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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_River_Walk

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.

References
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.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our guiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five years we have published over 300 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our volunteer student editors and writers come from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). We have an all volunteer staff. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang and NSR Student Editors and Writers. For a brief summary of our history, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Ellie Swanson and Marin Ekstrom, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

23 Comments

Filed under History, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Professor Liang's Classes

23 responses to “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

  1. Kasey Kalthoff

    Kristeljei,
    This sounds like an awesome experience in San Antonio. I have never been, but to compare it, I would think that it is similar to Epcot at Disney World in Florida. Epcot is a Disney Park that demonstrates several cultures from around the world and is a ton of fun to walk around. I am also reading Tignor’s textbook and agree with your comparison of the Silk Road. I quote, “Wending their way across its difficult terrains, a steady parade of merchants, scholars, and travelers transmitted commodities, technologies, and ideas between the Mediterranean worlds and China and across the Himalayas into northern India, exploiting the commercial routes of the Silk Road” (Tignor et al., 2018, p. 290). I like this quote because it truly summarizes the importance that the Silk Road held.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kasey

  2. Evan Wohlert

    Kristeljei,
    I really liked so much of this article and the one thing I wanted to mention was how great I thought your connection was between the River Walk and the Silk Road. As you mentioned, so many different cultures were at the River Walk to enjoy all that it has to offer. The amount of culture that was in the food, music and people must have been a really good example of what the Silk Road was like. Tignor states that people in Rome were constantly complaining about things such as crime, violence, and the lack of sanitary conditions, “despite the sewage and drainage works that were wonders of their time” (p. 264). It always ways confusing to me how even though the Romans had technology ahead of their time such as sewage, they managed to find things to complain about. Do you think this has something to with the human condition, that because they have lived with these things their whole life, they can complain about not having something better? Awesome job on the article Kristeljei!
    Evan

  3. Allison Einck

    Kristel,
    Thank you for sharing your experience! I particularly liked your last paragraph and how you acknowledged the importance of acknowledging our ignorance. This allows us to have open communication and keep an open mind. Professor Liang also mentioned in an announcement when we learn about history it is extremely diverse. As we learn about our diverse world it is important to recognize that we will not know everything about each civilization, but we can learn so much from each other having an open mind and being aware of the questions we ask. Recently I learned a lot about Shamanism and what it means to be gifted. It was important for me to understand that I really know nothing about this type of spirituality and be upfront with the person I was learning about. When learning about history and reading Tignor et al. (2018), it was important to recognize I don’t know everything, but with time and an open mind I can learn a lot about humans. The river walk also made me think of the silk road. It is so interesting seeing things today can connect to the world years ago!
    Alli

  4. kyle star

    Kristeljei,

    What an incredible experience you got to be apart of in San Antonio. Theres a place called Granville island in Vancouver BC. It sounds super similar to this place. The text book shows us different cultures and places where people traded, and communicated. Granville island has all of these things. Places to walk by the water, buy and sell different foods, and communicate with different types of people and learn others cultures. They have a big amphitheatre there, and in the book it tell us where this was originated from. Its cool to see that these types of structures are from all around the world. I loved the example you used with the silk road and the river walk, the similarities are very cool. Is this a place that you would go back to again, it seems like enjoyed it a lot.

    Great job with all of your connections, it was an awesome experience that you got to share with us.

    Kyle

  5. Ashley Hamilton

    Kristeljei,
    What a great experience you had in San Antonio! It sounds like you had a lot of fun while you were visiting their Riverwalk. I would love to visit San Antonio someday as I have always wanted to go to Texas. I think it is great that San Antonio has such a diverse population living there. Hopefully residents immerse themselves into other people’s cultures in order to learn more! In Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, Tignor et al writes, “Waves of Vedic peoples migrated into this region around 600 BCE, clearing land, establishing new cities and trade routes, expanding rice cultivation, and experimenting with new political forms” (2018, p.169). Human migration has been happening since nearly the beginning of time and it is essential to being human and surviving.

