Saturday Night: El Rodeo Nightclub by Erica Graciano

10531 Gulf Fwy.
Houston, TX 77034
Phone: (713) 947-0535

November 2010–It’s Saturday night and there’s nothing to do. You’re sitting there watching TV or just laying down waiting for someone to at least call to invite you somewhere. The radio is now on and you hear that the local radio station is at the nearest club, “El Rodeo.” You lay there wishing you were at the club dancing away or just sitting there and enjoying, listening to the music.

That was a typical night for me. I was home alone with nothing to do. I watched TV, looked out the window, ate junk food but still I wanted to do something with a group of people, I just didn’t want to be at home. Finally, at quarter till eleven, someone knocks at the door and I tell myself, “finally, someone who will rescue me.” There at the door I see my two cousin’s and a guy friend. They’re dressed nice, my guy friend in slacks and a dress shirt and my two cousins in nice slacks and shiny halter tops, they matched. They stand there at the door and tell me to hurry up and get ready. I ask them where we’re going and they don’t tell me anything, they just tell me to hurry and get ready. Confused I dressed something similar to my cousins. With the radio still on, I hoped that we would go to “El Rodeo”. I turned off all the lights and the radio and out the door we went.

I kept asking where we were going but they would not tell me. We went south on 45 and exit Edgebrook. At the light we turned to the left, under the bridge we went to the next light and passed the next light. All you could see was a Payless Shoe store and what looked like a little shopping center. As my cousin drove a little further down the street to the next light, to my right I saw a lot of nice cars and lots of people, I still didn’t know where we were. There were Nissan’s, Mustangs, and all kinds of big and small trucks, their owners either inside the vehicle looking out checking out every car that passed them or out side getting a better glance. Everyone looked young, dressed up, and ready to dance. I still didn’t know where we were, when all of a sudden I see the sign, “El Rodeo”. I was in shock and didn’t know how to react, all my hopes came to reality. I was so happy and ready to dance.

After going through the parking lot over and over about five times we finally got a good parking spot, the parking lot is not one of the greatest things ever. You always have to keep your eyes wide open because there’s people everywhere trying to get good parking spots. As soon as you see someone pulling out you need to put your signal light and be careful that no one else gets it, the faster you move, the better are your chances of getting what you want. We got off and there were people every where, guys and girls, short and tall, and all dressed very nice, there were people of all races but mostly Hispanics. We walked toward the club when I sensed the smell of “tacos”. I looked around to check where the smell came from. There next to the club, there was a taco stand. It seemed that people who came out of the club went there to crave their hunger, dancing can do that to you. Outside the taco stand a man and a women moved fast to satisfy their customers. I was suddenly saddened by this site, I could only wonder who they have to support by selling those delicious good looking tacos.

Looking back at all the people eating, the door man looked at my ID. He let me in and there the smell of cigarette smoke hit me like a speeding bullet. I didn’t mind the smell and we walked in. As we passed the doorway there was a young woman at a very old cash register. The young woman asked how many people and charged us. I don’t know how much exactly but it was about forty dollars. As we kept walking the people older than twenty one got an orange hand wrist bracelet to indicate that they are of age to drink. I was glad to know that at least this place where I’ve never been before follows there safety rules to keep the club open and young adults away from this habit. Not knowing the place we looked around to check out the place from the entrance. We decided to go to the left to see what we could find. You could tell it was a very small place because there were people standing very close to each other, there was barely enough room for one person to pass at a time. One behind the other we walked hoping not to touch anyone in an inappropriate way. As I looked to my right I could see people having fun, some were sober and some were drunk but they all were getting along. I walked some more and I see another young lady selling beer. Again I asked myself why. She stood there, giving her back to the dance floor waiting for the next customer. It looked like she was used to the loud noise and all the drunkies.

At the end of the corner you see an old wooden rusty bar, another young woman and a young man sold beer there and other hard liquor. The bar was crowded and they both tried to move as fast as they could to satisfy their customers. We stood there trying to not bother anyone and faced the barely visible old small wooden dance floor. The music was good since we walked in, no wonder the local radio station was there. I looked to my right and to my left and people of all kinds trying to make new friends, it was amazing how everyone got along. The music so loud you could barely hear your neighbor, it seemed the DJ knew exactly what to play. Suddenly, “Carnavalito” by King Africa a Spanish techno song came on, my cousins and myself had the urge to dance. Since we had no dancing partners we decided to dance with each other, well for this song you really don’t need a partner. After that, the DJ played more Spanish techno, the DJ then changed to cumbias but didn’t keep it for long. He then changed it to something slower, I guess romantic, Norteño. Norteño music is more of a couples kind of music so we got off the dance floor, besides we were thirsty, so my guy friend went to buy us some water. Making sure the seal was on very tight and no one had opened it before I opened it, I took a long gulp, the water was good.

Norteño music still playing we walked around puzzled at how such a tiny space could hold so many people. As we walked to the left some more, you could see more people enjoying themselves. Next to the bar there were pool tables where men enjoyed playing with their friends and listening to the music, I guess that’s what some guys like to do at a club. We walked some more and as I kept walking I noticed that people don’t care how you look, everyone is very friendly to the point where it is scary sometimes. The more we walked around the club it seemed like a bigger adventure. It felt like if I was in a maze of people trying to go through each and everyone keeping up with my cousins, hoping not to get lost. There was so much variety of people, it was amazing how everyone in the club got along. It surprised me to realize that the world could be different if everyone got along just like in here. As we continued to walk, I also noticed how different guys dressed. Yes, girls dress different but it all ends up the same, either dress pants or a skirt or a dress, but guy they’re either in cowboy boots and wranglers or in nice dress shoes with some slacks. No matter where you looked people were having fun. At the end of the next corner I saw the DJ, he seemed happy and satisfied to see all those people dancing. Everyone around him just stood there as to be his body guards. There at the end of the wall was another bar, in total the club had about two large liquor bars and two beer stands and the people working at these places all probably trying to make end meat.

We finally finished our adventure and ended up at where we started. The music still playing good, we just sat there enjoying it, when then a man with a camera and some glow in the dark toys came to us. He asked if we wanted to take a picture, sure enough we took one for the memories. I again was amazed at how and what people do to get money. As the music began to change to rancheras, Vicente Fernandez, echoed the rusty old walls. We decided to call it a night. We were tired and the smoke was getting thicker and thicker. On our way out, I noticed that not very many people were left.

Out the door we went, looking back I remembered how much I wanted to come. It was an adventure that I will never forget. Out we went and there again I saw the taco stand. I only wished to have a taste of the delicious tacos I could smell. We found the car, looking around, people everywhere were up and going, everyone was so happy. To get out of the parking lot was another adventure. With your good charms and nice face you’re guaranteed to leave the very exhausted parking lot faster. It’s just like another club, one could say, a big maze of cars. Being very tired I fell asleep as soon as we got on the freeway back home. It was an exciting night and I would recommend “El Rodeo” to young people who want to have a good time. Remembering what happen the night before I closed my eyes and pictured the small dancing floor and all the people, good memories.



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