Tuesday, July 25, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to http://mexfiles.wordpress.com

The wild, wired west

Here's a few snapshots from my new neighborhood. This is the north end of the Sierra Madres, known to creative nineteenth realtors as the "Texas Alps"... thus, Alpine Texas, where I'm now ensconsed... doing a REAL JOB, I might add. The Big Bend is an interesting place... with about one person per square mile, there's plenty of room for the weird and the wired... and those who are both (I don't know how scared I should be about living someplace where I seem perfectly normal). Besides the native cowboys, Indians and Mexicans it attracts more than its share of folks stuck in the 60s (both the 1860s and the 1960s), Henry David Thoreau and Yosemite Sam wannabes, cranky individualists and harmless eccentrics. And... suprisingly enough... the hip, slick and cool. Marfa down the road is not only known for the mysterious lights (some of our "illegal aliens" may be from another gallaxy) but for its mysterious draw for artists, artistes and hangers-on. I think galleries outnumber any other business there... you can't find a pharmacy in downtown Marfa, but you'll refresh your soul, and find a latte in every remodelled gas station. Oh... and let's not forget our enterprising smugglers -- of marijuana and people. And anti-smugglers. While Migra (the United States Border Patrol to y'all) is a major employer (and Alpine even has a Federal Court House to handle the "traffic"), the National Guard is also around... as, once in a while, are the Minute Men. Who don't get much respect. Round about these parts folks think of the Minute Men as a bunch of pansies who wouldn't last ten minutes outside their RV parked somewhere on a dark desert highway. We don't need no stinkin fence. It's hard enough to communicate through the mountains and with that river serving as a national boundry, it creates some communications problems. The hipsters, the cowboys, the gangsters and the hippies (and even Yosemite Sam) are all wired. Though with all those professors who fled English departments holed up in old mining towns, you have a plethora of small publications, a daily on-line newspaper, but only two kinds of radio stations -- country AND western. There was an NPR station in Marfa, but it seems to be off the air lately. And the Sul Ross college station, which has been run by the profs over the summer -- meaning Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and other "golden oldies" for those of us who grew up on sexdrugsandrocknroll. There's no local TV station (and... a selling point, no Walmart within an hour of Alpine, and we're closer to the Evil Empire than most other population centers in the area), so add satelite TV. And cell phones... and international calling (for some stupid reason, it's still an international call just to Ojinaga, an hour down the road... but the dentist is a hell of a lot less expensive there. Being about the same distance to Chihuahua or El Paso, guess where I'll go shopping... unless I want to go to THE shopping mall in Odessa Texas). I'm actually behind the curve right now. I got my phone installed today, but I haven't received the modem and software for my highspeed conections (and, I'm working off an old Dell computer with Windows Millenium software), so for tonight, I'm using dial-up. Luckily, given that everywhere is long-distance, I contracted for unlimited long distance service, since I'm connected through Alburquerque right now. HOPEFULLY, I'll be back in cyber-Mexico within a week or so... AND... of course, those of you in REAL Mexico... please let me know if you'd like to post on this blog. With a "real job", I 'm not sure how much time and effort I can put into this for the next several months. Other opinioned, cranky Mexophiles welcome. I'll leave a light on for y'all.


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