  6. Justice Bauer

    Hello Kristeljei

    I have never experienced the beauty of the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, but your post surely made me want to. The study of different cultures has always fascinated me and all of the cultures in one place would be a site to see. With all of these people in one place, it is no surprise to me that you saw the random series of events that you mentioned in your post. I thought your relation to Tignor’s Worlds Together, Worlds Apart was pretty interesting and how the River Walk was originally created to control the water in and out of the city. When you mentioned your connection to our text, I was reminded of the Silk Road and the intersecting cultures that happened there, which you happened to mention in your post! Thank you for sharing your experience!

  7. Averie Fredrickson-Seibert

    Kristeljei,
    I was just at the San Antonio River walk at the end of March. I agree that it is a beautiful and culturally diverse area. I liked your comparison of the River Walk to the Silk Road. They are very similar in the way that they connect people through various ideas. The River Walk does this through its connection of people to different cultures through restaurants and shops that express the culture of different ethnic groups. In Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, Tignor writes “Wending their way across its difficult terrains, a steady parade of merchants, scholars, and travelers transmitted commodities, technologies, and ideas between the Mediterranean worlds and China and across the Himalayas into northern India, exploiting the commercial routes of the Silk Road” (Tignor, 290). The Silk Road definitely served a similar purpose.

  8. Dawson Ness

    Kristeljei,
    I was in the San Antonio area over Easter break and understand very clearly the beauty of the atmosphere you described on the river walk. There is just something about water that attracts humans. I loved your comparison of the River walk to the Silk road as being a sort of commonplace for people to come and experience a variety of different cultures. It is always so nice to see the different things that can bring such diverse people together. This attraction of diverse people almost reminds me of the way that people are drawn together by similar religion in Chapter 8 of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart. It was interesting to see great areas of land generating similar ideas about religion with “Christianity in the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia, Hinduism in South Asia, and Buddhism in East Asia (Tignor, p.313).” The connections that we create with those different than us really help to bridge this gap of “acknowledging our ignorance” as you quoted Professor Liang.

  9. Shelby Olson

    Kristeljei,
    I really enjoyed reading about your experience and insights of the San Antonio River Walk. While I personally have never been there, the description you gave of it reminds me a lot of the Lakewalk and Boardwalk in Duluth, Minnesota. Many miles of the Lakewalk run through or near residential areas, but the most popular spots are closer to Downtown. The path runs through Leif Erickson park; which has a stage which is often times used as the center for many events, as well as the location for the summer ‘movies in the park.’ The Lakewalk also runs between Lake Superior and the many restaurants & shops that are frequented by tourists. Overall, the proximity to popular tourist locations draws people from various backgrounds and cultures to the Lakewalk, allowing them to experience the many elements only found in Duluth. Thanks for sharing, it was really interesting to see all of the similarities between the River Walk and the Lakewalk!

  10. Sarah Symanietz

    Kristeljei,
    From your written works, it sounds like this was a beautiful area full of culture, character, and stories. How unique that you were able to witness a proposal, but also watch police drag a man for stealing. I appreciate how you pointed out the importance of water to a society. Not only is water important for growing crops and drinking, but it also can serve as destructive in the case of a flood. In San Antonio, it seems that this part of the river is now used for it’s beauty as shops, restaurants, and walking paths have been placed around it. Another way that water ways can be utilized is through trade. Trade by ship led to longer trade routes to emerge as well as centers around ports: “entrepots served as transshipment centers where ships could drop anchor and merchants could find lodging, exchange commodities, and replenish supplies” (Tignor 359). What a vast range of ways rivers and water supplies have been utilized over history!
    Sarah

  11. Allison Einck

    Kristel,
    Thank you for sharing your experience! I particularly liked your last paragraph and how you acknowledged the importance of acknowledging our ignorance. This allows us to have open communication and keep an open mind. Professor Liang also mentioned in an announcement when we learn about history it is extremely diverse. As we learn about our diverse world it is important to recognize that we will not know everything about each civilization, but we can learn so much from each other having an open mind and being aware of the questions we ask. Recently I learned a lot about Shamanism and what it means to be gifted. It was important for me to understand that I really know nothing about this type of spirituality and be upfront with the person I was learning about. When learning about history and reading Tignor et al. (2018), it was important to recognize I don’t know everything, but with time and an open mind I can learn a lot about humans. The river walk also made me think of the silk road. It is so interesting seeing things today can connect to the world years ago!

