Of all the places we went, this was the place that I had the least amount of expectations for. In fact, the most common reaction I got from people while explaining this leg of the journey was “why there?”
From the beginning, we drove into El Paso after dark but still we could see the Mexican border to our left, the only continuous strip of land not covered in lights from buildings and cars. It was too dark to see that we were amidst a slew of steep rolling hills. From an untraveled person like myself, this place was so starkly different from home and that made it almost immediately the coolest place ever in my book.
Since we didn’t know what to expect, Becca, Sandy and I sat in our car in the parking lot behind the venue to catch our bearings and just chill for a minute while watching the people walk by. We were parked on Mesa Street, where the two local colleges sat on either end and all the kids were out for their Saturday night somewhere in between.
The bar we played at was in this between area. It was a hookah bar and it was connected to another bar called Monarch. There was a crowd of people sitting at this little outdoor bar area where you could order drinks through the window. Without hesitation they struck up conversation with us and said all of the things that would make three ladies who had never been so far from home, let alone in a city they knew nothing about, feel welcome.
By the end of the night we were best friends forever with the city of El Paso. I will most definitely be back someday but next time I’ll bring a passport so I can dip in to Mexico for burritos.
In the morning, the sun was shining in my eyes through the blinds of the house we stayed at and I was awoken with chihuahua kisses. Where this chihuahua came from, I don’t know, but since I’ve never experienced otherwise, I’m convinced that this is the way all mornings begin in El Paso.
Onward and deeper into the desert we go.