11 February 2007

Still deep in the heart

So, my folks roll me into Harlingen Valley International at 6am only to discover that my flight to Houston this morning was cancelled due to fog. I've been rescheduled on an earlier morning flight tomorrow from Brownsville that is supposed to get me into Calgary around 12:30pm. Since Brownsville is an hour's drive from Weslaco, I'm probably getting dropped off tonight since the flight is at 6:15am. This is all quite unfortunate as I had already mentally prepared to leave here and return to the wintry north.

I am supposed to be in the office tomorrow and was planning on taking another flex day because of the delay, but just now checking my email I have a mandatory meeting tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 so I guess I won't be taking the day off after all.

The weather here has been less than stellar to say the least. We had only one day of sun and it has been downright shitty since Wednesday. I went up to San Antonio with my folks on Thursday and it was so cold there I had to buy another jacket since I had only brought light clothes for the trip and left my winter jacket in Weslaco!

Despite the cold, San Antonio was still a great place to check out. S.A is about the same size as Calgary but doesn't appear to have the same level of downtown activity. It actually seemed quite weird that while the weather was cold, there was no one around. People were even walking around Thursday night and Friday morning with toques and gloves! I mean, really. It was still 10C out! While there, we checked out the Alamo, RiverCentre, Hemisfair, La Villita, and of course, the Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk is a fantastic development. I only wish I could have experienced it on a warm evening and day when there would have been a lot of people out and about. I did manage to run the entire thing on Friday morning (when it was only about 6C), and the full walk system goes far to the north and south along the San Antonio River than the main walk areas. I ran the whole system north to south and it took about 50 minutes. The entire system is completely built-up and landscaped which makes it very beautiful with lots of fountains, greenery, trees and lighting. The main section is lined with restaurants, retail and lounges all on a level below street level. This is all in stark contrast to Calgary's river pathway system which is largely undeveloped and wild. I'm not sure which look I appreciate more, but San Antonio certainly has something good going for it with this setup!

The rest of the week has just been hanging out. I've been to McAllen to do some shopping with dad, done a lot of running and gym workouts, and went across the Rio Grande to Mexico on Tuesday while dad was getting some dental work done. All I brought back from Mexico this time was a bottle of duty-free vodka!

In my typical brainless fashion, I overcompensated for the lack of sunlight by spending all day Wednesday on the South Padre Island beaches sans sunblock while my mom and dad and their friends were at a Winter Texan Snowbird Extravaganza appreciation thingy at the SPI Convention Centre. I ended up with a wicked killer sunburn. The pain is tolerable today and it is starting to nicely peel on my face, chest and shoulders. I walked ten miles (ten!) up and down the beach. The mist was slow to lift during the morning so I figured I was getting some natural sunblock, but it was the early afternoon when most of the damage was done. I was wearing my backpack while traipsing up and down the miles of beach which left a couple of really cool distinctive lines on my shoulder to add to the effect, sort of like a candy cane if you will. It all screams 'LOSER' in my books. I can't believe I did that and I'm certainly getting what I deserved. It certainly made the cleans and squats in the gym yesterday a little timid!

It has been rainy and foggy since Friday night, so since I'm spending an additional day here with no chance of a pooldeck chair afternoon, I'm heading back to the outlet mall in Mercedes. What a wicked place! Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Gap, Burberry, Banana Republic, Skechers, Adidas, Puma, Nike...lots of great deals.

We did a traditional over-the-top Tex-Mex style dinner at a locally-owned restaurant last night lovingly called Fat Daddy's. I'm still full today while the fat globules slowly move closer to my lining of the walls of my heart. There's more than a few good reasons why everyone here is disgustingly fat, and one of the is the insane number of all-you-can-eat buffets and Texas-style restaurants all over the place. Oh yeah, and the complete lack of sidewalks, public transit, or taxis. Being a pedestrian here is an act of madness as any venture against traffic on the main roads is putting your life into your own hands. And the vehicle congestion in these small cities like McAllen look like they belong in a city five times the size. The 83 Expressway is a traffic jam. How soul-crushing is all that? Oh well, as long as the little white Texan women in their Hummers don't lose the signal on their cellphones while going through the Starbucks drive-thru, I guess everything is alright in the world for now.

Sorry - bit of digression there. It's been a nice week, but I can't say I'm coming back all that more relaxed. I've been able to stop thinking about work for a week, but that's all come to an abrupt end today. Screw it - I've got 18 more hours - time to go shopping. When in Rome....

Talk to y'all when I get back!

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