Maria, Texas, a town of approximately 2,000 people. Most people know about it because of the “Prada Marfa” art installation on the road leading into the area. I knew very little about it so I read up on it and learned that it first became famous because James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor stayed in the Hotel Paisano during the filming of the movie, Giant. During the 1970s, a sculptor named Donald Judd helped to shape the small, out of the way town into a strange, artsy destination. I say, “strange” because it seems like no one lives or works there. The sidewalks are empty, with a dozen or so cars parked along the street. Old gas stations have been converted into galleries. We peeked into a few but they were closed.

I was motivated to see the area, primarily because the hotel and its association with James Dean. He is an iconic figure to me. I watched Rebel Without a Cause when I was in middle school and identified with his sense of angst. Like many teenagers, I wanted to rebel but didn’t have the means to do so. I had no freedom during most of my youth. I was tethered to my parents as they set up shop at the San Jose Flea Market every Saturday and Sunday to augment the income from their manual labor weekday jobs. Throughout high school, I worked at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken so I could save money for a car and make small contributions to the electric bill at home. At the time, money meant freedom so I tried to earn as much as possible. This mindset spilled into much of my 20s and 30s.

There were many faults in that way of thinking. While I’ve been fortunate to earn a good salary for the past 10 years, the more I earned, the I became attached to the idea of making even more. In corporate environments, this scenario is referred to as the “golden handcuffs” and you can imagine why.

When I think about the past and my immediate future, I think about my priorities: learning, adventure, love, laughter and making a difference in this world. These are the currencies that make up who I am now.

Hotel Paisano, Marfa, Texas.


Categories: Airstream Bambi Trips

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4 replies »

  1. Sorry I missed you guys in AZ but I don’t arrive until Monday. 🙂 Our paths will cross one day, I hope…

  2. It was not until after college that I finally saw James Dean on film. I really wasn’t impressed with his role in Rebel, despite it’s long cultural stamp on me and his long association with the film’s title and character. Shortly after I viewed *GIANT*, having been recommended to me by a co-worker near the end of my college career during a discussion of Dean, but more so of the added performances of Taylor and Hudson. Although a much longer [too long] runtime, I found it to be a far better-made and more interesting film. Definitely recommend [and I should revisit as well].

    I didn’t get to see this, but it aired on KQED [PBS] recently and it is on my watch-list. [Suppose to air again this Mon-Apr-27 @ 6:00AM and @ 12-Noon … maybe it is on NetFlix [I don’t have that.]

    *Voces On PBS* — Episode #201: “Children of Giant”
    In 1955, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean and a massive crew descended on the Texas town of Marfa to begin production on Giant. Now, 60 years later, “Children of Giant” explores the film’s still timely examination of racial prejudice.

    Filmmakers Site —

    • This is so awesome, Sam! I think I watched Giant…but don’t remember it much so it would be a good movie for me to revisit as well. Thanks for the link!

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