Hola & Aloha

The Republic of Texas

The Barwalk

Have you seen the movie Giant? If so, you might recognize this painting. 😉
bw8 bw9
From the Menger we went to a bar named Moses Rose’s, after the only man who chose to leave the besieged Alamo and on our way there we passed the Emily Morgan another historic hotel named after a figure critical to the Texas Revolution.
From there we headed to the Buckhorn Saloon which was established by 17 year old Albert Friedrich in 1881.
We ended our tour at a well known downtown establishment that holds a special place in my heart because my parents went on a date here. 😉
I always learn something new from Emzy, having someone who cares deeply about the city show off and discuss the history of some of its oldest gems, is truly an enchanting experience; I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone interested in learning more about the city, tourist or native. (As I mentioned previously you can find more information on booking a tour at http://www.sabarwlk.com.) On the way back to our car we passed by the Alamo again and another beautiful building downtown the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Hope you enjoyed a brief glimpse into some of the beauty that is San Antonio.
bw13 bw14


iPhone Fridays



iPhone Fridays


Short Sweet Sunday

A few of the bugs on today’s hike.




Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) III

In 1983 the San Antonio City Council ordained that the original name of “Japanese Tea Garden” be restored to the site.

In consideration of the number of Japanese-Americans who fought honorably on the side of the United States during World War II.

The Japanese Tea Garden is a beloved San Antonio place, for nearly a century it has been an oasis for visitors from around the world.

Described by “Architectural Record” as, “A remarkable adaptation of design to existing conditions”, the garden is a registered Texas Historic Landmark and listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

The Japanese Tea Garden’s timeless beauty will continue to enchant visitors for generations.

*The above picture was taken as an homage to my Mom who brought me here in the mid-eighties to photograph the garden, a similar picture taken by her hangs in the hallway of my house. The following shot is my favorite of this series, my husband helped me climb to a spot where I was able to shoot the garden from overhead and catch the San Antonio Skyline in the distance.

Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) II

The Jingu family remained in the home until shortly after the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Incident.

The resulting general fear and resentment by the American public caused the Jingu family to be removed from the garden and its name was changed to “Chinese Tea Garden”.

It was at this time that the Chinese-style entry was added bearing the inscription “Chinese Tea Garden”, this oriental-design, cement sculpted entry was purportedly designed by Maximo Cortez and constructed by Dionico Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez was a Mexican National who is credited with a number of cement structures in San Antonio.

He kept his techniques secret, working always in a tent using tools he made on site, from tin, wood, et cetera; his process consisted of a metal rod base on which he developed three-dimensional designs with layers of especially prepared cement.

He did not divulge either his process of cement sculpture or his process of coloring the cement layers.

He spoke no English and a few co-workers learned by observation only, he is credited with having created various other sculptures throughout the United States in addition to those in the San Antonio area.

Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) I

Normally I am the writer of what is posted with my pictures but sometime someone else has said it best. For  this series of posts what is written is actually what is posted on the plaques outside of the San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens affectionately known to locals as Sunken Gardens.

ImageThe idea of a Japanese Tea Garden was conceived by city parks commissioner Ray Lambert in the early 1900’s in an effort to beautify the rock quarries which had earlier been abandoned by the San Antonio Portland cement company.

ImageCommissioner Lambert enlisted the aid of a Japanese artist, Kimi Eizo Jingu, to assist in the design of an authentic Japanese Tea Garden.

ImageArtist Jingu had recently arrived in San Antonio with his family, had been employed by the US Army and was selling his watercolor paintings part-time at a shop in downtown San Antonio.ImageThe Japanese Tea Garden was completed and christened in 1919, having been constructed with prison labor and both corporate and both corporate and individual donations. Commissioner Lambert had given particular effort to achieving true Japanese design and had imported numerous plants from gardens existing in Japan.

ImageA house was constructed on the site using rocks from the old quarry and the Jingu family was moved into the house to act as overseers for the facility.ImageIn 1926 the Jingus opened a tea house in the upper level of their home. Before his death in 1936, Mr Jingu had become nationally recognized for his knowledge of teas.

Short Sweet Sunday

Enjoying the Sunrise =)

Short Sweet Sunday

For today’s SSS; I’m showing off some of my flowers, I love Hibiscus because they bloom daily and their vibrant colors add beauty to the house. Two of these Carolina Breeze and Oxblood are new and the last Fiesta is a favorite whose color never disappoints. Hope y’all have a relaxing Sunday.




