El Paso, Texas (Rest Day)

Gene found a shuttle service that would take us across the border to El Paso’s neighboring city, Juarez. We parked downtown and caught the trolly. As we approached the river, the English language seemed to disappear; street names and storefronts all featured Spanish words. Most of the people on the streets were Mexican. We crossed a bridge over the Rio Grande, which was a trickle of water constrained by concrete.

We stopped a short while later and walked along the sidewalk past numerous small shops. We passed the masses of high pressure salespeople who insisted that we buy an assortment of cheap glass windchimes, bandanas, leather wallets, and a million other things that may or may not have even been made in Mexico. What a concept, to buy a Mexican souvenir made in Indonesia.

We had lunch in the vast courtyard of an attractive restaurant. The manager greeted us and gave us a tour of the grounds. He explained that he had grown up in the house that was now a successful dining establishment. Inside and out, his home had been transformed into a work of art that could seat several hundred patrons inside, and many more in the courtyard. There was a loosely organized clutter of murals and statues, fountains and antiques. The food was good, the margaritas plentiful.

After some more wandering through markets and down sidewalks, we boarded the trolley and hurried towards the line of cars waiting to return to El Paso. United States customs was checking every vehicle and every person, and the process was slow. Finally free of the gridlock at the border, we made our way back to the RV park as the sun was setting.

I helped Zac and Cory set up a web page of their own, zacory.com. We’ll continue to develop it as time allows. Cory was able to understand the technical concepts required to create a web site, so worked together through the evening writing some brilliant hypertext. Zac was able to add creative influence to the project.

Tomorrow we shall part with the Odoms. While we can’t be sure, I think this will be the last rendezvous with them on the tour. It has been an unexpected facet of the trip. We have been able to see Big Bend and Juarez and we have rested and eaten well. We owe a debt to the Odoms’ hospitality. One more night in the comfort of the RV, then it’s westward again.