George Strait Concert & a Trip to Austin
As always, I’m typing this MONTHS after the fact, but this was one of the best weekends, ever, and I want to document it since it was Jorge and I’s first trip to San Antonio (not just passing through), ever :).
We were anticipating this weekend for MONTHS and I was almost in disbelief when Friday, May 31st came around.
We decided to leave that night, the night before the concert, and stay at a hotel either outside of San Antonio or in San Antonio to beat the traffic. We’d booked a room for Saturday night and didn’t bother to book one for Friday. We ended up leaving later than we’d planned, since we took our time packing (okay, who am I kidding–we left everything for the last minute, heh).
We ate dinner and were on the road by 9pm. We figured we’d be arriving in San Antonio, or nearby, by midnight or 1am. My favorite part about road trips is the music and the pit-stops at gas stations, but this time, since we were saving our bad eating for the weekend, we behaved. I only got a coffee and Jorge just got beef jerky and caffeine gum in Falfurrias to keep him awake for the trip.
I was nodding off after Premont, TX; I was being a bad co-pilot. But Jorge assured me that he was fine, to take a nap.
We arrived in San Antonio at 12:44am. Apparently I’d passed out for 44 minutes O_o. He checked us into a hotel and we quite literally passed out as soon as we got inside our room.
Woke up the next day, washed up and headed to breakfast downstairs. The selection wasn’t the best, but we had some eggs and sausage. Jorge surprised me by having a biscuit, so I surprised him by having a mini poppyseed muffin. I hadn’t had bread in so long that it was THE BEST THING I’D EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH. (That’s what she said.)
We had some coffee while we watched the news, which was all about the George Straight Concert. The parking was going to be insane, and they mentioned several options to try. I looked over at Jorge, worried, and he said, “We’ll be fine. Let’s try and check-in early at the Crowne Plaza.”
We showered and watched some TV then gathered all our stuff to check-out. It was lunch time, so we headed to the River Walk.
All the times I’ve visited San Antonio, I’ve never actually browsed the shops or eaten at the restaurants there. I’ve passed through several times; like once long ago when we did a ghost hunters tour, but that’s the closest I’ve come that I can remember. Jorge wasn’t having it. He said, “We’re changing that today, Baby!”
We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, which was awesome. The place was bustling with people already in their cowboy hats and boots, ready for the concert.
Our waiter–who was a character straight out of “Waiting”–threw himself into the chair across from me and, with a look of boredom on his face, took our drink order. Jorge waits for him to walk away before he asks me, “Have you ever been to Dick’s?”
I wasn’t sure if that was his introduction to a bad joke or not. I raise an eyebrow and say, “Um…no? Why?”
He explains how the restaurant has rude waiters (hence the name). “That dude should totally work there,” he says. LOL
I looked at the scrumptious lists of food but all that popped out at me was NACHOS. I hadn’t had nachos in a LONG time. They were glorious! Jorge had the pork carnitas. Hell, go hard or go home, hehe.
And of course we took photos while we were there. Too bad Jorge took the photo of me with his iPhone and the lighting in there combined with the flash made my already-existing under-eye circles look worse. Oh well. At least we got pics :).
We finished eating, browsed the artists’ memorabilia on the walls and purchased our Hard Rock glasses. Poor Jorge had a huge collection of them and well, this pyscho person he used to know broke all of them in a drunken fit of rage, so he’s on a mission to start a new collection. I told him I have no problem with that and I promise not to break them, heh.
We headed over to the Crowne Plaza, in the hopes that we’d be able to check-in a little early. The hoteliers had to know how packed the city was going to be so we were sure that they’d expedite the check-in time.
We walked into the hotel and it was beautiful. Sophisticated, nice colors. It even had a modern fish tank/waterfall that fell into a fountain in the middle of the room. We go to the front desk and tell the receptionist our name. She says, “Oh no. That room won’t be ready till after 3:30.” I tell her, “Check-in is at 3. We need to be in the room by 3.” She made an exasperated sigh and I didn’t see it, but Jorge said she rolled her eyes. We got out of there before either one of us said something we’d regret.
We had some time to waste, so we headed next door to the ajoining restaurant/bar. The place was quiet and empty. A waitress comes to our table a few minutes later and asks what we’d like to order. Jorge asks for a drinks menu. She blinks and says, “The bar is closed. Actually all we have is appetizers. It’ll take a while ’cause the chef just came in.” Jorge closes the menu and says, “Let’s go.” And we get up to leave. He was still fired up from the conversation with the receptionist, so I’m glad that’s all the poor waitress got to hear from him, heh.
