Saturday, 11 March 2017

Week 47 - El Paso, Texas Part 2

Kyle’s been eating well and relaxing a lot, so when Jo and David’s grandkids, Donny and Dominik, suggested Jumpland he was both excited and apprehensive. I found it hilarious watching him sweat his arse off playing dodgeball, gladiators and doing backflips into foam to impress the kids. Poor Kyle was bloody knackered after 30 minutes but the boys wouldn’t let him off the trampoline for at least 2 hours, even if he was always first off the dodgeball court. It was a pleasure to finally meet Donny and Dominik and we’re looking forward to a family BBQ at the weekend to meet the rest of the tribe.

One of my favourite things about El Paso is the street names, Running Deer, Pocahontas, Armadillo and Black Bear (just to name a few) and it’s streets like these that lead you on to the Mission Trail. Socorro Road links the two mission churches of Ysleta and Socorro and the presido chapel of San Elizario and is lined with adobe homes…some of which look as though they have been there 100’s of years and others look slightly newer, but the funny thing is they all have new cars outside. The missions are all well maintained and are used as working churches today, we were lucky enough to meet a lady inside the Socorro Mission who told us how the Indians transported the wooden ceiling beams down the river to build the church, and even though it has been restored 3 times, these original beams still remain.  

After the Mission Trail we headed to Tigua Indian Cultural centre, here we were hoping to catch a Native American Social dance but unfortunately we were out of season. Instead we enjoyed some freshly prepared traditional bread and raisin loaf, before walking around the museum, here we got to see ancient artefacts and learn the history of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. The tidal community Tigua established Ysleta del Sur in 1682 and are a U.S federally recognised Native American tribe. Captured by the Spanish in 1680 and forced to walk over 400 miles during the Pueblo revolt, they eventually settled and built the Ysleta del Sur, and to this day maintains the tribes political systems  and ceremonial practices.

It was cool to see all of Davids old watering holes along the way, he told us tales of swimming in the streams, hanging with his friends and walking miles to church once a year as a pilgrimage for being a little shit.

You should all know the story of Billy the Kid and the San Elizario jail but incase you don’t I’ll give you a little overview. Story has it that Billy the Kid traveled from Las Cruces to the jail and posed as a Texas Ranger, telling the guard he’d arrived to collect two American prisoners. The guard opened the door and was faced with Billy’s 44 revolver. Billy then took the guns, released his friends, put the guards in jail and immediately crossed the river to Mexico. The jail has now been made into a museum with the cells inside, they’re pretty tiny and contain little more than a cot bed, but still probably more comfortable than those in Alcatraz.

We leant the hard way that El Paso is a little off the tourist trail after spending over an hour waiting for the bus Downtown. However, when it did arrive we were pleasantly surprised to learn that $1.50 would take us on two buses, pretty cheap hey? It was just a shame that the driver decided to have a 10 minute cigarette break 2 minutes into the journey. As soon as we arrived Downtown we could immediately see the dividing line between the newer buildings of El Paso and the old Mexican stores, and we had our first racist encounter. Adam handled it really well by ignoring the lady, but I was shocked at how openly racist people could be and gave her a sickly sweet “hello” just so she knew that we’d seen her. We ventured down the main shopping street trailing in and out of all the shops, I wanted some shoes but my big old European feet wouldn’t fit in any, so it was onwards to the cowboy store. Kyle and Adam tried matching jackets and hats, but the boots were a step too far for Kyle and at $5000 for a hat we left those on the shelf too.

Next Adam took us to the restored square where we saw the newly built alligator statue, an original theatre and of course a brand spanking new Starbucks all next door to the baseball stadium. Adam told us tales of the live alligators that used to live in the square, long gone since people started throwing live cats and bottles into the pit. Our final stop of the day was a pawn shop, now home to Pancho Villa’s trigger finger. Pancho Villa was a Mexican Revolutionary general who was assassinated in 1923, it’s said that his coffin was later dug up and his head cut off and people believe that his finger was taken at the same time. This rotten finger is now reportedly worth $9,500….I think I’m good for that thanks. It was great to spend the day with Adam, were now a proper little family and with a budding bromance blossoming between the boys I’m worried I won’t be able to separate the two.

Mall days are my favourite kind of day or they were until I experienced shopping with Jojo. After 30 minutes in Sephora and 20 minutes in Forever 21 I was pretty much good to go, Kyle even managed to find his dream cap after 6 shops too, but boy can Jo shop. 5 hours later she left Dillards with a bag full of clothing…5hours, I don’t think I’ve ever spent that long shopping never mind in 1 shop, good job you look pretty in your new stuff Jo. A full day of shopping was followed by dinner in Red Lobster, an American chain we’ve all heard of right? We were all excited but were left disappointed, this time we’re blaming it on it being a Friday and Lent, fingers crossed it’s better next time. 

Kyle even got a real barber shop experience and had to trust that the lady was doing a good job as all the chairs in the salon faced inwards instead of at the mirror. Luckily she understood his English accent and cut his hair exactly how he wanted, and he didn't end up with a C for the Dallas cowboys shaved into the back of his head, though if he did I would of said that it was for Carrie, obviously.

I think that I’ve done pretty well at conquering my fear of heights on our travels, so when Jo and David suggested another cable car and Kyle jumped at the chance to go on it I was far from impressed. The Wyler Aerial Tramway was originally built in 1959 to aid the construction of a transmitter antenna and service platform, but it has since become a tourist attraction here in El Paso taking people up 940 feet for spectacular views over Mexico, El Paso and Florida. I mean the views were worth it, seeing the mountains, the contrast between desert and city and watching the plants try to turn green in the heat but fuck me that journey to the top was the longest 4 minutes of my life, my hands were so sweaty I couldn’t even hold the hand rail. I managed a brave face on the way back down mind, some poor girl was almost in tears so it was up to me to set an example and show her that all was going to be o.k, or at least it would be once the 4 minutes had passed and we were at the bottom.

We have one week left in El Paso, Jo wants to do more shopping but I think I’ll pass this time, and we have a family BBQ to look forward to before heading to San Antonio and onwards to Nashville.

Love Carrie xxx

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