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San Antonio (city)

1 rating: 3.0
City in Texas
1 review about San Antonio (city)

A big small town

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
I lived in San Antonio for two years, setting up a bar just off the Riverwalk called Drink. My wife is from San Antonio and, like most people who go back to their birth town, isn't a fan. But actually there are many worse places to be, such as Wilmington, Delaware, which I was forced to live in for three months.
San Antonio has Sea World, the Riverwalk, Six Flags and that's it. It's hot, real hot, and the bugs are scary beyond imagination. The cockroaches are large enough to tell you that your can of Raid is too small and those sonic repellent things don't work. The crickets are everywhere at certain times of year and seem to find insect-o-phones magnetic. Treading on one is like killing a chip. My folks' house is like a zoo: they have coral snakes, armadillos, frogs, possums - pretty much everything but cats and dogs.

The cost of living there is very low - you can buy a house for $75,000 and there's no state income tax. There are some Texas traits that I quite enjoyed, principally driving large trucks and having barbecues, both of which appeal massively to English men. My inlaws and family there are the nicest people you'll ever meet (and they barely use the Internet so will never read this). Republicans are everywhere, as are Very Religious People, but it's possible to avoid both groups if you try.

I met some interesting people during my time in San Antonio. Lane, a high-school teacher, is possible the smartest person I have ever met, and it's disarming because he has a thick Louisiana accent and talks slowly so people don't see it coming. There was a large French community on the Riverwalk who were universally great to hang out with. And it's one of those places that when you return, people are genuinely glad to see you and are interested.

I really enjoyed the fact that Austin is only an hour away - I used to spend many weekends up there. It really is the music capital of the world and I saw some great bands play. Austin is completely different to San Antonio and is developing into a very cool place to live. I also quite enjoyed visits to Houston, which gets slammed by everyone who lives there but is quite a compact and interesting place for an outsider.

On the downside, you'd better like Mexican or TexMex food and you'd better have genetics preventing queso going straight for the love handles. The fact that Miller Lite is their favorite beer should be a state-wide embarrassment (which was widely pointed out in Busch-owned SeaWorld). And sometimes the smallness can seem a little claustrophobic, but the city has managed to grow without become a sprawl or losing its good characteristics.

Yeah, it's worth visiting.

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"A big small town"
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