Way down in southwestern Texas along US 90, three odd little towns named Marfa, Alpine and Marathon hug the roadside. I’m told (by a local artist) they contain Important ART and the cool art crowd (Marfa, of course); Christian conservatives and shops full of ‘pretty’ landscapes (Alpine); and free and independent art spirits, and laid-back hunters and ranchers (Marathon). Previous exposure to Texas being Dallas, Houston, the Panhandle, and too many Republicans, I had no idea I really liked (part of) Texas…and it turns out I really do.
Especially Marathon. Especially my hotel—the La loma del chivo Na bolom. I cannot say my hotel experience on the first night in Carlsbad or last night in Hobbs was outstanding. I was going for budget and that’s risky…whether choking from the odor of decades of cheap cleaning fluids or trying to sleep five feet off a highway that’s a major long-distance semi route, you’ll usually be sorry. But Marathon, well that is another story.
The La loma del chivo Na bolom is different, not budget, but not expensive either–good different in every possible way from a typical small town hotel. It is comprised of small cleverly-designed home-made houses—homemade out of recycled material, paper , bottles and more…owner Ingrid called mine a paper mache house! Felt sturdier than several apartments I’ve known over the years. I won’t try to describe my unique abode since a whole lot of photos are included in this post. Just to say it was imaginative, colorful, and pleasantly-odd, with enough world art of every size and origin (probably majority East Indian) to easily fill a gift shop. It was what all hotel spaces should be…cozy and secure with a comfortable bed and workable toilet and shower—although none of the furniture or fixtures was ordinary—you’ll see what I mean.
I roamed around, talked to an artist who was all about freedom to live and work exactly how he wanted. His indoor and outdoor workspace was perhaps a bit messier than typical city zoning would have permitted but hey…that’s why he’s in Marathon, Texas.
It’s a great place to get off ‘the road less traveled’ and take the ‘unbeaten path’ to a place part art, part hippy, along with streaks of both spiritual and ‘don’t mess with Texas’…speaking of mixing metaphors or riddling a sentence with overused expressions. Marathon was fun…and fun is always good.