Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alfredo Santos building gets demolished

I never actually shopped at any of the Alfredo Santos grocery stores. However, my dad gets nostalgic each time we pass by where one of them used to be and he goes off in a rant about the good ol' days. Thats why this scene captures my attention. From what I can recall, there used to be an old Alfredo Santos buiding on the corner of Sanchez and Santa Maria, that was most recently used as a bodybuilding gym. However, I passed through this intersection several weeks ago and I made the startling discovery that it had been torn down. Just wait to my dad hears about this...or maybe I shouldn't tell him or else he'll go into a Laredo history lesson circa 1971! In any case, what a shame. Here is a picture of the building in 2006 and of the site just last week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Laredo River Park

Parks in this city are horrible. There are hardly any trees or shade, grass is non-existant and la raza can't keep them clean. But one of my favorite public parks is the one down below the old Int'l bridge on the river infront of the old Riverdrive Mall. The park is great, well, if you factor out the foul stench that spews out of the Rio Bravo, and the daily influx of undocumented immigrants, as well as the zooming border patrol trucks, the heavy noise of traffic above on the international bridge, and the fact that its a hotspot for car theives and crime. Other than that, its one fantastic park and one of the better local ones. But seriously, the park seems to be packed every Sunday night with families doing carne asada. It would be nice if there would be some shady trees and if the restrooms weren't always locked (wtf). But, hey, in Laredo, that might be asking for too much.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Amistad Nortena and Schlitz Beer

So I was invited to a carne asada the other day (ok, I'll be honest I crashed it since I'm such a freeloader) and I spotted a local conjunto doing their thing. Naturally, I busted out my digi-cam to document them on film. They told me their name was "Amistad Nortena" (jaja, love it) and they had the whole panchanga dancing and causing a storm of polvo. It was great: rancheras, carne asada, baile, compadres and Schlitz beer. To me, this in a nutshell is Laredo, apoco no?

Volver Bar

Well, nice, I spotted something on Vidaurri St. in downtown Laredo. I'm not sure if the place is still in business, but the name of the local watering hole caught my attention, Volver Bar. Volver means "return", as in you will return again and again to this place to drink more Schlitz or Old Milwaukee. It looks like a great bar to go in and have a cold beer. Anyone know what type of bar this is, or anyone actually frequent this dive? In any case, love the name, I sure will return here again soon.

Sherif the Chocolate

Ok, I'll admit something, I don't follow local politics too closely. I kept an eye on the sherrif's run-off race and the re-count, but after a while it got a bit tedious and annoying.To my understanding, the sherrif's office is for a public servant position, but the way the soap opera unfolded, you'd think it was a highschool yearbook race for "most handsome". In the end, Rick Flores lost and Martin Cuellar, Henry's bro, won the election on a judge ruling.
Now with Henry Cuellar as Laredo's Congressman and Martin Cuellar as Webb County Sherriff, that seems like too much power resting on one single family. Hum, hey I'm no politico, I had no problem with Rick, though he seemed to have lots of local detractors. I kinda liked his hats. In any case, there finally is a new sherrif in town.
It's funny, but I was driving around town and a song came on the radio that reminded me of the sherrif's race. It's this early 90's cumbia song by the grupo Bronco titled, "Sherrif de Chocolate". The song is beyond silly and I really dont know what the lyrics are talking about, but hey, im sure its one 'sweet' song. In any case, lets see how it goes with Martin and his brother Quique.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The intense heat in this city is sometimes unbearable. The six months of summer that we have to endure can seem eternal at times. That is why rasperos play a very important function in Laredo society, for they destroy the heat with their quick, ice cold treasures. Kidding aside, as a kid every summer, I would listen cafefully for the ice cream truck music as I watched television. As soon as I heard it, I would run outside with my dollar in hand ready to buy whatever cold treat was readily available, wether it be a paleta, ice cream sandwich or raspa. Now that im all grown up (well, my significant other questions that last statement), I no longer wait for the ice cream truck, but rasperos still continue to play an important and vital service in this freaking heat. God bless em!