Short Sweet Sunday

For this weeks Short Sweet Sunday I am including some night shots of downtown San Antonio, the first is of a store that was my favorite to visit as a child with my grandmother and the other two are skyline shots. Hope you are having a relaxing and restful Sunday!
San Antonio Skyline
Night Sky

Riverwalk at Christmas II

Welcome back to our boat tour of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year because I like all things sparkly and shiny, so I loved the way the Riverwalk looked and as a San Antonio native it is always awesome to hear the “OOO”‘s and “Ah”‘s of the tourists visiting our beautiful city. The Riverwalk while always alluring is simply magical during it’s Christmas transformation.
Magical Night
Coming underneath yet another bridge we can see the restaurant Casa Rio, while I have not had dinner there it has long been a resident of the Riverwalk and what a gorgeous view to have while you are eating; needless to say I have added dinner there during the next holiday season to my to-do list.
Casa Rio
Here we are approaching the bend before the Arneson River Theater which can also be entered from historic La Villita.
Almost to the Arneson
This picture gives you a sense of how many trees they have put lights on, there are some turns on the River where it looks like a lite forest.
Lit Forest
In some ways it reminds of a the Sugarplum Fairies as I think they would probably live in a place that looked magical like this.
Sugarplum Alley
The Tower Life building which opened in 1929 is both a landmark and historic building in Downtown San Antonio, it can be seen from many places in the city and is the only San Antonio building to boast gargoyles on the corners of its sides which makes it a favorite of mine.
Above the Treetops
Here we are almost upon one of the street level bridges, I am always in awe of how tall the trees are above street level.
As we pass under the Navarro Street bridge one can see the height of these trees, while they are rooted on the walkways of the Riverwalk these giants climb high enough into the air that their beauty can be appreciated even while driving or walking through downtown San Antonio.
Navarro St.
On Friday I will post the final shots from this journey, I hope that you will join me one last time on this holiday cruise.

Riverwalk at Christmas I

It has been quite a while since my last post and this post comes late, these pictures were taken at Christmastime and the reason it has taken me so long to post them is that I have returned to school and have been swamped with homework. However, over the course of Spring Break I took the time to edit these pictures so that I could post them. I hope you enjoy the magical beauty of the San Antonio Riverwalk during the holiday season; on our Rio San Antonio Cruise.
We began by the bridge that many tourists ask about, if they’ve seen the Selena movie; this is the one that Jennifer Lopez sat on and was kissed by the actor who was playing Chris Perez.
Selena's Bridge
There are actually a few of these bridges on the Riverwalk and this is the second one we passed. This is the first year that the city converted to LED lights and while I do miss the old lights, the reflections that the new lights cast on the water are amazing.
Second Bridge
One of the great things about the Riverwalk is that there is no shortage of eating establishments, they have something for everyone’s palate and you can enjoy the beauty of the season while sitting riverside while you dine.
River Dining
The building on the left is the Hilton Palacio del Rio, it was built for the Hemisphere World’s Fair in 1968 and is a modular building; meaning that each room was built and furnished independently and they were all helicoptered into form the building.
Palacio del Rio
The Marriott Riverwalk although a much newer building is just as impressive as it looms over the River and can be seen from several vantage point.
Marriot Riverwalk
This mosaic has been a part of the Riverwalk longer than I have been alive but has been named for Lila Cockrell, one of the city’s longest standing and most beloved Mayors.
Lila Cockrell Theatre
Most of the trees that are lite and line the river are Bald Cyprus and they are huge, climbing incredibly high into the air.
Bald Cyprus
The last picture of this post is of the Marriott again, I loved they way the lite the outside of the building creating blocks of color.
Color Blocks
Join me again later this week for more shots of our Winter Wonderland.

Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ The Butterfly Affair Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

One spring day this very photogenic butterfly kept posing for me to take pictures of, so I thought I would share them as a quiet Monday post. 🙂
Hopefully you enjoyed your time with him as much as I did.

To the Barrier Island we go… part 3

We’ve now arrived in what is probably the most well known part of Padre Island, Port Aransas. 🙂 The Horace Caldwell pier is on the public beach and a place I have visited many times before. The piers are not expensive to gain access to and worth the admission price to walk down to the end, see what other people are catching and get a different look at the town.
Horace Caldwell Pier
The lady at the gate said I should hang around until the cute fishermen came out at 6 o’clock but I’ve always been a little more partial to surfers.
This is Texas and we may not get the huge waves other places get but that doesn’t mean we won’t get out and catch a wave or two. It’s kind of hard to see but this young dude gave me a shaka when he saw mean snapping shots.
This kid was actually pretty good and you could tell he was having a blast.
Giving thanks
I like the way the sun reflected off the water in this next shot, I was out there late in the afternoon and the sun was getting closer to the bay.
Fading sunlight
As soon as I saw this guy I thought Pau Hana because if I lived here it is definitely what I would be doing after work.
Pau Hana
I couldn’t help myself I had to take a picture under the pier before I went to play in the water.
Under Horace Caldwell
My time on the coast had come to an end and it was time to go, I was leaving a different way than I came in and that was through the ferry, as a child I loved to get out of the car and look at the most traveled entrance to the bay; sometimes you could see big oil tankers coming and going, sometimes there are dolphins at play.
Time to go :(
This is how you know you got a good spot on the ferry and are likely to be one of the first ones off and on your way to Aransas Pass which begins the journey home.
Best seat on the ferry
These are but a few of the beaches in Texas and I very much encourage you to visit as many of them as you can but please, always remember to respect the locals as they maintain them and please pick up after yourself so that we leave them pristine and beautiful for others.

