Eileen goes to Santa Barbara with one of her school friends, so I have a few more days to myself. I spend most of this time at the University of Riverside, doing research for one of my other projects. This mainly involves digging through boxes in the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature – an overwhelming, unrivaled public archive of fandom ephemera hidden on the fourth floor of the Rivera Library. I stay each night until close.

On one of these evenings I stop at Tio's Tacos on my way out of Riverside. Tio's is owned by a man named Martin Sanchez, who has surrounded his taquería with mosaic tile walkways and a sprawling sculpture garden. Hidden throughout the lush property are life-size cement sculptures and small ornate chapels made of beer bottles. One chapel is decorated with religious paraphernalia, another with stuffed animals. Most striking are several 20 foot tall statues made from aluminum beer cans and leaves. These figures tower over the central courtyard like palm trees come to life.

I'm glad to have arrived after dark, when the gardens and chapels are lit up by dozens of outdoor lights. But unfortunately Sanchez has left for the day, so I don't learn much about his in-progress environment. Though some of the individual pieces deal with Latin-American heritage or make use of Christian iconography, my overall impression is that the work is mostly architectural, designed to embellish the restaurant as much as anything else. Without talking to the artist I can't be sure. I choose a table on the empty patio and order a burrito, which is delicious.

A beer can figure stands next to a conical bottle chapel.