Culture

24 Facts About San Antonio To Get You To The Lone Star State

So, it’s a Happy 300th Birthday to San Antonio. Yup, the crown jewel of Texas is celebrating its tri-centennial with huge celebrations planned throughout the year, thus the opportunity for us to revel in the festivities and know a bit more about this lively town, day or night. Let’s go, y’all!

1. San Antonio was the first official city of Texas.

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Founded as a mission outpost in 1718 in honor of St. Anthony, the town was the first ever registered city in Texas when clerics performing evangelization duties wandered further north of Monterrey and located an ideal spot.

2. The Cathedral of Saint Frenando is a must-see.

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Typical of the cities founded by Spanish monks, San Antonio features a prominent cathedral, St. Fernando, with an esplanade in front of the building. Nowadays, it still keeps much of the religious structures as a reminder of the origins.

3. If you are in the area, you have to check out San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

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Although named since 1691 by the first explorers, the mission didn’t commence construction until 1718 after resolving disputes among the religious and civil authorities regarding the possible incursion of French settlers coming from Louisiana into the newly colonized lands.

4. San Antonio started with just 400 families from Spanish-speaking parts of the world.

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By an edict of the King of Spain, it was determined that about 400 families would settle in the new mission site. They came from Cuba, Galicia and Canary Islands, although they would take another 10 years or so before arriving to their new homes.

5. San Antonio was originally called “Tejas” or shingles.

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San Antonio became the largest Spanish settlement in the lands known as “Tejas”, or shingles, like the ones you put on your roof. And truly, Texas was the roof of the New Spain, or later Mexico. But these lands were so detached from the central government, that trouble ensued.

6. Once San Antonio was free of Spain’s rule, something started to change.

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Once Mexico gained independence from Spain, it allowed the settlement of Europeans near the Texas-US border near Nacogdoches. But these people had different visions for their new dwellings and challenged the Mexican rule for Texas.

7. It wasn’t long until Texas became part of the United States.

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Not to cause any political issues, as Texas seceded from Mexico, was enjoined to the USA, San Antonio began occupying in rightful place in history. Beyond the battle of The Alamo, the city’s landmark, its population dwindled to less than a thousand. It was not looking good.

8. Juan Seguin went from San Antonio’s first mayor to a man in hiding.

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Patriot Juan Seguin, a key player for Texas’ independence, was mayor of San Antonio until political issues threatened his life and rather decided to lay low.

9. San Antonio was a thriving city during the Civil War rivaling New Orleans in size and culture.

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During the start of the Civil War, San Antonio had prospered and thrived to a busy city of 15 thousand, becoming a cattle center and with a cultural mix only rivaled by New Orleans, as described by developers and wanderers.

10. By end of the 1900s, San Antonio was becoming a major modern city.

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The final years of the 20th century was decisive in giving San Antonio a push towards modernity. Population skyrocketed to over a million, and the city turned into a mecca for conventions and trade shows with its mix of tradition and amenities.

11. San Antonio is a must-stop destination for concerts and other big events.

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The city draws big ticket events with its year-round nice weather, business know-how and top-class venues.

12. Oh yeah. You have to go to the Riverwalk, obviously.

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The heart of San Antonio is the Riverwalk, a creek meandering the downtown area riddled with all sorts of cuisine, libations and a vibe that is extremely hard to find anywhere else. You do not even need to get a table somewhere, just stroll around and that’s more than enough.

13. And The Alamo is the one tourist trap everyone should get lost in.

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A crucial part of San Antonio’s history, of course, is The Alamo. A rather somber reminder of the struggles this land had for its own way of life. But the downtown is also plethoric with historical buildings from the 1800s and beyond, giving a glimpse of simpler, maybe better, days.

14. It is one of the U.S. cities that is decidedly Latino.

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Recent census found that San Antonio’s population is decidedly Hispanic, around 60 percent, with a significant African-American population and non-Hispanic Whites rounding out the tally with close to 27 percent. Of course, all ethnicities are represented in a city as vibrant as this.

