Your Name (if you would like it to appear): P.W.
Base Name: Fort Bliss
Base Location: El Paso, Texas
How long have you been here? (give years please, ex. 2003-present) May
20, 2009 – present
What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.)
Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?
We chose to live off post. The wait list for on-post housing here is
horrible. I spoke with a wife recently who said they had just been
offered housing and they had been waiting for a little over a year. For
off-post housing, the west side is pretty nice, the east side has a lot
of new building going on. We chose the northeast side of town. It is a
really easy commute for my husband and there are some really nice, yet
affordable neighborhoods. Like anywhere else, you have to use common
sense. The neighborhoods are pretty self explanatory by the way the
look. You can’t be put off by bars though. I was originally really
skeptical that everyone had bars on their windows and doors … but
apparently it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad neighborhood.
Rate the PX & Commissary.
The PX is nice. The commissary is a typical commissary. They are doing A
LOT of construction and expanding the base which is kind of pain b/c
stores are relocating and parking can be tough. But it is looking like
it will be really nice when they are all done. The PXtra was nice when
we were looking for furniture and the POV re-sale lot was a great place
to start looking when we were in the market for a new vehicle.
Activities on base?
On post there is are pools, gyms, paintball, golf ….
Active Spouses Club?
There is an NCO Wives Club and an Officer’s Wives Club
Things to do in area?
Oh Goodness … there is a lot to do around here. There is minor league
baseball, arena football, a pro soccer team, at least a dozen state or
national parks within a 2 hour drive (we love Elephant Butte Lake and
Bottomless Lakes in New Mexico), hiking, camping, rock climbing, there
is a bicycling club. El Paso puts out a great publication called “The
Scene” once a month that has everything that is going on in or around
El Paso. There are a lot of great historic sites, museums, and even 1
of the 11 holocaust museums is here. There are several Wal-Marts,
Targets, Malls, and there is outlet shopping off of I-10 at exit 6.
There are plenty of Starbucks for the coffee lovers and plenty of the
big chain fast food and sit down restaurants. Army personnel are not
allowed into Mexico and I don’t recommend it either. The border patrol
does a great job keeping the drugs and violence in Juarez but it still
a water park and a theme park.
Not sure yet … not quite there yet
Any colleges in area?
EPCC, UTEP, NMSU, and several vocational schools
Jobs? (on post and off)
I am a nurse so finding a job wasn’t all that difficult for me but due
to huge Latino population here most (if not all) employers want (and
some require) employees to speak English and Spanish. Even as a nurse,
I am not getting paid as much as I should because my Spanish is hit and
miss and they really want fluency.
Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city?
With all of the state and national parks around you can easily occupy a
weekend for pretty minimal park entrance fees. The mountains are
beautiful and the views from some places are breath-taking. The
evenings are reasonably pleasant and I am definitely enjoying life sans
Least favorite aspect?
I am from North Carolina so the move here was a huge culture shock. Not
to mention, it may be dry, but the sun is really intense here. My
husband and I did (and are still doing) quite a battle with the whole
different set of allergens here. I never had allergies before b/c I
grew up and lived on the east coast but the lack of humidity and the
different environment turned my sinuses into Niagra Falls! I also miss
refrigerated air. Here they use swamp coolers and master cools (freon
based units are few and far between) and they just don’t cut it for me.
I miss being able to set my thermostat for a certain temperature and
that’s what my house was. The evaporative coolers are completely
dependent on the temperature outside so, the hotter it is outside …
the warmer it is in your house!
Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)
Definitely check out “The Scene”
Any other tips?
It may be hot, but get out and explore! But definitely research a
little before you venture out. We took our dogs hiking early one
morning and discovered that early morning is the best time to run
across rattlesnakes! Ooops! Rattled nerves but no injuries. People are,
for the most part, friendly and willing to help. Keep sunscreen around
and (in the words of Infantry NCOs and Officers) HYDRATE!