Hubcap Heaven

This here is what im talking about and why I love driving around town just looking for colorful things to focus my lens on. I have driven by this corner several times without paying much attention to the wonderful decor, but on this particular hot July afternoon, it caught my attention. You see, back in the day, way back in 1995, I came out of Riverdrive Mall and walked to my parked car when I noticed that all four hubcaps on my tires had been stolen. You can imagine my rage. So, when I saw this place, on Gustavus and San Eduardo yesterday, it reminded me of that unpleasant event, but it did bring a smile to my face. I guess this place here is where all good hubcaps come to die, a slow painful death in the hot July sun.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Broken Mercy

With its broken windows, decaying structure and suppossedly haunting nightly sounds, the old Mercy Hospital stands as a reminder of times gone by and of a Laredo that no longer exists. Now, this abandoned buidling stands as a relic mostly used by vandals and junkies. However, the old Mercy Hospital once saw births and deaths daily, and now it faces its own decaying death. It was once a haven for the sick and broken, but now all it can do is try to weather time as Laredo moves forward without it and its broken windows remind us that time moves on and it has no fear of yesterday's heroes.

Plaza Theater

At night, one of the more visually appealing scenes downtown is the neon green lights of the old Plaza Theater that sits across from the Laredo Center for the Arts. Unfortunetly, this local landmark has been closed since at least the mid 90's, yet it still sits there with all the integrity of a building with a rich history. There has been plenty of talk of re-opening it, but nothing much has been made of it. Still, it sits there at night, glowing with a large grin of stately pride as the building remembers how grand and great it once was.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Energy Crises

We all know that gasoline prices have skyrocketed and have became ridiculously high. Many people have stopped purchasing those monstrous SUVs and are downgrading when it comes to their automobile. Energy costs too have gone up and will continue to rise.
However, driving down Cedar Ave. I spotted a house with one of those 'clotheslines' outside of their home used to naturally dry their laundry after being washed. "Hhm, now there is an idea", I thought to myself. The dryer uses up lots of electrical watts and therefore it increases my electrical bill, so, maybe, just maybe this could be a small step to reducing my monthly expenses. I know, its a crazy idea, especially with the tremendous heat in this city. Imagine having to go outside in the middle of the day to hang your clothes on the 'tendedero', as my ama calls it. Still, I just might give it a try, see if I do save myself some money and bring back my moms old-school ways.
Now, if only I can convince my wife to switch systems and leave behind her beloved dryer. Well, we just might have some resistance there. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You, me, and a bucket of angels

Back in 2004 (0r maybe 2005) I attended an event over at the now defunct Espumas Cafe and a local poet was reading one of his better works. I can't recall the name of the individual (if someone recognizes him please let me know his name) but I find the poem itself to be rather nice and cheery. It's titled "You, me, and a bucket of Angels" and you can view it below, just as I saw it. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chilitos Restaurant

Hilarious but true, about 7 blocks away from "El H-Evito", the subject of my previous post, there is a small dingy restaurant on Zapata Hwy that bills itself as "Chilitos". It sits right across the street from "El Rancherito Meatmarket" ("pasale pa'dentro primo") and next to the now faded Movie Palace Video. What caught my attention about Chilitos though, was the play on the name as a semi-parody of Chilis, only this is a small or Chilitos version. Only in the Laredo southside. I haven't eaten there, but maybe one of these days I will. Who knows maybe this restaurant is better than its corparate giant chain counterpart. Mmm, maybe not, but still the name is genius.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

HEB Competion in the Southside

On Ejido St.

As we all now, HEB has an unhealthy monopoly on supermarket industry in south Texas, but one south Laredo mini-mart has taken them to task. Over by Los Presidentes, on Loop 20, there is a store that bills itself as "H-Evito" or a mini HEB. As hilarious as it may sound, the play on words is pure genius. I spotted this store as I drove around town and it made me chuckle as I drove by that I had to take a pic of it. Finally somebody out there has a sense of humor. Now, if only we could do something about the lack of competition for HEB....

Monday, July 7, 2008


Welcome to our new blog that is finally up and running. We will update this blog everyday or every other day so look back and read frequently. I'm gonna try to comment on different aspects and issues concerning our fair city and just pretty much pick up on the vibe and the oddities that make our border city of Laredo unique and adventurous.

Forbidden Dances, Blackface, and Tantangelo: The 1990 WBCA Parade (part 1)

Updated: Link to video here : 1990 WBCA Parade Laredo, TX I have finally been able to upload at least a small portion of the footage of th...