Monday, April 16, 2007

san antonio

Recently I was at the Texas Library Assoction Conference in San Antonio Teaxas. I don't have many impressions of San Antonio, not because San Antonio isn't interesting, but only because I didn't see too much of it. I was lured by all the book exhibits, so I didn't get to do too many touristy things.
But I did get to see the Alamo!

Sad to say, but this is all I got to see of it. I lost all sense of time in San Antonio, because it is so bright and sunny out. Even at 7 pm it felt like the sun was shining overhead. So, I arrived thinking it was still early, while in reality the Alamo had been closed for over an hour.

But the outside was still interesting. Lots of plaques naming all the people who died and the heroic last words of the fallen. The building itself is a bit smaller than I imagined. The movie makes it seem a lot bigger. I don't remember clowns in the movie either.

Since I was wandering alone, I have no pictures of myself with the Alamo. This is the closest I could come up with, which is my shadow on the Alamo placard. It was very hot in San Antonio, 80 degrees! In my hand is a ice-cold cherry icee that melted within 10 minutes.

And there was also a penny press machine! Probably not very authentic to history, but I have to admit it filled me with excitement. I started a pressed penny collection last year that has, unfortunately, hit a slow patch. Seeing this has inspired me to continue the collection, which I'm cataloguing at my Pacy's Pressed Pennies blog.

It was a good thing that warmed me to the cockles of my heart because the first thing Robert said to me when I returned to Boston was, "We're having a Nor'Easter tomorrow. They think it'll snow."

Ah, I just rubbed my pressed penny and imagined it was the sun shining from San Antonio.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

fabulous las vegas

4.22.06: Robert and I wanted to go to Europe, but settled for Vegas and the Paris hotel instead. Complete with a Eiffel Tower replica, what more could you want? I admit, I always feel slight twinges of guilt as I enjoy the sparkling fountains and the faux canals, considering the scars which were probably forced upon the earth to create this man-made oasis. But in the end, where else can one meet a klingon, see breath-taking shows (we love cirque du soleil, by the way--go see KA) and lose money yet still feel happy? So, I gave in to the sheer decadence and welcomed all of fabulous Las Vegas...just like the penny says.

the first pressed pennies

3.23.06:Thanks to my attempts at a Year of the Dog promotional tour, Robert and I have been traveling almost non-stop. And with this new occupation, my new hobby is to collect pressed pennies. Yes, it is sort of a dorky, touristy thing to do, but I love it. Having had my fill of easily creased postcards and unattractive photos, I decided that the pressed penny was the superior travel souvenir.

Now, one usually only runs into pressed penny machines by sheer coincidence. After obtaining my first penny and declaring my intention to start a collection, Robert scoffed at me.

"How are you going to start a pressed penny collection? We only know where one machine is," he said.

Ah, but he did not count on the power of the internet. With a little bit of determination and a lot of googling I found a map which marked pressed penny machines all over the United States. I also found an entire subculture of pressed penny collectors. See, I'm not the only one!

And with this map, I monopolized post and pre-event time with mapquest instructions to obscure locations. Robert moaned and groaned; and when friends asked how we spent our day Robert was purposely vague, embarrassed that we had spent our afternoon searching for a penny machine.

However, as the penny collection increased, Robert actually began to enjoy it. We were seeing parts of cities we probably would never have gone before. Who knew that the Desert Botanical Garden could be so fascinating? Or Old Tucson so deliciously campy? Thanks to my penny search, we were suddenly mastering the art of untried travel. No longer bogged down by going to places because we thought they were interesting, we were now going to places that sounded incredibly dull...yet were actually captivating. And even if the places were more on the tedious side, the traveling to get there was not. Each penny search became an adventure where we were encountering new and fun things; a memory for us to cherish and remember.

"It's kind of like a treasure hunt, this penny thing," Robert said to me.
"Yes," I told him, "I guess it is."