To the Barrier Island we go… part 2

Today we are under a level two heat advisory which means we are encouraged to get to or stay in an air-conditioned facility, so in order to stay cool I thought we’d head north on the Texas Gulf coast. I headed up 361 and out to JP Luby Surf park, since the waves were small there was… well, no one there but this dude was hanging out trying to catch some lunch.
Hungry Bird
It really was a gorgeous day and the water did feel awesome but as you can see there were no waves to be caught.
JP Luby Surf Park
Every once in a while I’ll throw in a self-portrait but because nothing I do is ordinary even these are a little off kilter, so yeah, this is me. 🙂
I then headed further north to Mustang Island State Park and was hanging out between the jetties when I found a little friend. Can you see my little buddy? He’s a little above the center of the shot.
Can you see him?
Ok, well, in case you didn’t find him … this is a close up of my friend. I’ve been catching these guys since I was a kid and when you chase them you tend to look like a fool running all over the beach looking down at the sand. I have always called them Sand Crabs but I think their proper name is Ghost Crabs because they are so hard to see on the sand. They get much bigger and tend to be nocturnal but will sometimes venture out during the day. Every time I look at this I think this poor little dude is probably thinking, “Please put me down lady!”
Ghost crab
Another bird, this guy wasn’t fishing as much as he was strutting around trying to look cool but I’ll give him props for owning his style.
Wading bird
Of course I had to climb up on to the jetties and this is my view looking out from them.
Looking off the jetties
From the left I was looking over to the right at what was at one time the mouth of Fish Pass; however, over time this water way has dried up and no longer continues from bay to beach so Fish Pass can now only be found bay side but the jetties are still here. You get some pretty cool wave breaks between them but it is rather narrow and the beach here has more broken shells than elsewhere as they are crushed against the rocks.
Once the mouth of Fish Pass
I walked out almost to the end of the right jetty and as you can see it was a really quite day, there were few fisher folk or water people out; the gulf itself was very quiet on this day too.
Mustang Island
So I say goodbye to the state park and headed north so I hope you’ll join me next time as we hit up the other edge of the island.

To the Barrier Island we go… part 1

So as promised we are headed out to Padre Island which is the barrier island for Corpus Christi Bay. I decided to be able capture as much of the island as I could I would head in from the south and drive north, so I jumped on South Padre Island Drive and cruised over the John F Kennedy Memorial Causeway to get to Padre Island. By the way, I did not take pictures of it but under the Causeway on the island side there is an excellent restaurant called Snoopy’s that I have been eating at for years; it is a great place to sit outside, grab a burger and enjoy yourself. Once I crossed the causeway I headed south on SPID and went out to the Bob Hall Pier…
Bob Hall Pier
a place I came many times with my father when I was younger, I can remember countless hours on this pier looking out into the distance…
Standing on Bob Hall
and fishing. There is nothing more relaxing than being out here for hours on end with the roar of the wind in your ears.
As with everything I have to crawl all over the place to get a different view but I learned how neat the bottom side of piers looked while hiding from the sun.
Piering out into space.
It was late morning on the beautiful Texas gulf coast, I could sit on the beach and stare out at the water forever but I do think the view would be a bit better if the drilling platforms were not out in the distance.
Quiet Morning
It was also way out there that you could see the coming rain, it is so awesome to watch rain approaching from so far away, to be able to see it falling in the distance while still sitting in the sunshine.
And then came the rain...
So I jumped in the car and headed north to the mouth of the Packery Channel which is bordered on both sides by jetties, as you can see there are some people kayaking just past the jetties.
Mouth of the Packery Channel
As I was walking back along the jetties to continue my voyage I saw something I have seen more of in Hawaii than in the Texas gulf a Honu or sea turtle, there were actually two and they seemed to be be dancing but I only got a good shot of the one.
The jetties are created by huge granite blocks which have been placed on either side; besides being a serene place to sit and listen to the water; it is an awesome place to observe the small sea life that teams around them. One just has to be careful as sometimes they are slippery and you can windup in the water a great deal faster than you thought. 😉
Edge of the Jetties
Soon we will head north and explore more of the island to escape the heat in the heart of Texas, the heat index was 110 degrees today so I hope the pictures of the coast made you feel at least a little cooler.

