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November 2007

Leaving the USA/coming home

Who would have thought it.  The end of this adventure is nearly upon me.  It had been my goal after I got ill to get to go on this trip and now it is nearly over.  I haven't even thought about what I will do next.  Or nearly haven't thought.  I am going to try and return to work and pick up the pieces of my career again.

Pam drove me to the airport early in the morning for my flight to Houston.  There I managed to book my bags all the way back to Australia so didn't have to carry them again.  Two bags at maximum weight.  Then I had to sit and wait for the flight to LA. 

This wonderful panorama opened up below me when this flight got up in the air.  I had wonderful visibility and deserts and mountains, cities and hamlets could be seen below.  There were only  clouds in the distance and at one point I was a bit worried as I could see two lots of jet stream above.  However, those planes took off in another direction after a while.

We came in over LA and I was able to pick out the movie lots that you sometimes see in the beginning of films.


And the Storm drain that was in Grease.


The mountains stood out above the smog and LA went on forever.


I had about 5 hours to wait at LA and I made two terrible mistakes.  I ate part of a sandwich I had bought at Starbucks.  It didn't taste too good so I threw the rest of it away.  With my change I bought one of those neck support pillows for the flight back.  It was late by the time I get on the air NZ plane and I put on my neck support and got 6 hours sleep.  When we reached Auckland I found that I had supported my neck in the wrong position and had a migraine coming on.  And that part sandwich was off and I was sick.

I made it most of the way through the flight back to Brisbane.  I had to run for the loo a couple of times to throw up.  But by the time I got off the plane I was sick.  I don't recommend it but I did clear immigration and customs in record time.  They had me jump the ques and out the door to where my husband was waiting for me.  We had to stop a number of times on the way home and when I got there all I could do was to fall into bed.

So this was the end.  A fantastic trip.  I learnt so much, met the most wonderful people and saw the world.  Now I want to use these experiences to create.  To incorporate what I have learnt into my teaching.  So bring on the future.   


Time had rushed by and we still wanted to visit the village of Fredricksburg before the end of the day.  So into the car and off up the highway.  We saw the White Wings silos.


And flocks of birds sitting on the telegraph wires.


It is about a 2 hour drive to the village so we stopped for my first taste of an American Diner.  Cheap food and lots of it.


It was late when we arrived at the town and we only had an hour to look, and there was so much to look at.  It is a bit like Montville in Queensland or Berry in NSW.  Lots of beut shops.  Lots of great merchandise and very picturesque.


All to soon the shops shut and it was time to leave.  This is definitely a destination for next year.


We drove back to San Antonio through the wonderful light of the sunset.

San Jose

I have to apologise for the typos in the last posting.  To much haste I'm afraid.

2007_1107airports0114  San Jose is a large walled compound.  The walls have accommodation for the Indians built in them and there are ovens built all around this area.  By the time we arrived it was very hot.  The trees held the nests of weaver birds and everything baked under the hot dry sun.2007_1107airports0108

The church itself is impressive.

2007_1107airports0125_2  It must have looked wonderful when it was first constructed.  There are still traces of the outer wall frescoes to be seen and although much has been destroyed there is still a beauty about the place.


There was an alter for the day of the dead.  It was decorated with  cut out flags, candles and flowers.


I liked the colours of the bumpers and posts in the parking area.


Ghosts still remain in this compound. 


The Indians have gone but the Mexicans come for Mass and the choir is replaced by the Mariachi band.  That night I tried to take of photo of the Mariachis but it was out of focus or too dark.  Maybe this is a proper reflection of the past.


The Mission Trail

We were up and ready the next morning.  Only one day and so much to do.  The light is different in each country that I have visisted and this part of the USA is no exception.


We started with the Alamo, which is situated right in the heart of the city.  so many stories have spread out from this place.  Familiar names like, Davey Crockett and Jamie Bowie.  This old mission is a shring and Texans are asked to take their hats off and not bring fire arms into the building.  There is no photography allowed inside the building.


It is beautiful and stark. Cactus grow in most places and remind you that the desert isn't that far away.



The San Antonio Mission's National Historical Park starts at the Alamo and continues on through four other missions stations.  We only had time to visit the first three, and we could have spent a lot more time in each.  After the Alamo we got the car, typed in the address in the GPS and headed out.  It was a fine hot day and I could have done with my sunglasses and a hat.  I thought about buying a Texan hat but then thought about the ribbing I would get back home so left it behind.


Concepcion Mission is only a couple of miles from the Alamo, or Mission San Antonio de Valero, to give it it's correct name.  These churches are still used by local parishioners and have been in use since the 1600's.  Conception was covered with colourful geometric designs but they have long since faded.2007_1107airports0067_2 


Still, there are traces of the fresco's in the church and an alter to the Virgin of Guadalupe.  I have wanted to visit these missions since reading the story of the appearance of the Virgin to the Indians back in the 1700's.  Not only did she appear to them she also appeared to the disbelieving Bishop.