    Alli

  12. Hannah Holien

    Hi Kristeljei,
    Your experience sounds really incredible, I would love to visit there someday! I loved how you related it to the Silk Road, I can really see the relationship between the two. “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart” states, “For nearly a thousand years, the Silk Road was the primary commercial network linking East Asia and the Mediterranean world. These trade routes extended over 5,000 miles and took their collective name from the huge quantities of precious silk that passed along them” (Tignor et al., p 200). I can only imagine how many different cultures and beliefs were encountered on this route. I love to learn and visit new cultures so it would be incredible to visit a place that has so many different cultures and ideas in one area!
    – Hannah Holien

  13. Grace Macor

    Hi, Kristeljei!

    Thanks for posting. It sounds like you had a great time walking the San Antonio River Walk! I have not been on the San Antonio River Walk, but I enjoyed your description and thought your picture was beautiful. Your picture reminds me of how Tignor et al. in “Worlds Together Worlds Apart” describes the Silk Road. Tignor et al. states, “It was not human made but entirely natural, traversing mountains, valleys, and desert oases…” (2018, p. 223). Although it appears that the San Antonio River walk is manmade, it has a natural feel to it and appears that it has been taken care of. Perhaps it may not be along mountains, but it is located within a river valley and has a certain feel, based on the picture.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Grace

  14. Lexie DeWall

    Kristeljei,

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience that you had at the San Antonio River Walk, it sounds truly amazing! It is such a surreal feeling when walking through beautiful scenery with so many exciting things taking place, as you mentioned you saw someone get down on one knee and propose! “The Mande homeland was a vast area, 1,000 miles wide, between the bend in the Senegal River to the west and the bend of the Niger River to the east, stretching more than 2,000 miles from the Senegal River in the north to the Bandama River in the South” (Tignor et al., 2018, p. 383). This example from Tignor et al., (2018) shows how Rivers are able to connect people and create a welcoming environment; as you were able to see when you visited the San Antonio River.

  15. Erin Diver

    Hello Kristeljei,
    Your experience at The River Walk seems so vibrant and full of life that I’m sure it’s a memory you’ll have for a long time- if not forever. It sort of reminds me of Canal Park here in Duluth in the summer: the local shops, the food, and all of the activities and people, of course. In Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, we can see that cities by water flourish: “… trade was shifting from land-based routes to sea-based routes. Coastal trading cities began to dramatically expand” (Tignor, p. 358). Such is not unlike Duluth or seemingly The River Walk- local economies boom when we profit off of what the water provides us, and regardless of the economy, we enjoy the sheer atmosphere of the shore.This certainly goes to show that whether the water is used for trade or entertainment, we always seem to gather and flourish by it.

  16. Sarah Bowman

    Kristeljei,
    Your article was so fun to read since it was packed full of personal experience and the emotions and memories you had from San Antonio. The descriptions were great so I felt I could almost picture what you were seeing that day. When referring to the River walk I thought you made a very smooth transition into some great information about how water sources like these came to be in existence. It truly is amazing how the Persian and Roman civilizations were able to create such systems to control water into the city. I felt this was also important as we also know from Tignor et al. in “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart,” how important resources such as water are to societies and survival. This also reminds me of how important resources such as the Nile was to the Egyptian culture. Its resources gave rise to agriarian wealth, ways of communication, and for commerce and trade (p.57, 2018). Without this resource Egpyt would have not been able to flourish. I feel this can also relate to the River walk as you discuss all the flourishing businesses and life that surround it. Your connection with the Silk Road was also a great support for the amount of culture, languages, and people you were able to see along the River walk. You had a very well written article and your supports made the flow of content smooth.