A Little Bit of Corpus Christi

So I feel bad I know I’ve been MIA forever and I must explain, I am an avid reader and if something really catches my attention it consumes me until I finish it; occasionally this happens with series of books, so then it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I recently watched the series “Game of Thrones” on HBO which then lead to the books, all five of them 🙂 needless to say I highly recommend them but now that I have finished them I am back and I promise not to be so negligent again … well, at least until the next book comes out.

I know I have been promising to take you to the coast forever, with the sweltering heat lately I thought we needed some visual relief so today, for the next couple of posts I am making good on my word. Recently I spent an afternoon and night in Corpus Christi and these are a few pictures from that adventure. Usually I pass through Corpus on my way to Port Aransas but I was in town for a short while so I decided to share some of it with you. These first few shots are some artwork that was posted outside of a tattoo studio that was down town. I thought it was cool that the artists chose to advertise by displaying some of their artwork on the side of the building. This first picture is Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, an icon often seen; I could do a whole blog post about her alone but for now I will say she will always remind me of my Grandmother.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
I have a thing for Dragons, many people say I myself am one (even though according to Chinese Astrology I am actually a Water Ox) but I thought this Dragon’s third eye was an interesting addition.
3 Eyed Dragon
This caught my eye because I thought it was a surf board design, upon closer inspection I realized it is not and it was probably just the shape that made me think that.
Roses & Daggers
BUGS!!! This piece reminded me of M. C. Escher.
I have this thing for looking up at things, one of my favorite things to look up at is Palm fronds; I will at some point in time spend a whole day looking up at a Palm tree just to humor myself.
Palm Fronds
The point at which it seems the street just ends is actually where the bay begins, so only three blocks away was the water.
Before the Bay
If you are going to cruise through Corpus often it is necessary that at some point you stop by the Selena Memorial, which I happened to do at 2:30 in the morning but I thought the dark shots came out cool.
She was a very talented young lady who was taken from this world too soon.
Selena Memorial
Mirador de la Flor (Overlook of the flower), one of the biggest hits was Como la Flor which the memorial is themed for and as you can see someone has given her fresh white roses.
Como La Flor
I was only in CC overnight and this is Corpus Christi Bay mid-morning, in the distance you can see our next destination.
Corpus Christi Bay
Tomorrow we head out to the Island.

Luminaria: Arts Night

Luminaria is an annual celebration of artists for every major discipline; one can find everything from dance, theater, poetry readings, music, painting, sculpture, and film, held at night it is a breath-taking sight to behold and one that as a San Antonio resident you definitely do not want to miss. Luminaria is located in downtown San Antonio at Hemisfair Park which was built-in 1968 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio and was also to host the 1968 World’s Fair.
Within the park is The Tower of the Americas, standing at 750 feet tall it has offered breathtaking views of the Alamo City for 35 years, it is surrounded by the six national flags that have flown over Texas. Texas was under the Spanish flag from 1519-1685 and then again from 1690-1821, under France from 1685-1690, under Mexico from 1821-1836, following which point we became our own republic from 1836-1845, in 1845 Texas joined the union and became the 28th star on the flag of the United States of America, however in 1861 with the outbreak of the civil war Texas flew the Confederate flag from 1861-1865, after the war we then returned to the glorious Star Bangled Banner which we fly to this day. You can see almost all of these flags surrounding the Tower in the photograph below.
Six Flags
The Institute of Texan Cultures has many collections and exhibits that document both the history and growth of our great state. This particular evening it was lite with both abstract art and a beautiful slide show.
Institute of Texan Cultures
Many artists are able to display their wares on the fair grounds and this display of colorful abstract art was quite a sight to behold.
Art on the lawn
This intriguing exhibit reminded me of colorful illuminated lollipops.
Lit lollipops
At the edge of the Lollipops was a striking illuminated rooster.
Cellophane Rooster
I’m not quite sure which mythical creature this person was but I liked their monochromatic theme and the attention to detail.
Mythical Creature
This giant sculpture is always on display but fit right in with all the other art exhibits that night.
I must say this piece really struck my fancy as The Lady in Red.
Lady in Red
She then promptly changed into the Lady in Blue.
Lady in Blue
When she metamorphosed once again I simply decided to call her the Lady.
The following is an homage to one of the favorite soft drinks of all Texans, even when we wander far from home we must always get a Big Red fix once we return.
Big Red
With the Riverwalk being one of the main attractions to San Antonio, it is quite easy to find other small waterways with in the area; I love that this one was lite up in blue.
Ice 9
Alas we say good-bye to Luminaria to which we will return again next year, I couldn’t resist one last look at the illuminated entrance to the park.
As well as a parting view of the majestic tower.
Distant Tower
I hope you’ve enjoyed a brief bit of Texas history and am excited to tell you my next post will be for someone very close to me as the pictures are some of their favorite ones that I have taken.