The well is still used and the cloisters are cool in the midday sun.2007_1107airports0093


It was here that we heard about the chapel of miracles.  This is in a small chapel in the city.  It isn't known to the tourists but is alight with candles of worshipers requesting a miracle.  We didn't have time to find it on this visit and when Pam went there it was on the only day the chapel closes.  Next year.

So much to do and so little time.

There has been so little time and so much to do that this blog was abandoned in preference for doing over the past few days.

We flew out of Houston on an early flight.  I managed to get up-graded to first class which wasn't as good as it seems.  The man next to me snored all the way to San Antonio.  (That sounds like a song title!)   We (Pam Holland and I) then decided to hire a car so that we could get around.  It took us until lunch time to work out how to work the GPS, but, this little problem sorted we headed for out hotel, dropped our bags and hit the pavement. 

The weather is similar to western Queensland, hot and dry.  The country side even looks like western Queensland.  The big difference is that there is water, seemly in abundance.  We took a walk along the river-walk which is in the centre of the city.  They have diverted the river so that there is a deep canal that runs through the main part of the city.  This was the original river bed but it kept flooding, which isn't good for business.  The river-walk is flanked by restaurants and shops.  The trees and flowers hang over the banks and canal boats do a busy trade for tourists.


Pam took me to a themed eating place called Wild Kingdom. Very Gold Coast very fake, but great.


We then walked down the river and headed for the Mexican Markets.  We had heard that they had dancing an music there on Sundays.  OH Boy!!  What a wonderful experience.  You can't describe in words the colour, the excitement and the atmosphere.  We have just past Halloween and the alters for the "Day of the Dead'  were still erected all over the city.  A bit bizarre to our culture but very relevant to Mexican culture.  This was all part of Mexico up until the 1840's and Spanish speaking residents outnumber English speaking.


The children danced.  So many dances that they all kind of melted into one.  But those little faces.  2007_1105airports0172


We stopped to listen to the music of young performers on the community stage.  They were good. 

Then we had dinner at the Mariachi Bar.  This has to be seen to be believed.  2007_1105airports0232



I was particularly taken with the bar.  It could have been taken from a western movie, yet was so modern.  The other thing was that Texans never take there hats off.


We walked back to the hotel, in the wrong direction and ended up walking three times as far as we should have.  Still it was a great day.  Tomorrow its the Alimo.

Last day in Houston

This is my last day here.  The weather is good and I have had a great day doing a workshop with eight great ladies all about making bags.

We spent some time talking about each presenter and what they hoped we would learn and then we rotated around the room listening to each one. Some of the presenters didn't really make bags but were quilters who could use their designs in bags.  This was the case with Elinor Peace Baily and Gail Garber.   But both had great ideas.

A young designer is Traci Baustista .The sewing is rough but the designs are great.


I also like all the bits you can buy here.  Maybe I will find them in a canvas shop?


There are great supplies at Ghee's and I love some of the design.

And the things you can do with silk ribbon.


Tomorrow we are off to San Antonio.

Quilt Festival Postcards

This cold is still making life difficult  but I have a squeak of a voice back.  But, my eyes are working well and there is lots to look at.  I had to call it a day early yesterday as I was at falling down stage.

Quilt Festival is divided into a number of sections.  The competition.  The retailers stall and the classes and lectures. 

The competition is huge, to big in fact to put on a blog, but in one section, Mixed Techniques, Linda Steele, from Melbourne, won first place with this piece.  There were quite a lot of pieces from Australia that were accepted into the competitions.2007_1101airports0027_2



The Retail section is much like ours at home only bigger.  They also include lots of antiques, jewelry and clothing.2007_1103airports0016  

One thing you have to be careful of are the drivers of these trolleys.  Talking to the owners of the business they have 150 carts that are pre booked for each day.

Quilt Festival Postcards


There is a quilt here honouring all the American service people who have died  in the current  conflict.  The quilt itself is not the most outstanding  quilt  I have ever seen.2007_1102airports0051

What  is memorable  is  how  the content  of this quilt  was  honoured here. Four soldiers in full dress uniform marched down the length of the convention centre with ceremonial flags.

They then placed the flags near the quilt and the American national anthem was sung.  All the spectators joined in.


I think of all the quilts that have been made for our Vets.  It is a shame we don't give them the same support.

Quilt Festival Postcards

There are so many quilts to see that it is quite overwhelming so I have decided to take snapshots of things that I have found interesting or those that have touched me.

Postcard 1       A Religious Triptych:
St Mary Triptych - made up of three very large quilts that were made as a commission for St Mary's church in New Mexico.  It was difficult to get pictures because there were so many people around this display.

Apparition of Mary


The Wisdom Quilt-the parish priests are have taken the role of wise men who received Jesus in the temple when he was 12.


The Resurrection