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5:54pm on Saturday, 10th April, 2010:



San Antonio has two main tourist draws. The principal one is the Alamo, which looks like this in the rain:

Texans seem to view this much as the English do the Tower of London: an historical monument of immense significance that they've heard of all their lives and which, when they see it, turns out not to be as big as they thought it would be.

The other tourist draw is the Riverwalk. The San Antonio river has a kink in it, which used to flood. Some flood-prevention work was done which added a bit more waterway and stabilised the river's banks, with the result that there's now a very agreeable walk alongside it below street level. Here's what it looks like at 8am when the restaurants aren't open even though tourists are looking for somewhere to have breakfast:

The riverwalk seems to serve the same purpose as Minneapolis's skywalk: to help make the extremes of weather more bearable. In Minneapolis, this means raising you above the ground and keeping out the wind when it's snowing; in San Antonio, it means keeping you in the shade alonside a cooling river when it's bakingly hot.

Here in Las Vegas, the hotel I'm staying in combines the two:

That's a watercourse, under cover, one floor up from street level. The artificial sky, contraty to what I reported last year, does not move; it merely gives the impression of moving when you walk. If you stay still, the sky also stays still. It's quite an effective illusion.

The Minneapolis skywalk, the San Antonio river and the Hotel Venetian grand canal have something else in common, too: I didn't see fish swimming in any of them.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).