Wednesday, July 7, 2010

rio grande valley, tx

Work has sent me for five days to the RGV--a place I haven't been for (maybe) ten years (?). Geez, it's hard to imagine it's been that long, but I think that's right.

Yesterday I flew into Harlingen--a Texas border town--then made the drive along the river over to Laredo (stayed at one of my all-time fave hotels, La Posada). Today was a day trip back to McAllen for two days' of business, both here and up the road in Edinburg. The good times (snicker) wrap-up Friday in Brownsville, then I'll fly back out of Harlingen on Saturday.

Things have changed. The Valley I know from my younger days is no more.

Two words: Border Patrol. They're everywhere. Literally. EVERYWHERE. If I had to venture a guess of how many different BP law enforcement-types I saw today alone (in vehicles, on foot, in and about towns, etc.), it'd be at least 50. And that's probably a very conservative number.

It's not at all hard to remember our south Texas trips of the past, when we'd drive down for a few days of second-to-none shopping, buckets of margaritas, loud music, cervezas frias, and much sun-soaking. No cares in the world ... just playing, laughing, and an overdose of cultural whimsy that can only come from a mutual understanding two peoples (Texans and Mexicans) have, based on a very long and rich history. Crossing the border and back again was as natural as saying, "Howdy" to folks as they pass.

But the current climate is unlike any I've ever seen. The area is quiet and serious--two adjectives anyone who's ever spent any time along the U.S./Mexican border would never think to use. For lack of a better word, there's just an eery feeling in the air. And with the currently contentious and dangerous environment along the border, I certainly understand why. But it's sad.

I've snapped a few random (and I mean ran-dom) photos of the last 24 hours. Undoubtedly I'll collect one or two more before the journey is said and done.

Welcome to Harlingen, TX:

Was all set to pick-up that sketchy-looking, orange jumpsuit-wearing hitchhiker, until I saw this sign:

I gave a friendly Texas wave to this passer-by along the way:

La Posada in Laredo, TX:

"Working" on the balcony outside my hotel room

Said balcony:

If Room 229 is a rockin', don't come a knockin'.

A common sight in these parts:

Oh, the irony (and so sorry, Mexico ... but I wouldn't think of crossing the border without my shiny girl, Ms. .38 Special):

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry to hear about all the border problems in your area. It sickens me to think your once festive and happy way of life is no longer.

    On a brighter note, the margarita, chips & salsa look divine.

    Left you an award on my blog. Stop by when you get a chance!