

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We did a lot in San Antonio, an probably took a few hundred pictures between my father’s fancy camera, my click and shoot and our iPhones. I’ll post more photos later.

The day ended as it started, with a walk by The Alamo and the River Walk. By 8:30 pm we both felt exhausted and called it a night.

As we made our way back to the hotel I prayed for running water, as I mentally prepared a speech for a refund, just in case. The water was running when we turned it on, though the first spout of water made me quite nervous… Shortly after we both passed out as we prepared for another 5 am wake up call and our last driving day in Texas.

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