Thursday, January 19, 2017

Weekend Reflections

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January 2017 - Las Vegas NV

In Harrah's, that's us in the middle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Year of the Rooster

January 2017 - Las Vegas NV

One of my favourite places to visit in Las Vegas is Bellagio to see the latest floral display in The conservatory. Some of the elements used were familiar from other displays.

2012 Christmas
2013 Christmas
2014 Spring
2014 Christmas
2015 Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year 2017 is the Year of the Red Fire Rooster. It starts from January 28th 2017 and extends up to February 15th 2018. This is the year when you will need to work hard and be patient in order to achieve your goals.


Another aspect of this is lunar New Year 2017 is whether it is a Yin year or a Yang year. This Year of the Rooster is ruled by the fire element and it is a Yin year.


As the element for the Chinese year 2017 is RED, do not use red in your clothes and accessories. Red colored stones like ruby, garnet and pink topaz too are better avoided. Instead, use colors that will complement the red and fire element. Earth colored items like brown or yellow are most suitable for all the 12 Chinese zodiac signs in 2017.

According to Chinese astrology, the Rooster years are known to be filled with integrity and efficiency. Hard work is the key to achieving success in this Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year 2017 predictions suggest that this year can beneficial in your career and financial investments. But time your business ventures well if you want to take advantage of the most profitable periods. Also try alternative healing therapies to keep stress at bay so that you can use your potential to the maximum.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tuesday Treasures

Tom hosts Tuesday's Treasures.

January 2017 - San Antonio TX

Overshadowing the Alamo is the Emily Morgan Hotel.

We were curious so we stepped inside. It is a Hilton hotel. Hilton often buys old historic buildings and renovates them.

So who was Emily Morgan?

The Battle of the Alamo (February 23-March 6, 1836) is considered by many historians to be the turning point in Texas’s fight for independence from Mexico. Six weeks after the battle at the Alamo in April of 1836, the Texan and Mexican armies moved their confrontation to a small prairie called San Jacinto. During siesta time on April 21, 1836, the Texas army led a charge against the Mexican camp. General Santa Anna, leader of the Mexican forces, had posted no guards, and the Texans won the decisive battle in less than an hour.

Folklore states that the Mexicans’ slow response to the Texans’ charge was due to General Santa Anna being otherwise occupied and entertained during his siesta by Emily D. West, a twenty-year old black indentured servant who had been captured along with other members of her household by the Mexican forces on April 16, 1836. Emily was indentured to Colonel James Morgan, and custom at the time dictated that indentured servants take the surname of their master, hence the reason she is more widely known as “Emily Morgan.”

Though there is no official account of a woman in Santa Anna’s tent at the time, a journal entry written in 1842 by British traveler William Bollaert planted the seeds of Emily’s legend: “The Battle of San Jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owing to the influence of a mulatto girl belonging to Colonel Morgan, who was closeted in the tent with General Santana (sic), at the time cry was made, ‘The enemy! They come! They Come!’ She delayed Santana so long that order could not be restored readily again.” While the loss of the battle is officially attributed to the overall carelessness of General Santa Anna, the folk legend of Emily Morgan’s role in the battle began to grow, with portrayals of Emily ranging from a sweet young girl who distracted the general with a simple dance to a cunning and clever vixen who drugged the Mexican army’s leader as he slept.

Not much is known about Emily Morgan's life after the end of the Texas Revolution; after several disputes over her status as a “free black”—her papers confirming this were lost when she was captured by the Mexicans—it is believed she returned to her home state of New York. Her legend, however, continued to grow, and it is widely held that she was the inspiration for the much-loved song, "The Yellow Rose of Texas," written shortly after the war.

This mural of the Alamo was over the front desk.

One of San Antonio’s downtown hotels has gained worldwide notoriety for things that go bump in the night.

With its storied history of bloody battles and lore, the Alamo City lives with the dead. Many places around town have been the site of ghost investigations, including the Emily Morgan Hotel – the third most-haunted in the world, according to USA Today From USA Today:

"(The hotel) at one time was a medical facility, so the property housed a morgue and a psychiatric ward. Reports of unexplained noises, apparitions, and the feeling of being touched are pretty frequent."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

San Antonio

January 2017 - San Antonio TX

We had two nights in San Antonio. Well. the late afternoon of the day we arrived and then a full day.
I am going to use photos from both days.
On our full day of walking we covered a lot of distance so make sure you have your walking shoes on!

Click here for more photos including our lunch, apologies for any duplicate photos.

We have been to San Antonio twice before and John had also been here on business.

River Walk is always the first draw and it was within easy walking distance and we went there on our first day, we were tired of sitting in the car for 7 hours. 
This was an wasy walk, not too far and we stopped for a drink before heading back to the hotel.

We went up to the street looking for the Martini Bar and found this.
I have googled these mosaics which mention the missions that are close by. Other than that I couldn't find anything.

We came across the San Fernando Cathedral which was very close to our hotel. Click here to see this gorgeous church.

