I don’t wear a watch— and not just because my favorite portable sun-dial broke last year. I purposefully don’t wear a watch because I can’t stand being a slave to the clock. Since I don’t pay much attention to the time, I’m typically running late for things. I know, I know, being on time is important and all that. But what if you’re en route to meet a friend and you come across a double rainbow? That’s like two rainbows, at the same time. Double the rainbows means double the gold…— and gold trumps friendship, right? Okay— not the best example. But things come up. Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes something really bad happens and stands in the way of you being a punctual person. But the fact of the matter is, it’s a really refreshing feeling to just stroll through life at your own pace.
Last week, I spent a few days in San Antonio, Texas for a friend’s wedding. On my last day in this colorful town, I took a stroll along the city’s popular River Walk in the downtown area. The River Walk is filled with a few of my favorite things: authentic margaritas, great places to snap some cool photos, street art, food… so much food, and people leisurely strolling along a slow-moving body of water.
This area of town makes it easy to forget where you were going and hard to pass up an empty seat on a restaurant patio. And the best part is, when you answer the beckoning call of that empty seat, there are people there just waiting to bring you freshly-made guacamole, and pork tacos, really good refried beans, and tequila. Tequila for everyone! And because you’ve officially lost track of time, and have nowhere to be and nothing to do but discover a new city at your own pace, it’s totally cool if you veer off of the River Walk for a little while to savor the picturesque scenery of the San Fernando Cathedral in the main plaza. Dating back to 1738, this Catholic church is a breathtaking example of American Colonial and Gothic architecture, with a church square so inviting, even the pigeons seem to be playing a role. It’s one of the best places in downtown San Antonio to get lost in the moment.
Unlike the serene vibe illuminating the San Fernando Cathedral, the scene at the Alamo is chaotic and pushy. Day-dreaming about the people who have stood on the same ground beneath your shoes dating back to the late 1600’s isn’t easy to do when eager tourists wielding digital cameras and loud tour guides are constantly keeping you on the move. Historical facts spewing from the loudspeakers of passing double-decker busses, and rehearsed employees marketing their business to passerby's on nearby streets is the scene you’ll find at the home of one of the most pivotal events in the Texas Revolution. If you’re planning a trip to San Antonio, you should pay a short visit to the Alamo— and touch the centuries-old stone that triumphantly emerges from sacred ground now surrounded by the inevitable sights and sounds of modern-day city life.
And when you visit downtown San Antonio, do us both a favor, and leave your watch at the hotel. I don’t care if it’s a shiny new Rolex. Leave it behind. And resist the urge to share up-to-date moments with your 35 Twitter followers and loads of close Facebook friends. Get so lost in the moment that you end up in a patio chair of a busy outdoor bar called the Friendly Place, just south of downtown, drinking in a cold Pacifico, the surreal colors of the sunset, and a day well-wasted.