The drive to El Paso was very, very long...but extremely scenic. "(Colorado and New Mexico) you got it goin' onnnn. Not in a gay way, just in a 'hey mate, I wanted to say that you're looking okay, mate.'"
We arrived in El Paso late Sunday night, a couple of hours ahead of the generator. The arena wasn't all that difficult to find. We simply avoided all the lanes labeled "this lane to Mexico only" (which really narrowed the choices), and we were golden. For real though, the arena lot was pretty much a taco's throw away from the border. A light northerly breeze constantly filled our parking area with the oh-so fragrant smells of Juarez.
If you hadn't been following the news at that point, we were all chilling in the lot less than a mile from Juarez right after a recent wave of killings had happened. In case you need to catch up.
It had gotten so bad (as I was informed by a local) that the cartel had sent letters to El Paso residents saying "We're coming for you and your city next." which prompted the El Paso mayor to send everyone a letter basically saying "Please please please please don't go to Mexico. You'll probably die. And now we're going to have a city-wide curfew." As always, this tour has had impeccable timing regarding dangerous situations. Be it hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, record (pipe freezing) lows in Knoxville, or border towns at the height of the Swine Flu thing, we're always on top of it.
Other than that, El Paso was a pretty cool and historic town to explore. I resisted the urge to track down Al Jourgensen at his El Paso estate. His quote about El Paso sums up El Paso's "Outlaw" vibe nicely: "No one asks questions because they all have a history and a past—and so do you."
There was a cool coffee shop nearby that I frequented during the week but I found the nightlife rather lacking in...well fun-ness.
I did manage to take a trip up Scenic drive and snap some shots from the overlook park. It was interesting being able to differentiate Juarez from El Paso based on the flicker frequency of the city lights and how they went from neat and orderly in El Paso to haphazard mayhem in Juarez.
Although it was a cool town, I really don't have any extraordinarily fun stories to share. No one got kidnapped by the Juarez cartel so I suppose the week could be considered a success.
As with many of these towns, I'll do a better job exploring next time around.