My First Solo Travel Venture: San Antonio, Texas, USA – Part 1

April 10, 2019

It’s been more than a week since my trip to San Antonio, Texas and I’m still at an awe to how much fun and how amazing it felt to do something/to experience something like that: a SOLO TRIP.

I originally planned this trip to witness the Jersey Retirement of my favorite basketball player of all time, Emanuel Ginobili, player of the beloved San Antonio Basketball Team, the Spurs.

As soon as they announced the event, I bought my game ticket and a week later, my plane ticket. It took me a while to actually book the hotel just because I got cold feet with the idea of doing or going somewhere alone but I had to, everything was already set!  

As I am on my way to the airport, I keep thinking, “I am actually doing this just to see a player retire his jersey. People are going to think I’m crazy.” But I came to the conclusion that I didn’t care, so the theme of my trip was: “I don’t care what people thought”. Everytime I got myself in a spot where I’m questioning doing something due to people’s opinions, I reminded myself that I didn’t care and it made my trip so much more enjoyable.

So, I took on the journey and went to San Antonio with an open mind.

I decided that my first stop would be the Japanese Tea Garden, right next to the zoo. I decided on taking the bus to get there. The bus stop at the airport was pretty easy to spot.  Two bus rides and I am at the garden but I realized that I was going to wait another 30 minutes for the second bus to arrive so I decided to just go for the walk. I stumbled upon Trinity University and roamed around campus for a bit then I stumbled upon the San Antonio Zoo. In the area is an open field with a little train track that actually comes from the zoo, pretty cool. The little zoo/garden are is a good running spot, I did see a couple of runners in that area too.

The Japanese Tea Garden took me by surprised. I didn’t realized how beautiful it was. I did some research and saw some photos beforehand but I did not think it was that beautiful. They have a little fall, so many flowers, plenty of fish in the ponds and some old structures around the area. There’s also some short trails that you could walk to that leads to the zoo. It was really short though and a some up hills that can be very tiring for Florida folks since we rarely have any inclines (lol I struggled a bit walking back).

After enjoying the relaxing scenery, I went and looked for some food. Thankfully, there was a BBQ place right next to the garden, Augies BBQ.  I ordered a Fried Brisket Sandwich (I think it was called Matador Sandwich). It was so yummy and all I wanted to do after eating (devouring that sandwich) was take a nap. So, I took an Uber (first time riding one alone) to my hotel, took a 3 hour nap and then went for a 2 mile walk/jog/run around the Downtown Riverwalk. It was challenging to find a route for that due to the crowd and of course not knowing exactly where I was but I made it work and ended up finding a spot in the Riverwalk that seemed to be less travelled that made me feel super adventurous (lol). I make myself sound like I don’t go out much but truthfully, I do, I just get overly excited about things (I think that makes me unique, lol).

After my run, I got ready for the game. I took the bus to go to the AT&T Center, which I loved. There is a sense of independence that I feel every time I take public transportations alone, living in Jacksonville, FL. we basically don’t really have access to public transportation. So taking the bus was a thing I am proud of. I don’t think anyone would ever understand that.  

The game was of course exhilaratingly fun. I enjoyed it very much even though I was alone. I got my “Gracias Manu” hat, my tissue (for the retirement ceremony) and a little poster thing that had Manu’s photos.

Although my seat was all the way to the top, it did not feel like I was watching ants play basketball. So my seat was high but I still felt like I was close enough to the players. I sat on the Spurs side, right in front of where Manu’s jersey was going to be hanged and retired. I also saw where Manu sat while watching the game (so close yet so far!). For the first half of the game, I was roaming around trying to take Manu photos at all the spots they had set up. All the championship trophies they won were right next to Manu’s backdrops. It was pretty cool. I was not able to take photos with all of them though but that’s ok. I was anxious to find a good souvenir and also to watch some of the game so I didn’t really feel like standing in the longer lines just to take photos with fake Manus.

The game was exciting. When I started watching it, it was the last couple of minutes of the 3rd quarter and the whole 4th quarter. It’s so exciting to be in a home game of your team. Mills scores a last minute 3 pointer that made the win for the Spurs apparent. He even said he did it for Manu, who really knows. The Spurs came a long way from where they were in the beginning of the season to where they are now. It’s kind of neat to witness their progress and actually seeing it in person. (They are going to the Playoff’s despite the odds not being in their favor in the beginning of the season, how amazing is that?)

The ceremony was to start after the game which kind of took me by surprised since the game was a late game. But it was fine, I just wanted to be there. The ceremony started 30 minutes after the game. I contemplated getting up and using the restroom, thankfully, I did! (Haha, just thought to put that out there.) The speeches were touching and I really thought I was going to cry but I didn’t. Manu is such an awesome player and he has great appreciation for his fans, colleagues and especially to his family. I admire that very much and I’m sure a lot of his fans do too.

After the game and ceremony, I set out to do another Uber venture. Share a Ride was set in Lot 5 of the Parking Lot which coming out from the doors by Row 125 will be on the far left, I mean far far left. I’ve been in that parking lot before but I still didn’t know where to go. I had to google it and follow some folks around to get to where they had pick ups set up. I think it was pretty organized but it still took my Uber awhile to get to me, maybe they could do better. I contemplated riding the bus back to my Hotel just because of how long it was taking for my Uber to reach me but who knows what was out there that late of the night, so I’m still glad I took Uber. Finally, my Uber ride got to me and I was able to get to my hotel safe and sound.

Well, that’s it for my 1st day in San Antonio. I decided to make this trip a two part blog. I was only there for two days but I have so much thoughts about my experiences that it became apparent to make it a two part blog!

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed the actual trip and I hope this encourages you to go for one too, a SOLO TRIP!

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