DOWNTOWN LAREDO: Most of downtown looks like the first two
pictures, but right on the square there are a few
attractive structures. Beyond that it's pretty woreout..
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
While in Laredo, I didn't visit Old Mexico. Why bother? If you
ask me the Rio Grande River is a little south of where the Universe intended.
If you look White like me you need to experience being a
minority every now and again.
And what better place than Laredo? Yes, the Texicans did win the revolution
but this is one piece of the state that the Gringos never had a good hold on.
The reality of what I'm saying showed itself when I
visited a few eating establishments in Laredo. I've attended my share of Mexican
Restaurants and have a fair handle on the menu, or at lease I thought so. I couldn't
decode any of the items at the first restaurant, so I went next door. There, I
didn't have a problem with the menu, but they were calling out the numbers in Spanish.
Since I never order more that eight or nine beers, my skill at counting
Spanish-style is limited to the extreme. I knew I'd be sitting there all day waiting
for them to call a number like 2-83 or 11.
I quit the premises in a flash and crossed the street
to another place. The host kindly spoke English to the bewildered Gringo; but I
realized, by the end of the meal, the waitress was more attentive to those of her own
race. I'm certain that wasn't intentional. I just assumed the Universe was
doing more tinkering.
Downtown was disappointing. Except for a few
buildings on the square the rest was a mess. One-way streets at every turn and half
of that tore up for improvements. I explored residential areas for some photos where
I was viewed with considerable suspicion.
Then I was lost. My clue came when I kept seeing the same buildings again and
again. I looked at a map given to me at the Convention and located, after
considerable effort, the street back to the Center.
What a short-lived relief! I found myself at
the Mexican border, made a quick U-turn, then commenced to worry some lawman might think
I'm a smuggler that left his courage at home.
Going in the right direction on a one-way street that
lead to the other side of the Convention Center I was back at work in no time. And
not long after that my work was done. With everything packed, I filled up Nigel the
Land Rover for $1.45 a gallon and hit the Interstate for Fort Worth -- nearly the other
side of Texas.
Now I know you might think with all that happened I
didn't have much fun. You'd be wrong on that. It's just that us ol' geezers
need to do a little complaining every now and again. Besides, how is the Universe
going to know that "balance thing" needs some attention?
Next stop Fort Worth.
Y'ALL COME BACK JULY (OR
THEREABOUTS) FOR THE JUNE ISSUE: PART 2 OF THE RED ROADS OF TEXAS.
It will take in nearly all of I-35 in
I-35. Otherwise known as the world's longest stripmall, quick stop and
franchise laden piece of real estate known to man.
Then son, Dave, piloted me by cell phone to downtown Fort Worth.
( I got kinda lost...)
Downtown Fort Worth is itself a work of art. Walking around I happened onto
the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art where,
for free, you can see the world's best collection of paintings by Charles
Russell and Frederick Remington -- ya' gotta love it.
I think there's even a law.
Leaving Fort Worth I get lost and found on the way home thanks to a detour and a
few Kerrverts who hauled me to
the Kerrville Folk Festival.
It all ends up in the Hill Country where friends drive a few hundred golf balls
downhill into the cedar brake.
Then they hunt them like Easter eggs.
You might say, in Part 2, I'm serving up a little Texas Culture.
PAGE 1: HEADIN' OUT / PAGE 2: HWY 97
PAGE 3: THE CAMPSITE / PAGE 4: LAREDO / MAP
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