Here are a few tips for El Paso before I forget. The Scenic Drive is really nice. It curves around the south of the El Paso mountains and these pictures are all taken from there. Do NOT change money into pesos at the bank. Go to Melek’s service on the corner of Mesa & Paisano near downtown. We got 10.65 pesos per $1 there which was a peso better per dollar than the bank.
In between Mom and Mex’s heads you can sort of see the Mexican flag. The flag is 162 feet by 93 feet and it is called the “Megabandera” or “Giant Flag.” The flag pole sits in Chamizal Park, which is right across from the Bridge of the Americas, (the free driving bridge), and is 339 feet high and weighs 110 tons. That is 22,000 pounds! (Probably necessary to handle the hurricane force winds around here!) That is Juárez in the background after the little park on the right of Mex. We spent some time shopping and went to a few cowboy boot stores (we are in Texas, after all) but, really, I just don’t find them comfortable. Mostly, we just drove around the city completing errands. The information in our hotel said it was possible to get a driving pass from the Mexican Embassy but that is NOT true. We waited in line only to be told they stopped doing that the first of the year and you can only get passes in Mexico.
There are multiple ways to cross into Juárez from El Paso… you can take a walking bridge or a round trip trolley or drive on four different roads. The tourist propaganda in our hotel makes Juárez sound a lot
better than all the stories I’ve heard.
I did try to fix the lens on my camera to get rid of these spots
after I downloaded the pictures and saw them. However, every time I zoom in to something I get these stupid spots. Bad timing to have a broken camera!
The view from Scenic Drive looks very pretty at night. As we pulled off to take in the view we clearly interrupted a couple who was sitting in the back seat of their car, “enjoying the view.” Oops! You can kind of see the snake of lights through the city which marks the border. We did drive along the border highway and saw the fences… All three of them with barbed wire on top and paths in between them for the border patrol vehicles to go. Did I mention the millions of watts of floodlights pointing towards Mexico? Very, very interesting. There is a Border Patrol Museum here but we decided not to go. I can’t imagine what would be inside! I just imagine some kind of grotesque trophies of people caught or something. Ugh. (In hindsight and looking at their website it probably would have been interesting. I’d say “maybe next time” but I don’t think we will ever be visiting this area again).
For dinner we took a break from the steakhouse scene and went to Olive Garden for our “last supper.” We both figured we should load up on salad before crossing the border when fresh produce is one of the things which we are supposed to stay away from if we want to avoid stomach problems in Mexico.
Well… on another note… tomorrow we cross. We are both trying not to think of it. We’ve had a really good time with my parents and it has helped us relax which has been a blessing. They did talk us into staying in Juárez over the weekend instead of making the five hour drive to Chihuahua City and back before his interview. Even if we have to stay in the hotel all weekend it would be better than risking something happening to us so he couldn’t get to the interview that we’ve waited two years for. We will miss mom and dad and it will be very emotional to cross over the bridge tomorrow. However, we are confident that on the afternoon of April 17th (the day of his 2nd interview) we will be back again on this side of the river.
My next entry will be from Juárez, Mexico and I suppose in honor of the occasion it will be in Spanish (as long as my husband tells me what to type).