November 21-23, 2004

After flying into El Paso, Texas and spending a day and a half checking it out and tying up some loose ends, we took the bus across the border to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.  From there, we headed South for five hours by bus to Chihuahua.   Our mode of transport  was definitely nice, with fully reclinable seats and on board movies (some only in Spanish).  There is not too much between Juarez and Chihuahua, but there are beautiful desertscapes, similar to what you might see in western Texas. 

We arrived in Chihuahua, which is the capital of the State of Chihuahua, Mexico's largest state, at about 9pm, and took a cab straight to Hotel Reforma in the historic district.  The hotel was decent.  It was sort of clean, with hot water, and really friendly managers.  Because it was only $12 US a night, we decided to overlook the "only-kind-of-clean" issue and stay for two nights.  After some really good food at the restaurant across the street, Casa de Los Milagros,  some good live music, and Mexican infomericals on our one channel TV set (one of which was for the smallest digital camera we have ever seen) we hit the hay.

The next day we spent exploring the city, which is an interesting combination of underdevelopment and modern conveniences.  For example, the city is fairly rundown, and has its share of poverty. There are open air flea type markets, exposed electrical wires, and exposed holes in the sidewalks and roads, among other hazards (in America, these things would make a tort lawyer lick his or her chops).  In contast, parts of the city are fairly modern, with modern architecture, Subway, Dominos and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, and an outdoor mall which looked exactly like the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica absent the flagship stores and the sticklike manequins (as an  aside, all the female manequins in Mexico appear to have bootays).  Although not modern, the Cathedral on Victoria, as well as Hidalgo and Constitution Plazas and the Federal Palace are all really beauitful.    

    As for history, while we are unable to read Spanish well enough at this point to get specifics, we are told that this city and the surrounding country  played a central role in the Mexican Revolution.  Apparently, Pancho Villa once captured the city by disguising his men as peasants pretending to shop in the market.  And, apparently Father Hidalgo, another key figure in Mexico´s fight for independence (the father of the revolution if you will), was held in Chihuahua, while waiting for his execution.

ĦAh Chihuahua!
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