travelblog: laredo, day 2

Post originally planned for January 9th… here goes nothing:

Getting lost is never fun. Ever. Getting lost is also particularly humbling when a GPS keeps telling you you’re going the wrong way, and you ignore it anyway.

This being said, it took us a bit longer to get to the Civic Center again than it normally would have. However, the GPS said we would get there at 9:06, and of course, that is exactly when we pulled in. Nice job, GPS.


Trucks. Everywhere.

Trucks. Everywhere.

There are so many 18 wheelers here. It’s ridiculous. There’s almost more than there are cars, which is frightening. Almost every gas station sells diesel fuel as well. Interesting. Another thing that caught my eye were all the “Bridge freezes before road” signs.  They seem like a waste of good metal to me… but oh well.


In short, the concert was great. In long, the concert was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, music wise. The dressing rooms were on the second floor of the stage, so to speak, and from the balcony I could see part of the audience before I went on. Nothing, however, could prepare me for how full the stage was. There must have been about 1,800 kids in the theatre. There was a kid backstage helping us, and he was great, but I never caught his name. If you ever read this, kid, good luck with your career.

The concert began without a hitch. We had to wait about 10 excruciatingly long minutes while the school’s superintendants spoke, but we finally walked onstage.

WHAT an applause.

The kids were phenomenal. They greeted us like rock stars. I was truly awed.

We made a PowerPoint to display behind us, which apparently didn’t work somewhere towards the beginning, but I didn’t notice (it was behind me, right?). Me and my siblings spoke a little bit between each of the pieces (ten of them, in total), and we were applauded loudly after every speech.

I think we ran over a little bit. We were supposed to allow some time for the students to ask questions. While they did, however, other students were being lead out of the auditorium. I was under the impression that the audience was entirely composed of elementary school students, but I noticed a few groups of older students too. It was a pretty big crowd.

After all that, we had to beat our way through a throng of students to the auditorium’s lobby area, where they had a few tables set up. We were told we should start signing autographs now, or we’d never get done. Ouch.

I’d never signed autographs before in my life. I was surrounded by a huuuge mass of kids, all of whom were shoving their programs toward me and asking me to “sign here! sign here!” Some of them couldn’t speak English, and I felt bad when I couldn’t say anything back to them. I take French, myself.

Partway through, a girl asked to take our picture, but started crying when her camera died on her. I swapped memory cards with her, and let her take pictures with my camera. I just felt bad to see her crying like that.

Later on, another little girl came up to me, and asked if she could tell me something. Sure, I said.

“I think you’re cute!”

-5th grader, Laredo, TX

Awwwh. She was probably no older than 5th grade, but I thought that was sweet.

Sometime during the signing, someone asked for my email. Since then, I not only did I have to sign my name, but also I had to give my email or website (not this one, though).

My hand was saved from imminent carpel tunnel by the busses, which had to keep their schedules. The kids were hurried onto the busses, and everything was quiet.

“Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.”

-Andy Warhol

Well put, Andy. Well put.

Ah. Finally an explanation for all these trucks. Laredo is apparently the US’s largest in-land port. I’d never heard of an in-land port before, but I wasn’t about to say that. Laredo is also home to the US’s largest George Washington Birthday Celebration. Every town has their own special events, i guess.

We had a delicious lunch at a very nice restaurant. I took a video of an old waiter named “Hector” (the coolest guy I’ve ever seen ever) making mango flambé. That was delicious. We were also presented with glass engraved paperweights. Everything was incredibly nice of them, and, as the lunch came to a close, I realized I may never set foot in Laredo again.

That night, we went to “Mall de Norte.” I was foolish to expect exotic-looking shops everywhere. They had two Macy’s, for example. Another thing I found interesting was the amount of self-proclaimed “emo, goth,” and “scene” kids walking at the mall; PacSun, Spencers, and Hot Topic were packed. 

Two kids came up to me and told us how much they liked the concert, and a family told us that they saw us on the 6 o’clock news (apparently, we made it on). I didn’t think anyone would come up to us, but I stood corrected.

We ate dinner at Logans. The unique thing about the place is that they give you tonnnnns of peanuts, and you just throw the shells on the floor. Naturally, sandals aren’t good ideas in a place like that. I had some sort of 8 oz steak with mashed potatoes and a salad. It was fairly good. I also learned that my camera has a sort of slow-shutter flash, and I found that if you aim the camera at a stationary subject while the background is moving, you can create some pretty cool pictures. I’ll upload some sometime.

Finally, some sleep.

See you tomorrow,


  • Megan

    omg salem! you’re famous! *gasp* i know a famous person!! lol.
    all kidding aside, that little girl was so cute! lol and i really want mango flambe… lol

  • Catherine

    Wow you really are famous! Awwwh that was so nice of you to let the girl use your camera. And…I want an autograph.

    Also, I swear gps systems are magic. Remember when I told you mine told me I would arrive at 1:26 when I pulled out of my driveway? I was going at LEAST 15 over the speed limit the entire way there, and I still arrived at 1:26. You can’t fool a GPS.

    PS…can I tell you something?
    I think you’re cute! :)

  • Darwin

    My freinds gps lead to a construction site instead of carnegie hall the ones that salem’s family know and their last name starts with Mirch