Where in the hell am I?

May 5, 2010

Down in the south Texas town of Laredo…

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, Texas, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — John @ 9:05 pm

I’m in the field and it’s not East Texas! I’m actually in Laredo, down on the Texas-Mexico border. I was last here 5 years ago, testing a bunch of sites for an extension of Loop 20. It was a fun job, although extremely hot; one day maxed out at 116 degrees!!!! We found a cool little dive bar (The 68 Club) that served the coldest beer in Texas. There are also two Taco Palenques here, which is far and away the best fast food-style taqueria I’ve ever had , and will be having for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Some other things have changed. When last here, the cartel wars were just starting to get serious. On one of our jaunts across the river to Nuevo Laredo, we returned to police lines blocking the street we were parked on. Someone had been shot in their truck maybe 10 cars behind ours about half an hour before we got there. We actually stopped for one more drink on our way back, otherwise we may have actually been nearby when it happened. The next time we went across was uneventful for us, although we were pretty fucking freaked out when we learned the next day that the federales and the local police had a huge shootout at the edge of town when the army came to arrest all the corrupt cops (I was going to link to a story about this, but most seem to be on right-wing blogs). It was also during our time here that the new police chief was assassinated the same day he was sworn in.

Anyway, as I said, things have apparently changed, or so I’ve been told. We were advised by some of the local TxDOT workers not to go out after dark. They also said not to cross the border, as there are now regular shootouts in the main streets. Some co-workers staying in the hotel say they’ve heard gunshots almost every night. I have no confirmation of any of this, and some news stories I’ve read suggest the reality is much different, but I’m not going to chance it, especially as I’m only here for one night. I do know that we were able to get a room in the fanciest hotel in town for $79 a night, which would suggest that tourism is way, way down.

I’ll talk more about the actual project tomorrow, as I’m tired and full of steak and whiskey and have to get up early tomorrow to beat the heat (it was only 103 today!).

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