Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sun 17 Feb - El Paso, TX

Sunday, and we are not quite going to church, but to a cemetery.
Sad Hill..., no that's not right..., it's Concordia Cemetery just east of downtown El Paso. Although, it is also referred to as Boot Hill. You will see why later.
We think that the below sign says it all. This cemetery has a rich and colorful past.
The most infamous character buried here is John Wesley Harding, gunfighter in the late 1800s. The parallel lines on the photo below is because JWH's gravestone is, just like Billy The Kid's gravestone in Fort Sumner, behind bars, if you excuse the pun.
The punters would steal the gravestone if they were given the opportunity.
Well, what can you say about the below. A "memorial" of sorts...
Of course, in addition to having JWH buried at the Coronado Cemetery, the man who "slayed" him is also here.
Various Mexican generals and dignitaries can also be found buried at Coronado Cemetery.
After leaving the "dead centre of town", we go military and drive to Fort Bliss. A small section of this gigantic military reserve is available to the public, but first and foremost it is house servicemen and their families.
You drive to the gate, show the security guard your driving licence and they let you in. Australian driving licence worked just fine with the guard "wishing that he could go there".
Mind you, there were two military police vehicles parked just behind the gates and it looked like they were checking a suspicious vehicle.
First stop is a reconstruction of old Fort Bliss as it looked between 1854-1868. Unfortunately, the buildings were not open on Sundays so we couldn't get inside, but we could still walk the grounds.
The reconstruction went all the way to install fake horses and cows, complete with haybales for feed. Good horses. They don't eat all at once...
Some sense of humour here...
This extract is from an old military field manual that was mounted on the wall inside the men's restroom...
We had then planned to visit Fort Bliss Museum, but... You guessed it. The museum is closed on Sundays. However, outside the museum on the parking lot we found a display of old military hardware. Fascinating.
Is there anybody in there?
An old Cobra helicopter as they sign says below...
The area of Fort Bliss that is available to the public is like a town. It has shopping centers, service stations, road intersections with traffic lights, fast food joints (we saw Burger King and Denny's) and lots of housing that we assume is for servicemen and their families. Amazing.
Moving right along to the third tourist destination for the day, Ascarate Park in east El Paso. An oasis for families with lakes, picnic grounds and sports fields. Mostly Hispanic people of course. Baseball was the favourite sport from what we could see.
Here is Di in front of the main lake (however, swimming is not allowed and frankly, judging by the colour of the water that is probably wise)
At the southern end of Ascarate Park was this playground. It stands in stark contrast with what is behind it, the long fence that is the border between US and Mexico.
The Border Highway follows the border with its fence and yes, we just had to drive it. The concrete barriers are there because of work to widen the highway from 2 to 3 lanes either way. BTW, we have seen on maps that there is also a similar highway following the border in Juarez on the Mexican side.
We passed Mount Carmel Cemetery and we have never seen so many flowers on so many graves in a cemetery before. We just had to through the cemetery and stare in awe.
We tried yet another fast food chain for lunch, Carl's Jr. In one word; shite. We will not return.
Below is a Mexican registered car and there are unsurprisingly quite a few of those on the streets and roads of El Paso.
We then drove back to our lovely Holiday Inn Express on E Missouri Ave.
Di wanted a rest and Hans walked out exploring north west of downtown and the area around Union Station.
We had briefly driven through that area yesterday, and it looked nice, and also interesting on the map, and the weather is nice and warm, some 20+ degrees Celsius, so off he went...
Below is just above Interstate road I10 looking east from a small hill just off W Missouri Ave.
Union Station in El Paso. Most US towns seem to have a Union Station somewhere and they are usually very nice buildings. This one was totally empty inside, bar one "bum". Still very imposing and attractive.
Aahh, that's were you find them...
The area around Union Plaza had some warehouses converted into bars, restaurants and some apartments. This is clever advertising...
Hmm.. Suspect that the Plum bar may be somewhat rowdy at times...
The old and the new. El Paso Conference Center is the foreground and old Camino Real Hotel behind it. (Camino Real meaning Royal Road or Way, of course)
Experimenting photography in downtown El Paso... This is taken from N Oregon St.
Hans came back to the motel around 4pm after yet another jam packed day with new sights and experiences. It's tough to be a tourist sometimes, He needs a break... Sympathy anyone?
We had microwave dinners as so many places seem to be closed on Sundays around were we stay in El Paso.
We were trying to watch some TV, but the old Pink Floyd song line "fifty channels of shit on the TV to choose from" came to mind. We switched off.


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