Staying overnight in Boquillas is fun, easy, comfortable and like being in a time warp.
It’s as if the flat-bottom boat that the smiling guide delivers you to Mexico in is actually a magic device – like climbing through the back of the wardrobe in “The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe,” or climbing down the rabbit hole with Alice.
Boquillas is another country and another world- especially at night.
During the day, the sun is out. Lilia and Bernardo, who own the best restaurant in town- Falcons, have a “George Womack installed” solar power system, and little solar panels dot yards all over town.
I went over to Boquillas along with fellow musicians Mike Davidson, George Womack, Laird Considine, Jeff Haislip, Charlotte Teer, to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the opening of the Boquillas crossing.
For over a decade, after the paranoid psychopaths closed the border, Boquillas suffered economically. All businesses except one bar closed, families either left or sent their children to stay with relatives in other towns. The 30 minute trip to the park store for supplies turned into a 6-hour trek over bad roads.
I’ve written about this before- it was a cruel, stupid decision based on “lowest common denominator” politics and needs to be reversed…
Sunday night, 2/16/14, there was a benefit concert at the Starlight Theatre to generate funds to send a girl from Boquillas off to school.
The Terlingua community raised $1,075 for the scholarship fund. Since Cynta only needs $250 right now, TerlinguaCares has set up a fund for Cynta’s projects with the remainder of the money.
In the process of raising the money, we had an amazing party. It’s the Terlingua way. Music was provided by Laird Considine, Charlotte Teer, Jeff Haislip, Moses Martinez, Tom Delaney, Webster, Al Berry, Ted Arbogast, Mike Davidson, Chase Peeler, Collie Ryan, and many other local pickers. Trevor Hickle was there and ready…
The plan was for the “band of angels” to play an acoustic set early in the evening and rock out later on… and, once again, I discovered that making plans is for amateurs. We had so many musicians who wanted to contribute that it turned into a concert.
Buckner ran sound and herded cats. The Starlight Theatre provided a comfy and friendly location for the benefit as well as paying the band – and the band donated that paycheck to the fund-raiser.
We were hoping to raise $500, which will cover the tuition for a year. Terlingua reached deep and more than doubled that. I’m proud of my community – we funding compassion in action and having a party while we’re at it. It’s the Terlingua way.
You can’t really understand Terlingua, or Terlingua Americana Music, without coming to grips with the other side of the border- and the nearest border crossing is at Boquillas, Mexico. Unfortunately, for the past 11 years, that’s been hard to do because the border has been closed.
Recently, a new border crossing to Boquillas, Mexico was opened in the Big Bend National Park. I made this crossing in the 70’s, and don’t remember much about it… but, I do remember that the process was informal. You just drove to the crossing, took the little boat across the river, trekked up the hill, and bought cheap tacos and beer.
Now, getting to Boquillas is a little more complicated. After driving an hour and a quarter from Study Butte through the park, you first go to the store at Rio Grande Village, where you buy your tickets for the boat- $5/per person.
Then, a short drive to the Boquillas crossing, a $2,000,000+ Homeland Security compound (my buddy Lance, who builds things, figures he could’a built it for $100,000… where does the money go?) where you show your passport and receive official permission to cross the border.
The crossing closes at 6:00 PM. I talked to the guard who told me the rules: “no mercy, no quarter.” If you haven’t been fully processed back into the U.S. by 6:00, you have to stay in Mexico. “Back at ya,” was my unspoken reply. Continue reading “Day-trip – Boquillas Mexico”