Back in Sun City

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As the wheels skipped down the runway after a bumping landing, my heart relaxed and I immediately felt at home in El Paso.  The mountains that divide El Paso cause gusts of wind and create white-knuckle landings at the airport.  Some of the scariest moments I've experienced flying have been landing in El Paso; my favorite is the time we touched the runway and had to pull back up and circle because of a gust of wind - three times.  Thankfully, this flight was just a mild bumpy landing into Sun City. 

Having lost status on American Airlines last year, my rose-colored glasses for the airline are tarnished.  I still love DFW airport, but I'd rather fly Delta these days.

My worries for this first visit back to El Paso faded as I basked in the 90 degree weather in my upgraded rental car.  I made my way to my hotel downtown just before rush hour, excited to stay at the refurbished Double Tree hotel.  Five years ago, the building was an empty shell; the abandoned International Hotel and its damaged sign was a reminder of the depressed downtown economy.  On trips to El Paso, I watched the building stripped down to the poured concrete foundation and rebuilt into a nice downtown hotel.  Durring the demo process, I would have sworn a good gust of wind could have knocked the whole thing down.

Later in the evening, in search of dinner, I drove past familiar spots and was once again comforted by this city I love.  Driving out to the west side, I had forgotten how long far things were from downtown.  I cruised down Mesa to Pei Wei's (yes, I ate at a chain, feel free to make fun) and took a leisurely drive down I-10 back downtown. 

El Paso is home for the next two weeks, and I've got my bucket list of things to do.  My class can't believe I've never been to Cattleman's steakhouse nor on the Tram to the top of the mountain.  It feels great to be back!

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