The next day we do some earnest walking. We didn't even start out early as it was really cloudy to start with.
We used the hop on bus map as our guide to what we wanted to see.

We headed out at 11:30 with the  as our first destination as the Governor's Palace.

On the way I took another photo of the courthouse.

Memorial honoring all Purple Heart Medal recipients from all wars located near Bexar County Courthouse.

Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We easily get side-tracked.

O. Henry, Considered one of America's greatest short-story writers, lived in this house in 1885. As editor of his newspaper "The Rolling Stone" he used San Antonio as the setting of some of his most intriguing short stories such as "A Fog in Santone" and "The Higher Abdication". In 1896 O. Henry moved to Austin, was indicted for embezzlement and spent three years in prison where he used his time productively honoring his craft and memorizing every word in the dictionary.

Hoping to use O. Henry as a role model, Bexar County Chief Probation Officer Caesar Garcia assigns his probationers as Docents in the O. Henry Museum to fulfill their Community Service. A college scholarship will be awarded to the probationer who best demonstrates a change of attitude and goals in life. The mural on the large wall behind the O. Henry House Museum was painted by a young probationer, John Murphy, whose artistic talents were recognized by Chief Garcia.


The Spanish built the Presidio San Antonio de Béxar to protect the area’s missions, including the San Antonio de Valero Mission (The Alamo) and the missions in the present day San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, as well as the growing Spanish colony.

I will cover the palace in a more detailed post.

On our way to the Alamo we stop into the sculpture garden at the Museum of Western Art. Definitely a place I would come back to.
There is no entrance fee to the Garden.

Click here to see the mosaic mural in the garden.

“Strength of the Maker” by Denny Haskew

Then we spotted a church around the corner that we I had to visit. That'll be an inSPIREd Sunday post.

We're above ground but the Riverwalk is just below us with many entrances from the street.

La Antorcha de la Amistad (Spanish for "The Torch of Friendship") is a monumental abstract sculpture. The artist of the sculpture is world-renowned Mexican sculptor, Sebastián, and was commissioned by the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos (AEM, which loosely translates as Mexican Entrepreneur Association). The sculpture was presented as a gift from the Mexican government to the City of San Antonio in 2002.

Before we go into the Alamo we have another spot in our plans.

The San Antonio Scottish Rite Library and Museum, Inc., is a 501(c)3 Texas Non-Profit Corporation. Founded in 1992, the corporation owns and is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown San Antonio, Texas.

The Scottish Rite Cathedral is a historic building completed in 1924 which was originally built to suit the purposes of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Today, in addition to its continued use as a home to several organizations affiliated with Freemasonry, the building houses a library and museum which are open to the public and banquet and meeting facilities may be rented for public activities.

It is supposed to be open to the public for tours until 2:30 PM but when we tried to enter at 1:30 we were told that the tour guide had gone home so it wasn't open. Not impressed.

Finally, the Alamo.

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, commonly called The Alamo and originally known as Misión San Antonio de Valero, is part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site.. Founded in the 18th century as a Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, it was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. The Alamo is now a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District.

The Alamo Cenotaph, also known as the Spirit of Sacrifice commemorates the Battle of the Alamo, which was fought at the adjacent Alamo Mission. The monument was erected in celebration of the centenary of the battle, and bears the names of those known to have fought there on the Texas side.

Getting my Davy Crockett on in the gift shop.

Across the street from the Alamo is some tackiness.

According to the Menger Hotel website "you are transported back to a time when Theodore Roosevelt was gathering his Rough Riders in our very own Menger Bar and San Antonio’s petticoated elite kicked up their heels at the city’s most elaborate galas and cotillion parties in our very own ballrooms. Our hotel is renowned for its refined architecture, including its meticulously restored wing adorned with 19th-century panache; and the oval lobby with its Renaissance Corinthian columns rising from the burnished floor."

We are now hungry! The plan was for a late lunch. We head down Rita's on the RiverWalk for gluten free Tex-Mex beef fajitas and sangria.

The reason we had so many steps was our less than logical itinerary. Now we I decide we should walk to Market Square where we had lunched years earlier. It happens to be back where the Governor's palace is.

This is where we ate years ago, in looking through my blog I see I never posted the murals from the restaurant, I'll have to do that one day.

We decide we should maybe head back to the hotel. But we I  really wanted to go to the King William district which I convince John is right off the RiverWalk around Villetta. So we walk past our hotel 

Get a great view of the Tower of Americas.

La Villita, south of the River Walk, was originally settled nearly 300 years ago as one of the city's first neighborhoods. In 1939, La Villita Historic Arts Village was established and the neighborhood was adapted into a center for teaching regional arts and crafts and to serve as an artists market. Today, nearly 30 shops and galleries offer distinct handcrafted items by artists from San Antonio and surrounding areas.

I managed 2 churches on this segment of our itinerary!

We decide we are done for the day and the King William district will have to wait for another trip.