Monday, December 20, 2010

A Few Days in McAllen

We had a grand time in McAllen the few days before going to San Antonio for Christmas.  We packed so many activities into the short time we were there - well, I almost lost count.

The biggest attraction was our first trip to Nuevo Progreso, a little town right across the river which has dedicated itself to Winter Texans.  Jim and Veti agreed to be our guides.  We walked across the bridge, took each others' pictures in front of various signs, got Veti's shoes polished and shopped!

The little town specializes in all things Winter Texans might need:
Cosmetic Improvements
Drug Stores
Gee Gaws
Hand-made Rugs
Pirated movies and tapes

There was something for everyone!

Time for lunch!  It was Veti's birthday so it had to be special!
Happy, happy birthday, Veti!

After lunch, there was more shopping and then back across the river.
We had survived Nuevo Progreso and we will definitely go back!

Another big adventure was the Orthodox Church Winter Festival.  
This was my first experience in an Orthodox Church.  
The question I am asked most often is, "What kind of Orthodox Church was it?  
Greek?  Eastern?  Russian?  Ethiopian?"
The answer:  "All of the above and more."
Not having enough population of any one of the ethnic groups, they are a collective force.
I made a couple of very important observations:
1.  The food was delicious!
2.  The priest was enthusiastic; he made his church seem inviting.
After checking out all the booths, and making a few purchases, we went inside the church for a brief lesson on orthodoxy. 
We learned about the significance of icons in the church, a little church history, and some of its most important characteristics.
The patron saint of this particular church is Saint George, the Dragon Slayer.  
Notice his icon front and center in the collage below. 

Posted by PicasaWe swam almost every day, consumed lots of good food and wine, attended a concert by the Rio Grande Philharmonic Orchestra (it was surprisingly good), and thoroughly enjoyed the company of friends.  
What a nice way to start off the Christmas holiday!