Amanda's trip to Corpus Christi - November 2006
I had only learned about Selena in late 2005. Now, I consider myself
to be her biggest fan, and I’m not just saying that. I loved her so
much that I knew I had to go see the things that Selena had seen, go
to the places she’d gone to, and all of that. And on November 3rd,
2006, I left to do just that. My dad had booked us a room in the
Bayside Omni Hotel, and we were staying from Friday the 3rd to
Sunday the 5th. It doesn’t seem very long when you say it, but we
got to do so much in those 3 days. We left the house insanely early
to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight to Corpus Christi with one stop in
Houston. We left on a Friday because the Selena museum wasn’t open
on weekends, and the museum was the Selena site I wanted to see most
We got to Corpus Christi around 2 p.m. or so, picked up a
rent-a-car, and drove to the hotel. We unpacked everything,
freshened up, and then went straight to the museum. I was shaking I
was so excited. When we got to the museum, there was a large group
of ladies there already; there were six or seven of them I believe.
I noticed all spoke perfect English and Spanish except for one who
only spoke Spanish, so the others would translate for her if the
need arose. There was a lady sitting at a desk that asked for one
dollar to basically get it, but the money went to the Selena
Foundation. She was so nice! My dad didn’t have a dollar on him, so
he gave her a five, which she took only by my dad’s insistence. I
looked around the lobby at Selena
After about 5 minutes, a man walked out and gave me, my dad, and
that group of ladies a small tour of just basically the studio where
Selena recorded, then led us into the museum itself. I felt like I
was walking into a dream. I saw right then and there all of Selena’s
famous stage outfits, the microphone used at the 1995 Astrodome
concert, her car, and so many other things, it would take me forever
to explain them all.
I was looking around at everything for about 15 minutes, and then
something amazing happened.
Selena’s dad walked out of an office and started greeting everyone!
I looked in shock! I didn’t think this was really happening! I was
so in shock that I didn’t even have the courage to walk up to Mr.
Quintanilla, so my dad did for me. Oh my god, Mr. Quintanilla had to
be the nicest, friendliest man I had ever met in my life! He thanked
us for coming, and asked where we were from, all that stuff. My dad
explained we were here specifically because of my love of his
daughter and her music, and that I think clicked something inside of
Mr. Quintanilla. He said, “I have some things I’d like to show
you, would you come with me?” Of course we said yes!
He took me, my dad, and oh yes, those seven ladies into a tiny
little room with a TV, some booths, a table, some chairs, and not
really too much else. He told us he was going to show us a video of
one of Selena’s concert that had never been released. He dimmed the
lights and played it for us. I had a lump in my throat the whole
time, and several of those ladies (who were extremely nice and
courteous) were crying. I cried a little, but I didn’t want to cry
too much, I couldn’t take that. When the video was over, Mr.
Quintanilla got up to turn off the TV, and I noticed he had been
That poor man, I could see the pain in his eyes. But he was so
incredibly nice! But he was so incredibly nice and probably loved
how many people still love and remember his daughter regardless if
they were fans from the beginning or happened to find her online
CD to digital conversion became popular. He knew neither my dad or I spoke a word of
Spanish, so when we asked him questions he translated them into
Spanish, and when the ladies asked questions (which were half
English and half Spanish) he translated them into English just for
us. Then he took all of us into an auditorium kind of room, and
explained that several great Latin artists had performed there. I
couldn’t focus on that much because right behind me where the
letters that spelled out “SELENA” that were used for the Astrodome
scenes in the Selena movie! I still was crying a little, half from
sadness from missing Selena, and half from sheer joy from the events
that were taking place right in front of my eyes!
Mr. Quintanilla then thanked us all for coming, and we thanked him
so much for all he had done, and he went on his way. All of us (me,
my dad, and the ladies) went over to the gift shop. My mom had given
me $100 to spend on anything I wanted! It took a few minutes for
them to open up the gift shop, so to pass the time the ladies talked
me about where I was from, how old I am, Selena, all that stuff.
When they finally opened the shop, I freaked out! Selena stuff
everywhere! CDs, T-shirts, Posters, Jewelry, Key chains, anything
you could imagine. I ended up buying 3 shirts, a keychain, a poster,
an Astrodome Collectors card, a necklace, and I think there was even
more stuff I can’t remember right now.
After that, we walked out into the lobby and Mr. Quintanilla came
back out! My dad asked if we could take a picture with him, and he
was more than happy to do so. He put his arm around me and my dad
took two pictures of us! I thanked him again, he walked away, and my
dad and I left.
We grabbed a bite to eat, and went back to the hotel. Almost all of
our site-seeing would be done tomorrow. The next day we got up
bright and early, got dressed, went to the WhataBurger 'By The Bay'
that was right next to our hotel (and delicious, by the way!), and
then we left to go site seeing.
Our first stop was Selena’s grave. We decided to
get the hardest part visited first. It took us a while to find our
way, and when we got to the cemetery, it took us a while to find the
grave. I spotted it and we stopped. I got out of the car, and looked
out. Selena’s grave had a cobblestone walkway leading up to the
actual grave, and then there was a chain with a sign on it that
said, “Respect The Gravesite: Stay Out” I was a little disappointed,
but I respected the gravesite.
