It’s All Maya!

If Life is an illusion, then why do I keep banging my head against the wall?

Si la Vie est une illusion, pourquoi je n'arrête pas de me taper la tête sur les murs?

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The Beauty Of The Southwest

March 13th, 2010 · 6 Comments

Starry Night in Texas

El Paso:  I love El Paso!  It’s a place where you can breathe because of the vast openness of the desert.  A place where the stars are as big as ripe apples and you feel that you can reach out and pluck one down from the sky.  I see the beauty that surrounds this border town, but that may be because I don’t live in El Paso.  It seems that many people who do, wish they could live somewhere else.  Perhaps those people need to step away, like an artist who steps away from his canvas to appreciate the entire painting.  In doing so, the people who dislike being there may get a clearer view and a new appreciation for the beauty and diversity that make up this city.


The first time I returned to El Paso after years and years in France, I was taken once again by the beauty of the mountains and the desert.  The sunsets are literally a performance each evening with hues of deep reds and oranges, magenta and saffron mixed with violets and dark purples against the mountains and the barren landscape and are spectacular to watch.

Scenic Drive

Then little by little the lights of the two sister cities, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, begin twinkling as far as the eye can see in both Texas and Mexico.  They’re so, so close these two cities and yet they’re a world apart in the way the people live.  One side rich and relatively safe, the other poor and so very, very dangerous…..

Shopping in Juarez

Ciudad Juarez:  The only disappointment Patrick and I had was not being able to return to Juarez.  The city has gotten so dangerous that most El Pasoans no longer venture to the other side.  It use to be that Americans would cross over to shop for groceries, gas, haircuts, medicines, dining at nice restaurants, or just eating a few tacos and sipping frozen margaritas at a local hangout!  You name it, the price was a lot cheaper than buying the same things in El Paso.  Nowadays, the price of going to Juarez is exorbitantly high.  If you cross over the border, you go at your own risk of being kidnapped and held for ransom, disappearing without a trace, or being killed and your body dumped in the desert.

Killings in Juarez

In the first four days of the new year 2010, 37 people were murdered in Juarez.  While we were there in neighboring El Paso, another 26 people were killed in one day.  16 were killed randomly at a bar/restaurant where someone entered and began shooting.  It’s well known that young women are at a risk of being murdered just by walking down the street.  It is said that a serial killer is on the loose, others think the police are involved, but more than 400 bodies of young girls between the ages of 12 to 22 have been found dumped on the outskirts of the city.  Over 400!!!  And yet, the killings continue!

Pumpkin Seeds!

Before arriving in El Paso, Patrick and I had high hopes of going to the mercado in Juarez to buy pumpkin seeds.  They’re the best in the world and we dreamed of buying kilos and kilos of the stuff!  We can literally sit for hours like chipmonks chomping on pumpkin seeds nonstop!  Well, there wasn’t much deliberation on whether we should hop across the border or not.  “Hmm, let’s see!  Pounds and pounds of pumpkin seeds on the one hand or the possibility of getting tortured and killed on the other!!!”

New Mexico Winery

New Mexico:  Well, needless to say, we went to New Mexico instead!  Mesilla is a lovely little town only 40 miles from El Paso and there are a number of wineries throughout the state.  Patrick thought it reminded him of the wine country in France and the contrast of the vineyards and wineries only 30 minutes away from the tumbleweed desert of El Paso makes you feel like you’ve traveled much further than you did.


Years ago Patrick and I took Katarina to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.  It was 85°F (30°C) when we left El Paso.  Once in Cloudcroft, we were in one of the shops only a short time when Katarina, who was 3 years old at the time, said, “Look Aunt Linnie, it’s snowing!”  I thought she was looking at a snow globe or something, but when I turned around and looked outside, it was indeed snowing!  Such a crazy feeling when just an hour and a half earlier we were in the desert where it was warm and we had the air conditioner on in the car, and then we’re up in the mountains and we’re standing outside where it’s cold and snow is falling.  I love it!

Snow in Ruidoso!

It was a similar experience this time when my mom, my brother Bam, his wife Ceci, Patrick and I went to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  When we hopped in the car the weather was a balmy 68°F (20°C) as we left the brown desert of El Paso behind and headed toward a white mountain in the distance.  A little over two hours later, you not only feel like you’re in an entirely different world,…. you absolutely are!

We’re no longer in the desert!

At 7000 ft. above sea level with pine and aspen trees covered in sparkling snow, and deer just moseying along crossing the town’s one main street, it’s a picture perfect postcard scene and you’re convinced that somehow you went through a wormhole and made it to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains in no time flat!  It’s simply gorgeous!

Ruidoso New Mexico

We wanted to return to a great little French restaurant on the main drag that Patrick, Katarina and I had been to years earlier, but the restaurant was no longer there.  A pity really, the food was great and the French chef/owner was as sweet as could be, and it was where Katarina on her 3rd birthday had eaten escargots for the first time.

The Inn of the Mountain Gods

The new attraction since our last visit was the new casino!  A beautifully built resort with a wonderful name – the Inn of the Mountain Gods.  So we went there for dinner instead and who would we be kidding if we didn’t say we also went to do some gambling?!  I mean afterall, we had my mom in tow for Pete’s sake!  LOL!!!

Mom in her usual seat!

Maya Muses:  Wonderful memories of a good time and what can I say about Southwestern paintings?  The artwork is divine!  The Indian influence and the vivid colors are a real feast for the eyes!  Enjoy!






Photo Credits:  Personal Photos and Flickr

Tags: Books and Reviews · If....Then.... · Travel

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Deena // Mar 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing, it makes me want to go! Not to Juarez though, not after what you said!!!

  • 2 Lynn // Mar 13, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks Deena….it’s sad, but that’s the way it is! Better safe than sorry!

  • 3 Kerri // Mar 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    The situation in Juarez makes me so sad. I have good memories of going over, and I want to be able to share that with my kids. And it makes me so sad for the kids growing up there. It was such a colorful, festive city.

  • 4 Lynn // Mar 14, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    It was and I too have some great memories.

    The worst part of this situation, however, is when you think of how women in Juarez live everyday in fear. Fear when they go home at night after working night shifts at factories (many which are American factories) for little pay and walking home because the buses no longer are running at that time of night, or their routes don’t go to the outskirts of town and these women have no choice but to walk home knowing that the risk of being raped and killed is not just a fear, but a very real danger. Yet, they continue to do it because they need to feed their families, and these companies can very easily hire buses for their employees and make sure that they get home safely, but do they? Of course not!

    Sometimes I wonder how these women can get up each day and face another day of fear that today may be the day that they are killed…’s terrible!

  • 5 Mia // Mar 20, 2010 at 5:35 am

    You have really been traveling around a lot..

    Are you on your way to Paris soon?

    I would love to see you soon..over a drink or two..
    Have so much to share with you..

    Take Care

  • 6 Lynn // Mar 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Our travels aren’t done yet, but we’ve been having a wonderful time! We should be back in Paris in about a month or two. (Doesn’t Ulf want to go to Paris with you??)

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