Jean�s El Paso
First Stop in Texas was El Paso. Back at the hotel I watched Angel while Amy watched Rushmore in the other room. There was a basketball hoop there and Jay played a game against two kids who must have been 8 and 10. He almost let them win, but then he beat them at the last minute. Apparently losers at Horse are supposed to stand against a wall while the winner beams the basketball as hard as he can at them. But Jay’s too nice for that. I understand he just let them stand against the wall and sweat for a while before he let them off the hook. They were really little kids. We drove around looking for dinner and found a bar with a pool table in the middle of what looked like downtown El Paso. Franklin and I played a bit, and then we ate cheesy enchiladas and called Heather, who was in NM not far from us celebrating day of the dead. Angel started later where she was, even though she was only 40 minutes away. The next morning we had really good chicken fajitas right on the border of Mexico at El Hacienda. After breakfast we walked around in the parking lot and looked across the canal through the barbed wire. It was sunny and we squinted a lot.
Jenny’s El Paso
On the way out of town we high-tailed it to Pico De Gallo a tiny family restaurant, which prepares maybe the most delicious Mexican food I�ve ever eaten. (During the Tempting recording session we ate at this restaurant 8 times in 10 days). Once you�ve had the handmade corn tortilla�s wrapped around the lightly breaded and fried fish tacos with garlic slaw, vinegar and cream sauce you�ll find yourselves ruined, as I am, to even the most delicious bean, cheese and rice combinations that masquerade under the generous definitions of �Mexican Food�. I also had a �Pico De Gallo� i.e.� �The beak of the chicken� which is a cup of sharply cut (beak) slices of
fruit and coconut slathered in lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Not the most delicious dessert but when in Tucson�
Warning, from here on out the tour diary loses 90% of its glorious mundane details. I have completely forgotten the drive between Tucson and Odessa TX� The handwritten signs taped to the windows of the rest stops stating �No Shirts, No Shoes, No Hitchhikers, No Service.� (Or was that in Alabama?) The thousands of black birds that eclipse the trees at a TX gas station (Or was that Dallas?). The clear Tequila lolly pops complete with embalmed (amber-ified? Petrified? tequillified) worms�No, they are all fading from memory and being replaced by a scene from the R. Crumb documentary where he shows the interviewer a photo album filled with snapshots of telephone poles and utility wires. The minutia that frames every modern city scene is too boring to be remembered so he keeps the album handy to pencil in street signs and traffic lights after he�s drawn the narrative. Maybe next tour I�ll carry a little notebook.
I do remember at one rest stop I lobbied that we drive an extra couple of hours through to some city (forget where now) that had an art-house theatre showing the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in celebration of Halloween. Everyone else was anxious to stop earlier. I believe it might have been a Monday and Jean wanted to see Buffy. Either way, we ended up in El Paso.
There was a swimming pool. Amy made good use of it while Jay whipped the asses of two 10 year olds in basketball in the Hotel parking lot. Eventually we went into the old city to find dinner. The restaurant we found was just closing though it was surrounded by 24-hour bail bonds offices. The cook opened up the grill for us and while we drank margaritas and waited for quesadillas we played pool under a Xeroxed sign that warned that it was illegal to carry concealed weapons.
In the morning we went to the La Hacienda��The oldest Mexican Restaurant in El Paso� right across the dirty sliver of water from Mexico. (Ahhh, concealed weapons�) It was nice to see the Haciendas maintaining the rich Mexican tradition of heat lamps, rib buffets and brown paper table clothes to color on with crayons.
Fatally competitive, Jay quickly created a game, which involved using only 4 lines to make the �best drawing�. While half the band fought over colors and debated the definition of �best� and clarified how many curves were allowed in each line without disqualification, Jay filled in his carefully drawn lines with salt and pepper to wow the (as yet, undetermined) judges. I took a phone interview outside and missed the awards ceremony. I was glad to be in the sun and away from the restaurant�s oppressive stench of disinfectant. I mean hooray! The place was clean�but the smell couldn�t have been stronger had I been snorting lines of liquid Clorox.
After lunch we got in the van and completely lost about 8 hours of time. Kristin hallucinated some NPR interview with Pacific Northwest Senator Patty Murray who suggested removing sales tax between Thanksgiving and X-mas to both jump-start the economy and help us get over our �bad feelings about the war.� Kristin swears she remembers the representative saying something about how when she feels bad� �She just likes to go out and buy a sweater!� Like anyone would say something that stupid. Yeah right, while we�re at it let�s airlift some of those Afghan ladies sweaters to cheer them up now that their county has been bombed to shit.