Everyone knows that if you head far enough south in Texas, you’ll end up in Mexico. What they don’t realize is, you don’t necessarily cross that line at the border. You can be well inside the boundary lines of America, and feel like you’re in a foreign country. The town of Presidio, Texas is one such place.
Presidio isn’t a big city by any means. Just a few thousand people live here, about one-fourth the number that live across the border in Ojinaga, Chihuahua. Presidio has a downtown district that’s a few blocks long, but aside from the Family Dollar and Dollar General stores (and maybe a few fast food or gas station franchises further out from downtown), it feels quite foreign.
Most signs are in Spanish, and many are hand-painted.
There are quite a few “department stores”, with names you’ve probably never heard before, like Miguel Nieto. Some appear to still be in business, but others look like they shut down a while ago.
The Santa Teresa de Jesus church is just up the street from downtown. The parish was established in 1683.
City Hall is right across the street from El Patio restaurant. I had read a few good reviews for the food there, and I figured that the proximity to the border would ensure a good Mexican meal.
The enchiladas I ordered looked good, but were disappointing. The sauce was flavorless, and the chicken inside was cheap. Chips and salsa were served before the main course, but the salsa didn’t have much flavor, either. Perhaps I’m the only one who was disappointed — the place was packed with customers.
The best thing about Presidio is that it marks the beginning of an extraordinary highway that runs alongside the Rio Grande. From here to Terlingua, FM-170 is a scenic, curvy route along the southern edge of America. I quickly put my lunchtime letdown behind me, and started the drive.