My heart felt like it was bleeding tears. My heart hurt with a pain
I had never felt before. I realized at that moment that this was the
closest to my idol as I was ever going to get. I knew she was
sleeping peacefully right underneath the beautiful gravesite in
front of me, but it was heart wrenching to know that she was not
living, to know that there my idol was, but I would never get to
actually see her. We took several pictures, and I told Selena how
much I loved her and miss her and hope she forever rests in peace. I
had a feeling that she could hear me in heaven. There was total
silence in the cemetery with the exception of a light breeze. It was
overcast and relatively cold, but I didn’t care about anything but
Selena at that point.
We left after ten minutes or so, and I was trying to regain my
composure in the car. I finally did, and we went off to go see the
boutique. The boutique took us a long time to find because if you
were looking for it, you wouldn’t even see it! It was right in the
middle of a quiet neighborhood. We parked across the street and
walked over. We took lots of pictures of the front entrance and then
went inside. It wasn’t the most exciting place in the world, but
Selena had put her dreams into this place, so it still meant
something to me. There were a few outfits here and there, and some
pictures of Selena on the walls. We looked around for about 5
minutes and then left.
Next stop, Days Inn Motel. The motel was basically empty, it was
very quiet there. My dad and I took took a few pictures of the front
entrance, and then went around to where the rooms were. There was a
janitor there, and he saw us looking a little lost and said, “You
folks here on vacation?” We told him yes and we were here for
Selena. He could tell just by looking at me why I was here and he
pointed to a room behind him and said, “That’s the room where Selena
was shot.” I couldn’t believe this amazing twist of fate! The Days
Inn had rearranged all the numbers of the rooms so no one knew which
room was Selena’s, and we just happened to run into this man who
tells us exactly which one it was! We thanked him, and walked over
to the room.
I’m not going to say what number it was, that’s for you to find out
when you go to Corpus. I got goose bumps all over my body. I looked
over at my dad and said, “Well, this is it.”. We took a few pictures
of the room, and I looked at the path that Selena had run across to
get the lobby where she collapsed. She had a pretty long way to run!
The door to the room was locked of course, windows shut with blinds
closed. I looked some more at the hotel room door, the path, and the
whole motel altogether. I was answering my dad’s questions about
what had happened here about 12 years ago the whole time, which I
was more than happy to do.
We left the Days Inn, and I still couldn’t shake that eerie feeling
I had inside of me from standing right where my idol had run across
on her way to where she would end up losing her life forever. Deep
stuff, I know. But on to a happier note, our next 2 stops were
Selena’s house and of course, Mirador De La Flor, AKA the Selena
statue. Selena’s house was in a quiet suburb, and I noticed a car in
the driveway, someone obviously lives there now. I was jealous, I
wanted to live there! :) We took one and only one picture and then
was on our way to the statue. It took us a very very very long
time to find the statue, because it was right along the street, and
ironically, right next to our hotel! When we did finally find it,
there were a few people there.
Everyone was either a Selena fan living in Corpus, or a Selena fan
visiting Corpus. If you were in Corpus Christi and you didn’t know
who Selena was, you were considered insane. The statue was really
beautiful. It was Selena looking out towards the bay, and she was
just resting up against the gazebo. There was a plaque there in her
honor, a description of her in both English and Spanish, and writing
from fans all over the walls of the gazebo, but NONE on the statue
itself, or anywhere near it.
We looked around the statue for about 20 minutes and then went back
to the hotel. The next morning would be the day we would leave, but
we didn’t leave until several hours after we got up. So we decided
to go back to the statue one more time. (I even brought a marker
with me so I could leave Selena a message of my own.) I noticed only
that day that on the tiles on the ground, there were little messages
from Selena’s friends and family! Selena’s mom and dad wrote, “We
Will Never Forget You Love Mom and Dad”. Selena’s husband Chris
wrote, “I Will Always Love You Forever, Chris” and Selena’s
sister Suzette and her husband wrote, “Forever Missing You Your
Sister Suzette and Bill”. That was really touching. I took my
marker and wrote on a blank spot on the wall, “11-5-06 Selena, I
love you and miss you more than you could ever know. Even though you
are gone, your spirit will live on with us forever. –Amanda”.
Then we left the statue.
We went to look at some things that weren’t Selena related (the very
few things there was) like this awesome war ship and the Gulf of
Mexico. I was lucky enough to see a man catch this huge stingray!
After all of our adventures, my dad and I went back to the hotel,
packed our stuff, checked out, grabbed a quite bite to eat, and
returned the rent-a-car. When we got to the airport we were seated
Then a problem arose.
The plane was going to be delayed! My dad and I were so worried that
we would miss our connecting flight from Houston to home! The plane
finally took off after an hour or so, and my dad and I literally ran
through the Houston airport to make our flight, we did get on the
the plane, and guess what? There was 2 seats left it the WHOLE
plane! I was so shocked by our luck! So we made it home safe and
sound and on time. I’m now always telling people about my adventures
in Corpus Christi, and I keep begging my parents to take me back.
It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Oh, and I forgot to mention I don’t have a drop of Mexican blood in
me. I just love the music and the styles and I love Selena as a
singer, an entertainer, but mostly as the beautiful and amazing
person she was. Selena will live on in our hearts forever. Siempre
by Amanda Bisesi