El Paso is not quite like anywhere else I've ever been. It's nothing like the rest of West Texas, it's nothing like Mexico, it's nothing like southern New Mexico. What the hell is it like? Just... El Paso. The one thing I've heard it compared to pretty frequently is Mos Eisley from Star Wars. I think I can buy that.
El Paso's out in the middle of the desert, and one look tells you that the place's main rationale is trade. Not all of it legal, either, but that's part of the charm. All sorts of things come over that bridge from Ciduad Juarez; I met this guy who claimed that for a few thou he could get me an old woman, to use as I pleased. I passed.
Even as you ride into El Paso, you can tell that it's a place where different worlds meet. The city's surrounded by hills and mountains, and half of them have crucifixes on top. The other half have cell phone towers. There are scorpions in the desert, and people more dangerous than the scorpions in town. Every flat surface in the El Paso Greyhound station is covered with gang graffiti, and people with gold chains with little pendants shaped like Uzis wandering around inside.
I know a guy from El Paso. He looks Hispanic, has a Ukrainian last name, an unplacable accent, what whizkid would call transatlantic, and lots of cocaine all the time. He might be the spirit of the city come to life.