Today has been a somewhat challenging day. As mentioned in my last entry, El Paso is not what I expected. I had in mind a couple of museums to go to. One was the Border Patrol Museum which was a short drive out of town and the other, The Railway and Transportation Museum, was a short walk from the hotel.
Upon further investigation we found that the Railway and Transportation Museum has closed down (!) and upon asking at the hotel reception, the downtown area consists of ‘Mom & Pop Shops’ and fine dining restaurants. I had no idea what Mom & Pop shops were so I had to ask. They are unique and boutique shops so in the UK you could say that Whitstable had a lot of Mom & Pop shops, whereas somewhere like Bluewater wouldn’t have because the shops there are chains. I wasn’t in the mood for fine dining either. As you will see from previous blog posts, I have no problem at all with fine dining, I just didn’t want to make a whole day out of it. Even I couldn’t eat that much!
So, after much deliberation, we decided to move on. We have been due to say in El Paso tonight too but in the absence of anything that we really wanted to do, we decided to check out early. I was very pleased that the hotel had no problem with us doing this because when we booked it they told us there was a 24 hour cancellation policy although it being Saturday, I doubt they would have had a problem filling the rooms.
I must confess that El Paso was not what I expected and was somewhat of a disappointment. I’m glad that I got to see it and experience with my own eyes so that I am able to make that assessment based on my own experiences. I think with any trip there will always be things that you enjoy and things that you don’t enjoy so much.
The Border Patrol Museum was on the way out of town. There were not many people there. In fact, I think our car was only one of a couple in the car park. It really was a fascinating place that charts the history of the Border Patrol and tells you how their role has changed since 9/11. They have a bigger role in keeping out terrorists. I was touched by the Memorial Hall which remembers all those have fallen in the line of duty. Some of them date back to the 20s/30s and there are pictures of them astride their horse. It reminders you how far back the Boarder Patrol history goes and how their roles have changed in recent years.
The lady who ran the museum was interesting and knowledgeable too. Her husband had been a Border Patrol Officer for many years. She was interested to learn that the museum was in the Moon Guide as the museum is not government funded and she has had to put together the publicity herself.
After we’d finished there we went next door to El Paso Museum of Archaeology. I found it unusual as it wasn’t archaeology as you’d expect. Hubby summed it up well when he said it was more of historical timeline. I didn’t find it particularly interesting and wouldn’t recommend it unless you have small children. The highlight for me was a dummy that looked like Patrick Stewart in a loincloth! And of course a cactus shaped like a phallus always causes great amusement, especially when it is in a pot!!
My in-laws were keen to find a scenic outlook that they’d been to when they were previously in El Paso 20+ years ago. It looked out over El Paso and you could see over into Mexico. We found one but I’m not sure if it was the same one they’d been to before. The city was so sprawling that it was hard to make out individual buildings.
It was 2pm by the time we’d finished everything we wanted to do in El Paso and had lunch. On the way out we crossed back over in to central time from mountain time so we lost an hour there. The highlight of the journey for me was being stopped by Border Patrol at a checkpoint. We had to get out of the car and show our passports because we were not US citizens. There was even time for a photo with the friendly Border Patrol Officer.
It was 7pm by the time we arrived and checked into the Hampton Inn at Alpine so we headed out for dinner almost immediately. The receptionist at the hotel recommended an Italian Restaurant in town named Guzzi Up which sounded interesting. Italian would also make a nice change from all the American food that we’d been eating. Unfortunately they were unable to accommodate us as the kitchen would take at least an hour. We drove through town and other than fast food restaurants, the only place we could find was Penny’s Diner which was okay. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but in the absence of anything else it filled a hole.