Day 4 barely felt like a day on the road to me. I was at my computer by 7:00 AM for a short work call, which was nice because I got to see my brother Adam before he headed off to work. As soon as Jason was up, my sister-in-law, Aybree, took us out for breakfast. We went to The Village Inn. I had my doubts about the place when I walked through the door and into 1989, but they quickly disappeared when the food arrived. I had Huevos Mexicanos, which was basically a veggie omelet with refried beans and homemade tortillas. Yup, I said homemade tortillas. As in, they most warm and delicious thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. They have them everywhere in El Paso, and I’m obsessed with them. I even smuggled some out of town with us. They’re THAT good.
After gorging myself on empty carbs, Aybree gave us a short tour of Fort Bliss. Then Jason hit the gym while she and I took her dogs for a walk around the neighborhood (or, more accurately, they took us). It was a nice opportunity to get a feel for their neighborhood. I always enjoy seeing how people live around the world. Most of the homes in El Paso are modest ranches, and are the same style as the homes in other desert areas like Las Vegas.
I also learned that my little niece is quite the dancer! Here we are, bustin’ some moves.
Adam got home from work early, and we headed to one of their favorite Mexican restaurants where I ate more homemade tortillas. Then they took us on a driving tour so that we could see across the border. It was early rush hour, and I couldn’t believe the traffic waiting to enter Mexico! We made a wrong turn and ended up stuck in the mess for several minutes before being able to make a U-turn pointing us back towards “the land of the free”.
After that, we drove along a highway that ran along the Mexico border. It was so close that we could see the fence and Mexico beyond it. It’s as if the fence divides two worlds, rather than two countries. On the American side is UTEP (University of Texas, El Paso), a beautiful and modern university. But on the other side of the fence, just a stones throw away, is a hillside covered in shacks and shanteys. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture a good picture from the highway (see bad photo, below), but the densely populated town constructed greatly of corrugated metal is an image that won’t leave my mind anytime soon.
Around 6:30, we said our goodbyes and hit the dusty trail. I ate some tortillas and dozed in and out while Jason drove the whole way to Tucson. We went through only one border patrol stop, and arrived at our hotel before midnight.