15. Millions of people visiting San Antonio every year can’t be wrong.

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When more than 20 million tourists visit the city annually, you know for sure something’s good going on. And of course, with major theme parks, Riverwalk, convention facilities and a thriving business scene, San Antonio is one booming city.

16. San Antonio is a major business hub for the U.S.

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Speaking of business, at least 6 of the top companies in America according to Forbes, have their corporate HQ in San Antonio, including the likes of Valero Energy and USAA. Also, the city has been ranked as one of the top 15 for job growth in the nation. Not bad at all.

17. The military is a major part of this city’s identity.

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With several active military bases around town, San Antonio has seen a surge in the earnings it provides to the city. There’s two Air Force bases along with an Army Medical Center and Fort Sam Houston, a staple in South Texas.

18. As well as golfing.

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If golf is your thing, leave a few hours of the bustling activity in San Antonio to hit the links and fairways of close to 50 courses around town. A few are of championship caliber, but there’s also plenty of options for ball-losing hackers, like most of us are.

19. If you are looking for family fun, San Antonio has you covered.

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Sports is well covered in San Antonio since the opening of the Alamodome, right off the Interstate, a splendid structure that hosts the UTSA college football team, and has been venue for championship boxing, major soccer games and many concerts by the best of the best.

20. And if you are looking for fun with your kids, San Antonio has the right stuff.

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Amusement parks are another of the city’s tourist draws: Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World share the greatest attraction of out-of-town folks seeking thrills and excitement, whether for themselves or their kids.

21. Get romantic with the love of your life in a horse-drawn carriage.

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Once the nighttime falls, it’s such a romantic setting to stroll around downtown in a horse-drawn buggy and the ones in San Antonio are decked in fancy lights and such a nostalgic set that you might just end up going for another ride.

22. Again, Riverwalk provides all the bars and food you could desire.

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The bar hopping scene has its epicenter at the River Walk, with an eclectic assortment of, well, just about anything and everything: from Irish to Mexican and all in between. Music, libations and lots of fun are sure to allure all.

23. And the Riverwalk really shows off during Christmas.

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Oh, and if you’re ever in town during the Christmas season, River Walk cannot be missed. Already beautiful in itself, the creek is adorned with festive lighting and caroling all throughout the walkways. It’s a one in a lifetime experience.

24. And, of course, the food just can’t be beat.

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And San Antonio’s restaurants are simply superb! From fusion to BBQ, there’s something for y’all. Get your boots and Stetson ready and join us down in South Texas for a charming get together that’ll forever live in your memory. See ya’ soon!

Travel Restrictions Limit Americans To Only Flying Into Havana But Sube Let’s Americans Explore The Island

Things That Matter

Travel Restrictions Limit Americans To Only Flying Into Havana But Sube Let’s Americans Explore The Island

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The progression of Cuba’s modern world has been a slow one, but it’s also been eager to thrive thanks to the younger generation. The integration of the internet didn’t arrive on the island until the late aughts. Back then, when U.S. relations with Cuba became friendlier under the Obama Administration, it looked as if Cuba was ready to get online. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that Cuba decided to team up with Venezuela in order for the country to help them venture into the digital age. Now, under the Trump Administration, who is putting the breaks on the Cuba/U.S. relationship, the Cuban people have something more to aspire to. 

A Cuban startup has launched a cab service that will help tourists get around the island now that the Trump Administration has blocked airline travel to all areas of Cuba except Havana.

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The company is called Sube (which translations to “get on” or “hop on”), and it’s basically a ride-share service like Uber and Lyft, although their intention is to seek out tourists who wish to visit the areas outside of Havana. 

Late last year, the Trump Administration issued a travel ban throughout the island, which meant that American airlines could only fly into Havana. All other airports in Cuba were forbidden. The announcement didn’t automatically erase flights that were already booked. U.S. travelers can only arrive in Havana, so if they have plans outside of the capital, getting there is trickier and expensive. The solution is Sube. 

Sube wants tourists to know that their service is safe and that they can provide an exciting and fun way to get around the island.

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“Sube is a ridesharing app founded in Cuba,” their About section states. “Our drivers will help you move around safely and fast while sharing their knowledge of our customs and culture.”

