Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adventures in New Mexico

It says something about the vacation place when you spend four days there and don't have many pictures of the trip. Many times it means that things are so tedious and frustrating that you don't want the moment ever recorded. However, in this case it meant that I was so caught up in the excitement of the moment that I forgot to whip out the camera and take a picture. Large chunks of this trip are undocumented, but I hope everyone likes the pictures I do have.

On Friday we flew into Albuquerque and immediately drove to the village of Corrales, where we stayed at the Casa de Koshare Bed & Breakfast. This is a great little place.

After checking into our room - The Storyteller Suite - I stretched out on the overly-cushioned bed and listened to the rain pitter on the roof. It was the most relaxed I've been in weeks.

We could have stayed in the Casa de Koshare the whole time I would not have minded at all. Not only did they have a little courtyard where they have concerts and weddings...

...they also have a labyrinth (which I solved on my first attempt).

Saturday we spent in Rio Rancho with The Mrs. old college roommate and her family. We went to a few Indian ruins and had some delicious New Mexican food.

There is a rule in New Mexico. When you order anything, the waitperson asks you "Red or green?" This means do you want it covered in red chili sauce or green chili sauce. Practically everything edible is doused in one or the other, and sometimes both depending on whether you order the combo platter or not.

I did not get any pictures of the college roommate's family or the Indian ruins, but I did get about 4,691 pictures of Lilly, the family dog.

Lilly is a great dog, and even posed with the Mrs. feet.

In Santa Fe, we visited several museums and galleries including, much to my surprise, the Chuck Jones Studio Gallery. I had no idea it was there, so this was a most pleasant surprise. I have been a fan of Chuck Jones since forever and loved browsing a gallery filled with original works of not only his, but Dr. Seuss's and Charles Schultz's as well. Bliss!

And wouldn't you know it, to get to the gallery you have to turn left at Albuquerque.

Of course, after making the Chuck Jones connection it seemed painfully obvious that he would have a gallery in Santa Fe. After all, the landscape through New Mexico is filled with coyotes and road runners. And it is easy to imagine a giant Acme anvil falling off of a cliff like this.

There is a lot of art in New Mexico. I told the Mrs. that there was probably a disproportionate number of sculptors from this part of the country because so much of of the New Mexico topography is about spacial relationships.

For one, the sky there is huge.

Plus the land makes such interesting shapes all by itself, so creating art seems like the natural response to things.

Plus there seems to be an odd sense of humor about the place - a sense of humor that gets reflected in the local art - even the graffiti.

From the outside, a lot of the houses look exactly alike. If you are someone like me who navigates by landmarks ("turn left at the Walgreens and go until you reach the bank that was once a Pizza Hut") this is a real problem ("turn left at the adobe house until you get to the adobe house - if you reach the adobe house you've gone too far"). We did regularly get lost and every time I muttered, "I should have taken that left turn in Albuquerque..."

We had many great adventures getting lost in the middle of the desert, surrounded on all sides by local color. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like getting lost and then being confronted with the local wildlife population. Fortunately, the Mrs. has the ability to tame the savage beast.

New Mexico is in an area known as the "high desert." It is very dry but also cooler than one would expect from a desert. The landscape might seem arid, but there is a prickly kind of beauty right where you least expect it.

All in all, I consider it time well spent. I might even consider buying property there someday.


alex said...

Very cool, M.R. And I'm so happy that Sexytoes made another appearance.

NoRegrets said...

Oh, I can just see you sitting outside, waiting for lost people to stop for directions, and you give them the adobe directions. That would be you.

Beautiful photos. Glad you had a great time. Does the mrs. know her photos is on your blog? She said no before...

Susan said...

Now I want to go to New Mexico.

heather said...

i too navigate by landmarks. half the roads around here that i use on a regular basis aren't named and don't appear to be on any maps.

so glad you guys had a good time. great pictures! :)

M. Robert Turnage said...

Alex, I thought you might appreciate that shot.

NoR, she has veto power over any image of her. I asked her to proofread the entry and she deemed it acceptable, probably because of the giant cat.

Susan, it is beautiful, but the pace of life is considerably slower. People drive about five mph slower than the posted sped limit and the local internet service providers seem to use the concept of "drip irrigation" when you connect to the web. Downloading podcasts or streaming video is pretty much out.

Heather, thanks! So good to hear other people give directions that way. The Mrs. gives directions like this - "Oh, we were supposed to take that exit back there."