    Sincerely,
    Sarah Bowman

  17. Kristeljei,
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I have never heard of the River walk in San Antonio, it sounds like an incredible place. I would love to check it out sometime! You made some great comparisons to what we have learned in “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart” and I couldn’t agree more with you. The silk road in particular, even though it wasn’t a river had such a similar concept bringing so many different people and cultures together. Reading this reminded me of the traditional markets we walked through while studying abroad in Morocco, those markets brought so many people together and there was always a lot going on throughout them.
    Morgan

  18. Tanner Egelkraut

    Kristeljei,
    I really enjoyed reading your story! I have been along river walks and lake walks before that have a ton of history behind them. I think of Duluth with all the large ships that come in that you can see from the boardwalk. This reminds me of a passage in our history textbook Worlds Together Worlds Apart. “Changes in navigation ushered in the demise of overland routes. Silk Road merchants eventually gave up using camel trains, caravansaries (inns for travelers), and oasis hubs as they switched to the sea-lanes” (Tignor, et al. 2018, p. 359). I feel that people began to switch to water sources for travel and the trade of goods because of how far things can move across the seas. Nice post!

  19. Tara Bighley

    Kristeljei,
    It sounds like you had a wonderful experience when you went to San Antonio. I have always wanted to go to the River Walk, It seems like such a magnificent place. I enjoy to just sit and take in the culture, so it sounds like the River Walk is the perfect place for me to visit. I like your comparison, comparing it to the Silk Road is intriguing. They are nothing alike in theory, but they are very similar when you think about it. The vast array of trade along the Silk Road made the area diverse with lots of different cultures and commerce. “The expansion of commerce between the Mediterranean and Asia reinforced a frenetic rise in commercial activity within each region” (Tignor, 2018, pg. 223). From the sound of it, the River Walk is also full of diversity and culture with commerce and tourist attractions. With your last paragraph, I agree and think that having an open mind in life no matter what it pertains to is the way to live. You never really know what people are going through or what their whole story is, so it’s important not to be quick to judge someone or a situation.

  20. Ben urner

    Kristeljei,
    This was a fun article to read! I have heard many good things about the River Walk in San Antonio. I have always wanted to go visit San Antonio and after reading this I can’t wait to see it. I liked how you compared it to the “aqueducts” that the Romans built. If it was not for that invention we would all live near water and could not spread throughout the countryside. When I was reading this it reminded me of the Mississippi River that starts in Minnesota. The Mississippi is very important for trade. A lot of the early cities were built on the river such as our capital St. Paul. It is nice that this is such a beautiful place and that people go and enjoy it. It looks very peaceful and a good place to go and hangout on a nice night. You are lucky that you got to have this experience and sounds like you enjoyed it a bunch. Thank you for sharing this and all of your connections to the River Walk.

    Ben

  21. Ben Burner

    Kristeljei,
    This was a fun article to read! I have heard many good things about the River Walk in San Antonio. I have always wanted to go visit San Antonio and after reading this I can’t wait to see it. I liked how you compared it to the “aqueducts” that the Romans built. If it was not for that invention we would all live near water and could not spread throughout the countryside. When I was reading this it reminded me of the Mississippi River that starts in Minnesota. The Mississippi is very important for trade. A lot of the early cities were built on the river such as our capital St. Paul. It is nice that this is such a beautiful place and that people go and enjoy it. It looks very peaceful and a good place to go and hangout on a nice night. You are lucky that you got to have this experience and sounds like you enjoyed it a bunch. Thank you for sharing this and all of your connections to the River Walk.

    Ben

  22. Jane Kariuki

    Kristeljei,
    Your first question about walking along a riverbank took me to Derry, North Ireland. “Passing by some beautiful people from different parts of the world…”. This is one of the ways I would have to describe my time at Derry. The river Foyle is considered an interface in Derry or a meeting point for so many individuals. One thing that made my experience of river Foyle unforgettable was the fact that people would be walking or running along the riverside despite the weather. An organization I interned at hosted a color run and it was windy, rainy and snowing a bit, but people from different ages showed up. I later leaner that people of Derry have an admiration of running and walking and nothing would stop them. The way people talked about it simply brought the river to life. The river itself and structures around it carries so much beauty and history that is beyond explainable. You sum it up nicely “people have the opportunity to soak up the different culture…that surrounds the River Walk, because now when I talk a walk by any body of water I will always remember Derry.

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