We went to Best Buy to waste time. Jorge was looking for a lens for his iPhone and I wanted to look at the Bluetooth keyboards. I’d seen some on eBay but was skeptical about purchasing one since they were mostly from Hong Kong.
We were nervous about our camera lens; it’s not a professional camera, but when we went to the Eli Young Band concert they made us take the camera back to the car, so we were pretty sure it wasn’t allowed at the George Strait concert. I even made a pocket in my bag to smuggle it in, shhhh! But we spoke to one of the camera guys and he said, “Nah. That one will be fine. The lens has to be over 4″, and this one’s just under so you’ll be fine.”
Jorge found his lens and he insisted I get a keyboard so we got our purchases and we on our way. We were hoping Miss Ma’am back at the hotel was in a better mood by the time we got back.
Luckily, we had a more helpful receptionist this time, but it was still 3pm and we were asked to wait. I heard the manager giving people tips about the shuttles to and from the Alamodome. I asked, just to be sure, and she said the hotel shuttle would take us to the airport, the airport shuttle would take us to the concert and then they’d bring us back. But she wanted us to be aware that we probably wouldn’t be back till midnight. I said that was fine, we were expecting not to be back till around that time, but was she absolutely positive that they were bringing us back? She said, yes, of course.
We waited about 20 minutes until I heard the people behind us mention that they were going up to their suite already. I turned to Jorge, who’d heard this also and I said, “Ah hell no…” I spoke to the same manager, nicely, and told her, “They arrived way after we did and they’re already in their suite. It’s past 3pm…” She typed something up on the computer and told us to go ahead. I was annoyed, but at least we could go up and finally get ready.
We walked into our room at the top floor and, like Jorge said, “They redeemed themselves for making us late.” Everything about the room was wonderful; especially the champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and yellow spider mum flowers in the middle of the room. I went over to Jorge after I put our bags down and gave him a huge hug and said, “Thank you, Baby, this is so awesome!!” He smooched me, “Anything for you, Baby.”
It was already 4pm and we needed to get ready fast. Luckily, all I had to do was give my hair a quick re-do and change into my dress and boots.
We went downstairs, where we met a couple from South Padre Island, and we grabbed a shuttle together, along with another family. They dropped us off, quite literally in the middle of the airport parking lot. Nobody knew what we were supposed to do next. The family in the shuttle went to where the taxis were all corralled; it seriously seemed like all the taxis in the city were in there. I tell Jorge, “No wonder we couldn’t get ahold of one.”
We follow the herd of people aimlessly walking until we find a LOOOONG line. Speaking to some of the people and listening to conversations, we were in line for busses, not shuttles, and we needed to go to a little trailer up ahead and buy our round-trip tokens. It was effn’ hot!! We look down the line and think, “Hey, it’s not too bad!” Until Jorge goes to the trailer, comes back and says, “Yeah. It looks like it’s straight ahead, but no…it snakes around about 6 rows up towards the front.”
We walked. And stood. And a little boy in front of us screamed until his mom took him under the shade of an overpass. Everyone just wanted to get to under the overpass shade…it was cool there. Finally, after forever, we were there. As we got closer, the little token trailer ran out. There were some ANGRY people. We got on the bus around 5pm. They had to take a detour because of construction. The concert started at 5:30, and we made it to the Alamodome just in time. There’s a recording firing off rules on the loudspeaker. It was almost a creepy sight, as people walked liked zombies to the entrance, slowly, as they listened. The voice announces that non-professional cameras are allowed, and our bags will be checked. I’m frantically trying to feel for my camera in the bag, but I hid it so well that I can’t find it and I momentarily panic thinking I left it at the hotel. To my relief, I find it just as they scan our tickets and let us inside. Just like that. Panicked for nothing about everything!
The next few minutes are a frenzy of getting drinks and finding bathrooms, because we were NOT planning on getting up at all through the entire show. We find our seats and the guy next to Jorge keeps rubbing elbows with him, so we switch seats.
It’s not long before Martina McBride makes her way to the stage. That woman can sing BEAUTIFULLY live! I was so impressed. We took tons of photos. (These that I’m posting, though, are from my phone, heh.)
Next up was Miranda Lambert! We had no idea she was going to be part of the concert till about a week before, so that was an awesome surprise. I love her. Jorge said she sounded much better when he saw her the first time, around 2006 or so. She has some trouble live, but she does put on a good show (she was probably my favorite, heh).
This is around the time that our 24x zoom camera decides that it’s a good time to start dying. My heart sank. I almost had a heart attack. Jorge was visibly disappointed. How were we supposed to take pics of George Strait’s concert?!
