12 December 2010

What is there to do in Terlingua, Texas?

When I say I spend a lot of time out there, people ask, "What is there to do in Terlingua, Texas?"  Mostly, when they ask, it's because they have a general sense of the place.  It's centered around a historic Ghost Town (consisting of a restaurant/bar/music venue, a restaurant/saloon, a bar/hotel, a coffee shop/inn, a general store, a couple of art galleries, a few homes, a church, adobe ruins, and a cemetery) with a population of about 300 people (give or take, depending on the time of year), in an area of 16 square miles, according to the U.S. Census.  Now, that's just Terlingua proper - which is technically Study Butte-Terlingua.  And this doesn't include thousands of acres land distributed through the Terlingua Ranch property owners association to private homesteaders.

Think of it this way - what's generally known as Terlingua is miles and miles of open desert land, with closest neighbors being on an average of 5 acres away.  For recreation, there is river rafting/canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, animal watching/hunting, campfires, singing, music playing, drinking, eating, and star-watching.  There are no Walmarts, no McDonald's, no places to shop for clothes, no movie theaters, and people hardly ever turn on their televisions.  In a place that is so sparse, however, I find myself spending more time with people, and listening to more music, than I do here in the super hip and cool Live Music Capital of the World...Austin, Texas.

Why is that?  Because Terlingua is stripped down to simplicity.  People don't need hundreds of options of places to go and things to do.  People just think they need all those options.  But in reality, as humans, we only have the capacity for a smaller number of choices in our lives.  Even when you have thousands of bars to choose from in a big city, do you go to each and every single one?  Do you actually sample all of them before choosing your hangouts? Or do you settle on your 2 or 3 favorites where most of your friends go?  And then how often do you hang out at those 2 or 3 places and start to get bored, because you wonder about the thousands of other possibilities?

But in a town where you only have 2 or 3 to choose from, they become more than places you chose out of the many - they are the centers of your community,  they are hubs for catching up with friends and family, they are all the entertainment you have, so you invest yourself into making them special and unique. It becomes more about the people you're with and how you interact, and less than the place you've chosen to be seen. And for me, as a usually shy girl, I find it's much easier to talk to strangers.  Every time I walk into a place in Terlingua, I meet new people and make new friends.  This rarely happens in Austin.

Undercover Mexican Girl and friends at La Posada Milagro Guesthouse and Espresso...y Poco Mas Coffee Shop.

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