World History and the Meaning of Being Human – Physical and Geographical Features – A Stroll Through the San Antonio River Walk – by Kristeljei B. Baltazar. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Have you ever experience walking by a riverbank with brightly colored umbrellas, beautiful tall trees decorated with vibrant colored lights, passing by some beautiful people from different parts of the world, surrounded by lush landscape, historical buildings and all kinds of live music? I experienced this when I spent a day walking through the River Walk located in the heart of San Antonio, Texas. The River Walk is fifteen miles long (Makepeace, 2019). It begins at the University of Incarnate Word College 4 miles north of the city, and flows through approximately 5-miles of downtown San Antonio before eventually joining the Guadalupe River and flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico (Fischer, 2019). There were people singing, dancing, eating, entertaining, admiring, and loving on the River Walk. There were also bars, restaurants, antique shops, coffee shops, ice creams shops, and store vendors scattered everywhere. Each buildings along the river had its own story, and each one of them emitted different kinds of energy. I remember taking a break along the river, admiring the faces passing in front of me and my friends. We played this game called “Ad-Lib” where we pretended to translate a conversation that the people we were watching were having. I will never forget how my stomach was hurting so bad from laughing so hard. Of course there’s also bad things that can happen in such a congested, popular place. I remember seeing someone get dragged up the stairs to the main road because they ran away from the Police after stealing something from one of the stores. I’m sure he wasn’t too excited about spending a little bit of time in jail. When there’s bad, there’s also good. That same day, I also witnessed someone propose to their girlfriend. Everyone along the river was clapping and was very happy for the couple.
My experience at the River walk in San Antonio came back to my mind when I was reading a few chapters in the book Worlds Together, Worlds Apart by Tignor et al. Some examples that reminded me of the River Walk was a couple of water structures invented by the Persians and the Romans. First, is the Persians invention of the “quanats,” an underground tunnel through which water flowed over long distances without being contaminated (Tignor et al., 2018, pg 137). Another is the “aqueducts” that the Romans built to bring water in and out of the city (Tignor et al., 2018, pg 163). These two reminded me of the River Walk because the River Walk was built for the purpose of controlling the water in and out of the city due to a disastrous flood that happened in September where fifty lives were lost. The River walk also has a theatre just like the Colosseum in which Tignor and other author show in the book. Although much smaller, the River Walk’s outside theatre also had a horseshoe-shaped stage with amphitheater style seating (Tignor et al., 2018, pg 265). The last example I have is the Silk Road. In the book, Tignor explains how the Silk Road was a place where people from all over the world would come to trade, sell merchandise, and spread their beliefs. Tignor and others state that Silk road transformed cultures by bringing into contact “a dazzling array of peoples, languages, and cultural cross currents” (Tignor et al., 2018, pg 223). This reminded me of the River walk because the River walk is full of people coming from all over the world, immersing themselves in the different cultures that the River walk has to offer. They had vendors and numerous amount of shops where different types of merchandise is sold, and different cultures can be experienced by trying new foods and listening to different genres of music.
Pertaining to class discussion, Professor Liang mentioned that it is important to have an open mind and learn to communicate between boundaries. In addition, no matter what kind of boundaries we may have in our lives, we still need to learn the skill of “acknowledging our ignorance” so we can ask questions and learn from each other (Professor Liang). Visiting with an open mind, the River walk is full of opportunities for everyone. People have the opportunity to learn about each other by simply asking questions or sparking a conversation. People also have the opportunity to learn about themselves by showing off their talents along the riverbank and entertaining people at the same time. Lastly, people have the opportunity to soak up the different culture, beliefs, and history that surrounds the River Walk.
Fisher, L. F. (2019, April 21). San Antonio river walk (Paseo del rio). Retrieved from https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hps02
Makepeace, C. (2019, Jan 30). The gorgeous san antonio river walk texas (Don’t miss the iron cactus). Retrieved from https://www.ytravelblog.com/san-antonio-river-walk-tx/
Tignor et al. Worlds together, worlds apart: A history of the world from the beginnings of humankind to the present. 5th ed. Vol. 1. New York. W.W Norton & Company, 2018.
From Professor Liang’s Spring 2019 World History I [Online] class, Kristeljei is a Nursing student.
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