We got over it fast, though. My phone still had plenty of juice. There was an intermission, and it was obvious when George Strait was making his way towards the stage with the ear-piercing screams. He starts out by telling us, “I hope y’all are ready for some stories!”
He started from way back in 1981, when his dream took off; and sang a song that corresponded to each story. He even sang a duet with Martina McBride.
He got to the part of his life when he starred in “Pure Country”; Jorge was POSITIVE he was going to sing “Pure Country”, the song, but…he didn’t.
Then the guy next to Jorge, who so happened to be from Brownsville and was very drunk, further annoyed Jorge by losing his footing and falling forward so that he’d spill his beer on the poor unsuspecting people in the row below us. Jorge had to grab him from his arm to help him regain his balance. He spent the rest of the night thanking Jorge profusely, to Jorge’s annoyance LOL.
George Strait had a few military families come up and receive awards, and he surprised them with homes and groceries from Walmart. I don’t know if it’s his age, or that he became tired during the break, but he sang a few more COVERS of other people’s songs and then waved and began to depart from the stage. Jorge and I nudged each other; we were sure he was going to come back for an encore like he did when we saw him previously. I mean, c’mon, the tour is called “The Cowboy Rides Away” and he hadn’t sang it, so he HAD to come back!
Only…he didn’t. The cheers were deafening; but they slowly died down when we realized he wasn’t coming back. It was strange even, and I’m pretty sure we weren’t the only ones who felt a little cheated.
But we got over it fast and decided to make a run for it; the buses were all lined up outside and walked quickly to the platform.
We missed the first bus, but got on the second. Whew. We got to witness a young blonde, blue-eyed girl flirt with a guy who wasn’t her husband (we knew he was out at the oil rigs…because she announced it O_o). We also knew her name was Mary Beth, because the guy she was flirting with kept belligerently yelling, “You…you’re an ANGEL, Mary Beth!!” every few minutes. Sure made the ride…interesting!
The bus dropped us off at the airport, at a little substation (#2) and everyone kind of looked around at each other wondering what the heck we were supposed to do next. People got on their phones and started calling their hotels for their respective shuttles, so we did the same. We couldn’t get through. It was 11:15pm. The shuttles are arriving, but they’re all from other hotels. I call again and finally get through. I’m so glad, and I cheerfully ask the receptionist if she can please send a shuttle over. My phone beeps that it’s got low battery. I tell her please hurry, my phone is dying. She says, “Oh. I’m sorry, you were misinformed. We don’t send shuttles out after 11pm.” I was in shock. I usually have great phone etiquette, but I’m so pissed off I yell, “What the hell do you mean?? The manager on duty at the time of check-in TOLD ME that they’d send a shuttle, even if it was after midnight!! It’s barely ll:15!!” The receptionist irritatingly tells me in a calm, sing-song voice, “I’m sorry, ma’am. Again, there’s nothing I can do.”
I was furious. I hang up on her and start Googling taxi services. The lines are all still busy. We spend the next 15 minutes trying to bribe other shuttles from other hotels to take us to ours, even if we have to walk a bit. No one obliges. I call the woman again at the hotel and I tell her she BEST reimburse me for my cab fare, IF we ever get a taxi. She says they can’t do that. I tell her their hotel has THE WORST customer service of all the hotels I’ve ever stayed at.
Then, like a bat out of hell, this Palestinian lady appears out of nowhere in her tan taxi and yells, “Hurry up! Get in!!” Jorge and I don’t even hesitate and jump in. We thank her profusely, and she starts telling us that the taxi’s aren’t allowed near the airport, but she knew the hotels were going to be jerks and she was taking advantage. She’s hilarious, telling people off, making fun of the skinny girls wearing short skirts. She says, in perfect Spanish with perfect dialect, “They don’t even have boobs or butts!” LOL. She’s driving like a maniac, but we’re seat-belted and glad we’re IN a car. She sees fellow taxi-cabs from her company and lowers her window. She yells, “The airport!! Lots of stranded people! GO!!”
He guy keeps saying, “Huh?” and she keeps repeating herself. She gets tired and says, “Ahhh, nevermind!! Damn Mexican!” We weren’t even offended, she was hilarious!!
She drops us off and charges us $12. She tries giving us change and we tell her no, please keep it, you saved us!
We barge into the hotel and without even saying anything the woman realizes who we are, probably from my crazed expression, flared nostrils and wind-blown hair. She immediately says, “Let me get the receipt book to refund your cab fare.” At least she did that right!!
Jorge and I go up to our room and realize that we’re positively starving. We hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime, not counting the chocolate covered strawberry we’d each had before we left to the concert. We get in our truck and search for an IHOP.
