Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Farewell to Texas

After two and a half months our time here is almost up. On Saturday we swap grey, overcast Texas for, well...... grey overcast Hobart, if the forecast is anything to go by. Not much to chose between the temperatures, apparently.

We have had a couple more adventures since Thanksgiving. We went into downtown San Antonio and visited El Mercado, the Mexican market. This has a huge range of stuff from absolute tat to wonderful colourful ceramics, textiles etc., but our problem, as on previous visits, was to stop boggling and actually make some decisions about purchases. We managed a few and the girls bought us a beautiful glazed sink in a sort of peacock pattern that will eventually find its way to the shack at Boat Harbour.

El Mercado mural
San Antonio is a Spanish city

El Mercado street

Weird creatures

And always the Day of the Dead

But then there's the Texan influence!

And last weekend we all went down to Port Aransas, on the Gulf coast, to stay in an apartment at the Aransas Princess condominium, which looks fairly gross from the outside, but is pretty good when you are inside, looking out at the view. Port Aransas is a summer getaway from San Antonio, but people were a bit dubious about our going there in the winter, and indeed we managed to choose the coldest weekend so far, so cold that there was even sleet and frost overnight! These are rare events in what they call "Tropical Texas". It was a lot of fun; the first day was cold and stormy, but on Saturday the skies cleared, and although it was still cold by local standards, it was a glorious day for our boat trip.

Sitting out the storm at Port Aransas
All busy in our various ways

Tropical Texas!
Jeannie well wrapped for a walk along the Gulf coast

Cold and frosty sunset
The Corpus Christi skyline floating like a mirage

One of the reasons for visiting was to get to see the Whooping Cranes. These are highly threatened birds, with a wild population of a bit over 200, which breed in Northern Canada and then fly south in family groups to overwinter, and feed up on blue crabs, in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The best way to see them is from the water, so Jac, Jean and I drove down to Rockport and joined a tour on the "Wharf Cat" which lasted for about four hours. The boat took us down the interstate waterway that runs inside the barrier islands and carries a heavy traffic of barges filled with various fairly noxious petroleum products. But it also runs alongside the wildlife refuge, and sure enough, there were the cranes, usually mum, dad and a well-grown chick, each family on the territory that they return to every year. At about 5 ft tall they are impressive birds, but there was so much more to see: hundreds of waterbirds, dolphins, a couple of coyotes etc etc. We were well-pleased with the trip, though we were glad to be well rugged-up.

The Wharf Cat getting ready to leave Rockport

Serious camera gear coming on board
Jac said it made her feel inadequate
I was so overcome with the birds that I took no pictures at all, but keep an eye on Jac's blog!

They are out there
But very torpid under these conditions

Needless to say, we ate well too!

Gulf shrimp, Jac-style
So good

And now we have to face up to tidying up, getting the bags packed and wondering how far over the baggage allowance we are going to be. At least with Jo and Jac coming home in a few months we can any serious excess with them. We'll miss them all, of course, especially the Smallest One, but knowing that they will be home soon draws the sting from saying goodbye.

See you in Hobart, Marty Roo


  1. What a fantastic trip and a nice ending, but it did look cold. You will be missed terribly and I am sure that in the short time from now till April, you will see great changes in Marty Roo :-o)
    We thank you again, for all you have done for the girls, to enable them to go to work, knowing their son will be well looked after by his special grandparents.
    Safe journey home.

  2. It's been great to read your posts... safe journey home and look forward to reading posts again from there :-)

  3. I wish we could keep you forever! Not so you can look after Marty but just so we've got you nearby! Apparently some people find living with their parents hard work . . . not me! We'll have to ration Jeannie's bread so there's still some in the freezer when Auntie Ruthie gets here!

  4. Ha! Word verification was cheerap do you think it's trying to tell me something?

  5. Oh, dear Jo-Jo, it will be alright, the time will fly by and your pars will be nearby again forever! Yay! Love Britt.

  6. Welcome back Traveling Bears from the Wurfs! We loved being able to follow your blog. Sounds like the long trip back was a bit hard? Will we be able to catch up with you before Christmas? I shall call you and find out! Love, Susie and Co.

  7. Lovely to catch up again. I expect yopu are homw and unpacked by now1
    The roo has shot up while I've not looked at the blog. He'll be off to Uni before we know it! Kate

  8. We hope your journey was not too stressful, and that you are safe on Aussie soil, by now.
    Look forward to some more blogs, as they are incredably interesting and a completely different style to Jac.
    Look forward to some more Posts, just so that we can still share that link. Hope all goes well.