Jeff and John 2018: What is This? A Car for Ants?

Day 9: May 2, 2018

Destination: El Paso, TX

End of Day Odometer: 176,489 km

Progress Map:

Today was one of two planned days on the trip that we would be staying in the same place for a day, and so taking advantage of that we slept in. Yesterday I had tasked John with finding us some Mexican restaurants for today, and while it wasn’t his first choice, due to opening hours, we headed over to Mayapan Café for lunch. The place was (as far as I could tell) pretty authentic. The tortilla chips were fresh and crunchy, and the salsa seemed to be green chile based, which was something I hadn’t had before. It was remarkably smooth, with a slow approach of spiciness.

My general thought on Mexican food is that there are about 5 ingredients and they just like to stack them in different ways to get different dishes, and so the real treat is when those items are all of high quality and well prepared. Now of course that is not always true, and there are plenty of Mexican dishes that break from that stereotype, but it can be hard to find a restaurant that actually does that. Mayapan does fall victim to the stereotype a bit, but the quality was top notch, and they did offer some other traditional menu options to make up for it. John ordered the Sopa Azteca soup which is a tortilla soup that they made with a red chile and tomato broth. It looked pretty on point, and after checking that it could be had without avocado, I also ordered myself a bowl. It was quite savoury and had a bit of a French onion soup vibe, though was obviously very different. I think the cheese played a big part. Following the soup, John had the Flautas and I had the Enchiladas Suizas. It was all quite delicious and deceivingly filling. I was not expecting to be as full as I was when they brought the plate. I mean it was no Elvis Platter, but I certainly wasn’t ordering dessert either.

The plan after lunch was to check out a movie and after a bit of browsing on Google, I found what seemed to be a reasonable theatre, the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s not exactly your classic theatre experience, the ticket prices were very reasonable, but there is much more to this place than just a movie. From the outside, the building looked like a plain, odd, industrial warehouse. That is until you get inside, and it’s actually a well appointed, adult experience (including a taproom at the entrance). Each pair of seats has a table with a piece of paper that you can write orders on during the movie to have various snacks, meals or drinks delivered to the table. Additionally, they have a very strict no talking policy, and this paper allows for you to report other guests who violate it. I regret not utilizing this process.

Upon leaving the theatre, we found ourselves in a semi-windy, sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland due to the dust that had been stirred up while we were watching the movie. It was a bit odd, felt like I was in a movie, video game, or something. Thankfully no ghouls attacked while I made my way back to the vault. Based on weather forecasts, I had decided to use one of our flexible days to have a nice sunny day here in El Paso, but the weatherman seems to still have it in for me, following nothing but rain at Jungfrau in Switzerland last year and a frosty vacation in Florida at Christmas.

Once back at the hotel, I found myself in an odd state of dizziness that I couldn’t shake off. Despite our grand plans for more Mexican food and a stop in at Rosa’s Cantina, I felt best lying down. A very odd experience. After an extended nap I am feeling a bit better. Still not sure what caused it, but I’m hoping it clears up by tomorrow. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us as we made our way back to Colorado and start to hit some of the more exciting driving roads.

Day 10 Destination: Ouray, CO

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