My family and I traveled to El Paso for a tennis tournament, but it is the memories of other adventures that I brought back to Las Vegas. We left to El Paso on Friday afternoon and immediately encountered a metal forest. Actually, just west of Santa Rosa, there are about 100 gigantic windmills. They looked like the giant machines from War of the Worlds. It was surreal. We stopped in Vaughn and I had one of the best root beer floats at this restaurant, which looked like an aluminum travel trailer.
As we drove south, we skimmed by the river of lava, located west of Tularosa and we could see the shiny bright tops of the great White Sands. We arrived in El Paso at about 6 and before we got to the hotel an unknown magnetic-like force pulled our car over to the parking lot of this brand new outlet mall.
The next morning started with an adventure. We got lost as we tried to find the practice courts and ended up at a sign that said, “Welcome to New Mexico.” It was then we realized we had gone a bit too far. Also, just before my brother’s match, he discovered that he had left his rackets at the hotel, which was on the other side of the mountain, so he had to borrow other racquets. Both events can be disasters for a tennis player because the game is so dependent on touch and a good warm up. A difference in the weight and tension of the racquet can mean that the ball travels 5 inches more and that can be the loss of a point or a good shot.
The day ended up being spectacular. It must have been 80 degrees. The weather was so warm, I found myself sweating more than I had since September. It felt nice and I even came back with my first sunburn of the year. That evening we watched the boys playing under the lights with no wind and the temperature at 72.
A month before, my dad claims to have had this dream where we were at a tennis tournament and he saw the father of the Kang family. They are another tennis family we often see at tournaments. He decided that it was a sign and invited them to dinner, even though we hardly knew them. I found myself eating dinner at a place called The Magic Pan, which was hidden from the tourists in the back alleyway of an old part of El Paso. My brother David, the two sisters, Dominique and Bianca, and I got to know each other and ended up having a really good time. We knew we were bonding when we were all entertained by burning things on the candles on the table. Who knew that the Kangs would be such pyromaniacs? A guitarist sat and played softly all throughout the dinner. It was kind of neat to meet new people of a different culture who in the end were very similar to us in terms of personalities and also very unique.
The next day we drove along the border, some of the impressions that stuck with me included seeing a gigantic Mexican flag billowing in the wind. It must have been the size of half a football field. There was the Rio Grande and on the other side was Mexico. Their housing was so different from many of our subdivisions where all the homes look alike. An imposing barbed wire fence and armed border patrol agents were spaced along the miles of river.
As we left El Paso, my dad was excited because he found a gas station where the price was $2.97 per gallon. Six hours later we encountered the blizzard in Bernal and the frozen streets of Las Vegas and gas at $3.18. Some things never change. Even though this was a tennis trip, it’s the non-tennis events that I’ll remember.
Raven Romero , a Robertson High School senior, is an intern with the Las Vegas Optic. She can be reached at she can be reached at