Road Trip Day 2: It’s all about Texas & the power of social media

It’s all about Texas these days. On day two of the road trip, we entered the Lone Star state for three days of adventures.

Armed with my boyfriend’s hat, my dad and my Jeep Liberty we took on Texas.

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The 10 hour drive from New Orleans and down the Eastern coast of Texas went by smoothly as we enjoyed the changing scenery- farms, towns, rail roads… It was a welcomed change from the mundane drive through Florida where most of what we saw was just tall trees on either side.

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We breezed through Houston as we made our way South in route to Hidalgo, TX to visit with family. My cousin Yani and her husband live on the other side of the border in Reynosa, Mexico. I hadn’t seen her in 13 years.

While driving on I-10 my dad made the commentary that what he really wanted to do is travel through backroads to see the “real” country side. God must have been paying attention, soon after we where driving on tiny two lane highways through almost forgotten Texas towns.

Some of the “largest” towns we drove through include Refugio, TX, the hometown of baseball great Nolan Ryan, and the city of Falfurrias, TX with a population of 5,297. (I think my high school had about 3,000 students alone.)

My father’s only complaint on the drive was the apparent absence of Texas Longhorns. He commented in Spanish “ni vaca de cuerno largo, ni cuernos corto.” Saying he hadn’t seen hardly any cattle on the drive. Growing up on a farm he loves animals and keeps an eye out for farms, ranchos and livestock during our road trips. Hopefully during the next few days in Texas he will finally see some famous Texas Longhorns.

20110614-092229.jpgAbout 5:30 pm we arrived in Hidalgo. My cousins soon after picked us up to take us to dinner. We originally wanted to cross over the border to Reynosa, but figured customs would give us a hassle given all the bags jammed in to my car. We went to dinner at the great American establishment, The Olive Garden.

The most interesting part of our dinner conversation was how social media, like twitter and Facebook, are helping keep Mexican citizens safe. Yani’s husband, Luis, showed me Facebook and twitter users who continuously report when violent incidents occur within Mexico warning people to stay away. The updates are quickly circulated and have helped many Mexicans avoid deadly situations.

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For many Mexican residents the various social media platforms are the only way to verify rumors about the multiple incidents occurring throughout the country and in border towns. To my knowledge, the government itself has no effective means to disseminate information to the public.

Just yesterday the twitter updates came in handy, as my cousins learned about a shoot out in Reynosa and quickly knew how to avoid the area and keep safe.

Technology has helped so many people around the globe become empowered. I hope it can serve as a tool to create a safer Mexico.

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