There’s hardly any people, surprisingly. I can’t quite decided what I want, and I want to behave but my eyes keep glancing at the strawberry cheesecake pancakes.
The waitress said I should enjoy them; it was their last night on the menu!! They were being discontinued for those blueberry pancake bites, or whatever they’re called :(.
I hadn’t had the cheesecake pancakes since 2010, and I can remember the night clearly, too. It was back before Jorge and I were ever together, but it was a particularly annoying night for me, when I found out that my ex-husband was texting all these lovely things with his little curly-haired co-worker, when he’d told me they’d already stopped talking. We were leaving Hillbilly’s due to this incident, and ended up at IHOP. But anyway, I digress. None of that’s important anymore.
So we ate, happily. We reviewed the night, and decided that although it was watered-down and not what we’d expected from George Strait, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride had a good show (though Jorge swears Miranda is now tone-deaf) and we still had a few more days of fun planned. I love the time we get to spend together :).
I slept so soundly, and was well rested the next morning when we were awoken by room service.
We ordered identical omelets, and the coffee was delicious! We ate while we watched “Fast 5”, then we showered and got ready to leave to Austin, where we were visiting Jorge’s mama and brother :).
We managed to leave during lunch rush-hour, so our 1-hour trip took double. We finally arrived at Dina’s apartment and chilled out momentarily, chit-chatting. Jorge stands there and asks Dina and Javi, “Have you all eaten?” They say no. Jorge says, “What are you all waiting around for then, let’s go!”
We were treating Dina to a late Mother’s Day lunch at Pappadeaux’s. The wait for seating was about 45 minutes or so. We were called in, but the table was awkward, so we asked to please be moved. We ordered our drinks (non-alcoholic, initially), which took about 20 minutes, along with bread, to get to us. We blamed it on asking to be moved, but hoped we were wrong. When our waiter brought our drinks, we ordered a fried ‘gator appetizer…which took forever to get to us as well. Jorge and I each ordered drinks:
THOSE took about 20 minutes, and the ‘gator still hadn’t arrived. Our waiter was trying to be humorous and keep us entertained, but the guys were growing antsy. We looked around and noticed that there were still TONS of people waiting outside…but the restaurant was half-empty. We attributed to them being short-staffed in the kitchen, hence our food taking long.
Jorge and I hadn’t really drank much since being on our diets, so it hit us pretty fast. We got the giggles, and then we were just being annoying LOL. But it helped distract from the fact that we’d been waiting for our food for 1 whole hour!!
When we hit the 2-hour mark, I told myself: THAT’S IT!, and asked to speak to a manager. The girl was sweet, and said the food was on its way and they’d not only deduct a portion of our bill, but send us free desserts.
(It took me 2 whole days to finish that. With Dina’s help LOL)
Let’s not mention the fun that was made at Jorge’s expense for ordering a Creme Brulee LOL. He wasn’t amused.
We were surprised by the very generous amount that was deducted from our bill, AND the $50 gift card that was gifted to us by the manager (aside from the free desserts). I have to say, they made up for it big time!
We spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV at the apartment, and then we went to the movies in the evening to watch “Hangover 3”. It was, of course, hilarious. The 4 of us laughed the entire time.
We ate breakfast the next morning, and then we all loaded up in Dina’s truck and went to my happiest place on earth: IKEA!!
We’d budgeted for several things, including something for the still-bare living room wall and patio furniture.
We initially wanted some of these mirror tiles for the living room wall:
But went for this other mirror I’d had my eye on for a while:
We also got a shiny black cabinet for under the TV, which I’d wanted for years :D.
We wanted to get these for each one of the boys:
But they weren’t in stock. Boo!
After a lot of walking, we had lunch:
I look forward to that fish all year! Hehe!
We found our patio furniture on the way out, and picked out all the things we were buying from the warehouse. We loaded the truck, got to the apartment, loaded the IKEA things and our bags in the truck and said our ‘see you laters’. I always miss them! They’re a blast :).
We turned on our navigation and looked for a theatre. Of course we would catch rush-hour traffic, but we got there just in time.
I was amazed by the concessions at the Palladium; not only was there a Starbucks, there was a huge room with all the drinks you can think of! You just pay $5 for your large cup and you can refill as many times as you’d like, with anything you’d like! Too bad the movie, “After Earth” was about to start and I didn’t want to move from my seat the entire time LOL.
So we headed home after the movie, which always feels like it takes an eternity. We stopped for dinner at Whataburger in Falfurrias, and vowed to get back to the Keto diet once we arrived home. The trip had its not-so-good moments, but all-in-all, it was the best!!