Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Five

I only saw four churches today, but I did cover a lot of ground.  Did I mention that Texas is large.  I started out in Corpus Christi, Texas.  It was a nice drive down to the church along the coast.  The church was nice, but I was attacked by an angry starling outside in the parking lot.  I don't think birds like me - that is by far not the strangest thing that happened today.
From there I went south down 77 towards Brownsville.  77 is very straight and there is nothing around in any direction.  Let me first say that since I got my license I have been pulled over four times - all for silly reasons (like suspicion of going toilet papering!).  So far on this trip - twice.  Unknown to me it is illegal to mount your GPS to the windshield in Texas.  The nice officer pulled me over and asked me a bunch of questions.  I think my story of driving from Ohio to the Mexican border sounded a bit fishy so I had to stand by the cruiser while he searched the car.  He let me off with a warning, but I still do not think that he bought my story.
If you ever get a chance to visit Brownsville - don't.  You know how you hear about those dirty little border towns that are all run down and full of crime - well - that's Brownsville.  I was shocked that my car still had all four tires when I got back from the cathedral.  The church was nice though.  There were dozens of people in and out while I was there.  The Mexican culture appreciates their cathedrals more.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Next I followed the Rio Grande River over to San Juan, Texas to a rather ugly modern church with a really long name -  Basilica Of The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of San Juan Del Valle -
The last church of the day was further up the Rio Grande in Laredo.  The Cathedral Of St. Augustine sits on a little square in the old part of the city.  It was tricky talking my way in because everyone in the office spoke Spanish and my Spanish is very very rusty.  I was forced to rely on hand gesturing like I was taking pictures, but it all worked out.  While in Laredo I saw one of the coolest things in the history of ever!  While I was taking pictures of the cross on top of the steeple a large hawk landed on it and proceeded to eat a rather large fish that it was holding.  I took several pictures and some video.  I was much more excited than the other people in the square who were quite indifferent.  I guess they did not realize that it was awesome.  You know - one of reasons that Cortez was able to conquer the Aztecs was when he landed the people saw an eagle on a cactus eating a serpent (the modern day symbol of Mexico) and took it as a sign that Cortes was Quetzalcotl, their god.  I am not saying that Quetzalcotl has returned to Mexico, but you would think that the people in the square that is a half of a mile from Mexico would take their bird signs a bit ore seriously.  I still think it was cool.

On the way out of Laredo I had to stop at a Homeland Security checkpoint.  The guy in the truck in front of me was taken out of the vehicle, handcuffed, and escorted inside after the drug dog started barking at the bed of his truck.  I said it was a strange day.  529 more miles, 4 more churches, 3 more deer, several large raptors that I am going to have to research and identify (the looked like a mix between an eagle and a toucan!), and I saw Mexico for the first time.  Today I was 1472 miles away from the Rec Center.  I am off to San Antonio tomorrow to take some pictures of four missions churches from the 1720s.  I am also trying to fit some of the painted churches into my schedule.  Good night.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joe,

    This is from another follower of yours who is having a hard time posting things!

    "Dear Roamin Catholic,
    You can't imagine how much fun it is reading your comments & seeing pictures of the interesting places you are visiting. I appreciate so much that you are sharing it with us. You are really gifted in writing and your photography is amazing. Maybe you should publish a book of your adventures! I'll buy one!
    Patty Chalfant"