Dear Uncle Mat 

I’ve been working downtown for several years now, and I can tell you firsthand just how important tourism is to San Antonio. I love my job very much, especially the historical part of it. The thing that pisses me off is that everyone (tourists) complains about everything; from prices, to choice of food, and especially, the weather. Why is it that people are so fucked up?! Maybe a handful of people I see every day actually have a smile; the other jerks are just complaining about how far the walk is or how it’s so hot out! I feel like kicking it into rage mode and yelling at the top of my lungs that this is the RIVER WALK! You walk on the side of an almost still river surrounded by concrete and buildings, of course it’s going to be hella hot. You’re not in the Rockies or the North Pole, you’re in San Antonio. Why can’t people just take the time to look on the internet or read a book about climates and activities in a certain places and times of the year? People act so surprised all the time. I thought this was the computer age or whatever! Why aren’t people buying tickets to crap online instead of standing in a hot line with all the other asses? I don’t know what people think when they travel, but I do know that when I travel I go to a place I am going to enjoy and I enjoy the hell out of it, because I know what to expect and I even find out if its going to rain or how the weather is going to be ahead of time. Why can’t people make a simple effort to look up their destinations instead of coming to San Antonio acting like their shit don’t stink, crying about all the bad things like Global Warming? They’re on vacation for Pete’s sake.

— Brighter side of the RIVER WALK  

Dear Brighter Side?

It sounds like it might be time for you to go to the Rockies or the North Pole. I don’t really see a question in your letter, but I’m all for sharing a well-needed rant. Everyone hates tourists. The word ends with a little bit of a hiss and can almost be spit out of one’s mouth. On the other hand, they are a big part of our lovely economy in San Antonio. It is not unlike getting an unattractive sugar daddy and realizing he isn’t going to die anytime soon and now we’re stuck. We love the money, but putting out is demeaning and tiresome. Our big-city friends look down on us like we’re a gold-digging whore and never give us the respect we deserve — because somebody has to keep the fat of this country happy and its money in circulation. It’s a hard life.

When the Air Force downsized, we at first relied strictly on the River Walk, Tower of Americas, the Alamo, and shopping. It was a nice a gig, but a little bit of a cottage market. Conventions were more our thing than vacation destination. We were pretty, but no Anna Nicole. The kids were bored. We were ambitious. You can look at Sea World and Fiesta Texas like our boob job and collagen lip implants.

These two theme parks accomplished both good and bad. Good: More tourists are coming and many are going to the ’burbs to play with our new assets. Bad: We suddenly have a whole new kind of tourist. No longer just the business folk with a little spare time and maybe a spouse in tow, but full-fledged families with dirty diapers, floral-patterned shirts, and expectations we just aren’t prepared to meet. These folks want Disneyland or Epcot Center. We just aren’t that kind of whore. We still have history and class, people who have lived here for generations, and a kick-ass arts and music scene that is underappreciated.

None of this makes grumpy tourists any happier or less surprised that it is hot as shit, and unless your name is Shamu, I doubt you are going to be seeing many more smiles from our not-so-friendly visitors this summer.

Much love and more margaritas for you,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art.
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