7. grrrlhoood the trip: day 3

Over the holidays, I took a trip (aptly called GRRRLHOOOD) to Big Bend and Marfa with three of my very good friends, Jennifer, Mala and Clare. We were inspired by two things, 1. This playlist and 2. Boyhood the movie. I took travel notes along the way. I’ll post each day in its own separate post.

We woke up around 8-9 and went to a food trailer called Boyz2Men. The only funny thing about it was that their menu was called Boyz2Menu. Otherwise, the dudes serving food there were just irreverent and trying hard to sound sassy - but obviously reciting the same sassy script they had for ages. They suggested ordering four tacos instead of two when I asked, then said, "so half an order of four? Or half of a half order?" I got flustered because of math, so I just asked for "two physical tacos."

After breakfast, we started the long drive to Big Bend. It's beautiful out here. There are so many different shades of blue. Everything is in a gradient. My eyes are watery all the time. The air is so easy to breathe (easier, if I weren't sniffling all over the place.). Everything is pure. This land is so varied. I hope they never touch it. Just leave it be.

We drove along the scenic route and did the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. It's a fun, easy 1-hour hike. I did it last year with my parents, only when I was with them, in that state, I was so angry and sad and torn up inside. Everything had a layer of despondency. This time, I was so very elated to be with my friends. I climbed on top of very big rocks. How fun it is to climb things! The adrenaline rush, the real-time figuring things out, that extended leg pressed hard against the next rock over and praying you don't slide down.

I have such fondness for Big Bend, despite having only been here once before. I feel the mountains hugging me. I now understand why they say kings live in mountains. They press against me. They look like sleeping beasts. When I see the landscape, I remember what it was like to be here last year. Such sorrow. Now, such joy. Such contentment. Such peace in my heart.

I think I could make a tradition out of this. There's something grand about coming back to the exact same place, the exact same spot year after year, if only to check in with yourself and see where you are. There's nothing quite like gazing up the side of a canyon to ask yourself, "so, are you okay now?"

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6. grrrlhoood the trip: day 2

Over the holidays, I took a trip (aptly called GRRRLHOOOD) to Big Bend and Marfa with three of my very good friends, Jennifer, Mala and Clare. We were inspired by two things, 1. This playlist and 2. Boyhood the movie. I took travel notes along the way. I’ll post each day in its own separate post.

Day 2. Woke up at 8:30. We found Marfa Burrito, a tiny little burrito place with dosa-sized burritos. We cobbled together enough cash for two - egg and chorizo, and el Primo. Two girls sitting next to us made it their immediate business to give us all the suggestions about where to go and what we had to do. One of them asked me if I knew Professor Bump, since I said I was an English major. She was going to take his Animal Humanities class.

We drove up to the Chinati Foundation around 10. The tour took us through six installations, including 100 aluminum boxes that reflected and played with the light; a replication of a dilapidated and abandoned period in Russian history; six light tubes that looked liked this: ////; two tons of copper; a horseshoe made for a horse named Louie; typewritten structural poems.

After the tour, we drove to a rock store. It had closed early, but the owner opened again when he saw us peeking around. He had every type of rock in there, and I wonder if it isn't the most fulfilling thing ever - to simply collect rocks. I bet you it is.

We stopped by a bar called Padre's, where it was immediately apparent that we weren't locals. The game was on. I don't know which game that is.

We ordered and sat in the corner, away. A man wobbled over and drunkenly asked if we were from Austin. Well, the way he put it was, "Let me guess: Austin?" We asked, "How did you know?" He said, "Everyone who comes through is from Austin."

He also gave us three pieces of wisdom about Marfa: "Everyone is here because they're not out there." "We're surrounded by two square feet of reality," and "Marfa is a drinking town with an art problem." We laughed politely.

A second drink, this time a gin and tonic. It was cold in the bar. Clare and I talked about proper romance novels. It'd be fun to write erotica, I think. My pen name would be Catherine Celeste Stalingrad or something like that.

Drove to The Pizza Foundation for pizza, but it was closed indefinitely. Instead we went to the Get-Go, a bodega-type convenience store. They didn't have any prepared foods other than Amy's burritos, so I grabbed an avocado, cheese, salami and a sweet potato. And crackers to make do.

We reconvened back at the hotel and lay our spread out, like we'd been hunting or something. Thank goodness for the avocado. You find that in times of hunger, avocado is the most wonderful, gourmet thing in the world.

Drinking more bourbon and lemon-chili-basil concoction and munching on my microwaved sweet potato. The salami was good, the avocado was better. Chocolate morsels everywhere.

At some point, we decided to go see the Marfa lights. I think they have to do with aliens or ghosts or some other X-files-appropriate lore. It was very cold, even with the leggings, jeans, and four layers of coats I had on. We didn't see anything, although we strained in the night sky and took swigs of the bourbon we brought with us in a water bottle. We called it hot tea to avoid arousing suspicion-- something only 24 year olds would do, I think.

More and more I think we are adult children when we are together, and I love that about us.

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5. grrrlhoood the trip: day 1

Over the holidays, I took a trip (aptly called GRRRLHOOOD) to Big Bend and Marfa with three of my very good friends, Jennifer, Mala and Clare. We were inspired by two things, 1. This playlist and 2. Boyhood the movie. I took travel notes along the way as things happened, so this is all unedited and organic. I'll post each day in its own separate post. 

First went to HEB and Twin Liquors on 44th and Red River to grab bushels of chips and snacks and mixers. Also some hand lotion for our cracked hands. Travel size containers of shampoo.

12:30: Off we go! A wrong turn brought us to Whole Foods. I had a sweet potato bowl with quinoa, wilted kale, chicken and edamame. And red curry sauce. Scarfed and savaged.

Jamming in the car to Mariah. Me. I am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse. Group has spoke--our next day trip should be a brewery and BBQ.

At Rustlin Rob's in Fredericksburg. Sampled a million samples of jam, peppered jams, pickles, salsas, hot sauces, pecan honey peanut butter, all delivered to my mouth via tiny morsels of Triscuits.

4:30: On the road again. Great music selections include all of Mariah, Liz Phair and Britney Spears, obviously.

We'll be in Marfa by nightfall. It is outrageously cold outside.

Update: When I said cold, I should've been more clear: it was snowing! At first it was beautiful, and then it was terrifying. The snow was blasting the windshield, so much so that we could barely discern the lines in the road. Mala was driving and I don't know how she managed to pull it off. We were all terrified of the gas running out. It was snowing so hard! Somehow we made it to Alpine, and then I took over and drove us into Marfa. Can't believe we survived.

Arrived at the hotel around 10:30. Went in search of food and found grilled cheese. I ordered one with Brussels sprouts, onions and mozzarella. Devoured. Delicious. Decimated.

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