One of the most popular attractions in Cuba is their vintage cars. So how can these old cars keep up with this new motive of transportation? Sube owners say all cars, vintage ones as well, are in perfect condition and can drive long distances. All drivers have verified licenses as well. 

The app launched in 2018, and since then, the app has been downloaded at least 10,000 times and so far has 6,000 registered users.

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“We knew the trouble people go through in Cuba to get to work every day, to get home, or if they just want to go out,” Claudia Cuevas Alarcón told NBC News. Aside from Cuevas Alarcón, a 27-year-old, Sube’s creators include 26-year-old Damián Martín, 26, and 27-year-old Darién González. 

What makes this company even more fascinating is that these young entrepreneurs have found a way to work the system to their benefit. For example, U.S. credit cards are prohibited on the island, which means travelers can only use cash. 

Sube creators registered their company in the U.S., so this makes it possible for travelers to download the app before they leave their home country, upload their credit card information. Once they arrive on the island, they have already reserved their car service, and the exchange of payment is not needed. 

It’s not just tourists who use the app, locals are using Sube to get around the island as well.

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“If you are visiting Cuba this December, move with SUBE and pay from abroad,” one of their beautiful Instagram posts says. “We have 70 registered and available taxis, which will make your trips more enjoyable and safe. You can book them before your arrival at the airport, until departure. Do not hesitate.”

Other ways to use Sube is pretty straightforward. You can use Whatsapp or Facebook to reserve a cab. Travel experts also suggest that if you’re traveling to Cuba, you should also download apps that will help not only with travel information but translation, money exchange, and texting capabilities. Here are some useful apps that extremely useful: Maps.me, XE currency, Google Translate, Pocket, Havanatrans, Zapya, AlaMesa, CubaMessenger, and ProtonVPN. And, of course, Whatsapp and Airbnb. 

It’s very exciting to see young Cubans not allowing connectivity or travel regulations (or any sort of limitation) stop them from progressing into a new frontier of digital capabilities.

READ: The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island

Drones And Security Cameras Will Monitor Machu Picchu After Tourists Were Caught Pooping On Ancient Site

Culture

Drones And Security Cameras Will Monitor Machu Picchu After Tourists Were Caught Pooping On Ancient Site

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The Peruvian government is stepping up its security at Machu Picchu after some tourists pooped on the ancient site. Six tourists were arrested after human feces were found in a sacred room in the ancient site. Now, Peru is turning to technology to make sure they can preserve the site form further defacement.

Security cameras and drones are going to keep a close eye on Machu Picchu after six tourists defecated in a sacred room.

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Five tourists were deported to Bolivia after the feces was discovered in the Temple of the Sun. The temple was used by the Incans to perform ceremonies in the citadel. One tourist was fined $360 and an additional $1,500 owed to the cultural ministry after he knocked a panel from the wall that cracked the floor. The tourists are four men and two women from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and France.

The citadel in the Peruvian mountains is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world.

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Around 1.4 million people visited Machu Picchu in 2016 with an average of 5,000 people walking the paths of the citadel daily. The ancient site has seen a fast increase of tourists over the years with fewer than 200,000 people visiting in 1993.

Some people are really leaning into the comedy of the whole situation.

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It is very important to make sure you treat ancient sites like Machu Picchu with respect. They are part of the larger story of human history on the planet. It is even more important to be a responsible visitor when you are traveling from a foreign country. However, the woman makes a point.

Some folks are offering up some suggestions to curb any future public defecation.

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Portable toilets do seem like a good idea. People need to go to the bathroom and offering a place for them to do so could cut down on human waste on the landmark.

Some are being a little more strict with how they’d save the cultural site.

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This seems too extreme. How do you expect to close Machu Picchu from the public entirely? Imagine the loss of revenue to Peru from closing Machu Picchu.

Basically, prepare to see something like this over the skies of Machu Picchu.

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Güau. How beautiful.

READ: These Tourists Thought It Would Be Funny To Poop Inside A Temple In Machu Picchu: They’re Facing Prison Time