Saturday, July 01, 2006

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Business travel isn't anything remotely resembling fun, but at least you get to look at new places from the window of the taxi, coming in from the airport.

I got a look at San Antonio, Texas this week, and found it rather charming. Unlike Dallas, San Antonio has resisted the urge to tear down all their old light industrial buildings and put up glass towers, so there are only a few skyscrapers, and lots of older few-story brick and stucco buildings with interesting architectural details, plus some pretty churches. The town was more relaxed than Dallas, too, with lighter traffic. They've done fairly nice things with their river: it's nothing resembling a riparian habitat, since the channel is bricked in solid (sigh), but they've turned it into a pleasant "river walk", below street level and lined with trees and shrubs. If I'd had time, I could have taken a water taxi along the canals; but I was in the town less than 48 hours. For that matter, if I'd had time, I could have toured the Alamo; it's easy to find, right next to the mall.

The heat was appalling, in the high nineties; with the usual corollary that the air conditioning was so cold you needed a jacket indoors, which you immediately had to shed when you left the building. They haven't had any rain for awhile, and the taxi driver said they'd been on the verge of water rationing. The hotel had signs saying we won't change your towels during your stay, and you have to ask for water in the restaurant. One of these days our tendency to use water as if there were an infinite supply of it, is going to catch up with us.


  1. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Does anyone remember the lady, Barbara Something I believe, who wrote about safe water being a concern of the present, ( in the 80's), that was being ignored and would haunt the world in the future? Her main point was disease can get to rich as well as poor if our water supplies aren't safe. She wasn't taling terrorists. She also was concerned about the need for basic housing. Hmmm, she may have been Canadian.

  2. Well, I tried to Google her, but with no better search terms than "Barbara", "water", and "safe", I got a lot of stuff about Santa Barbara...

    There was a Barbara Roberts who was in the list of people thanked in the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986; there was a Barbara A. Rogers who was a lawyer for the EPA in the eighties. That's as close as I can come without a last name. Ring any bells?

    As I and others have noted before in this space, it isn't just the water supply that can spread disease to rich and poor. Some of the rich now seem to think that if they make it hard or impossible for the poor to get health care, it won't affect them (the rich, that is), because they (the rich) have health insurance. Nobody remembers the concept of "public health", I guess.

  3. Anonymous5:37 AM

    Even the old plan to cut off chunks of polar ice and tow them down to use as sources of fresh water looks to be doomed. But then as the ice caps melt and the oceans become less saline, I guess desalination becomes a bit easier (I'm following the same logic as that employed by the bozos looking forward to not having to fight the extreme cold in exploiting the polar regions - when exactly did idiocy become the coin of the realm?)

    Anonymous David