Planes, Playas, and Platos…and other things that go well with a good margarita.
by Debra Chappell
View From San Felipe De Neri (Albuquerque):
Mood Reading: ZZZZ’s (Decidedly better than the night before)
It felt great to sleep in this morning and I have to admit, I’m moving a bit slow. Not quite sure whether it’s from the time difference, the predawn scramble yesterday morning, or the 2 very strong margaritas consumed last night over dinner, but it felt altogether wonderful to have an old fashioned “lie in”, as the Brits like to say. Arrived in Albuquerque yesterday afternoon for the National Track and Field Indoor Championships after a frazzled and less than illustrious beginning to the journey involving a running hose pipe, a few pine trees and a wayward dog. (see yesterday’s blog) The water issues seem to have followed us however as the hotel water pressure in the shower is only slightly better, and barely enough to work up a lather. Not to worry, as soon as we get out to walk around, it will all dissipate like the fading evening light over the sprawling desert playa.
On first sight as we flew in, the impression was less “Land of Enchantment” and more…well, DIRT (as one person put it on twitter yesterday.) It is the desert after all. Coming from Reno, Nevada, you think I’d be used to “barren” but the landscape at first glance makes Reno’s sagebrush look lush by comparison. It isn’t until you walk around that the color, richness and vibrant artistry of the place comes alive. It is nice to be in a town center where the native craftsmanship is not only evident but well integrated into the cityscape. From the colorful mosaics that embellish buildings, to the life size bronze statues on urban street corners, to the wonderful native and natural architecture of homes and historic churches, the artistic core of a city proud of it’s natural gifts is on display at every turn.
Just before sunset, we took a cab to the ‘old town’ and had a good poke around. Unfortunately got there late so many of the street artists had already packed it in for the day (also too, much to my husbands delight, most of the pottery shops I was so looking forward to browsing.) We did however manage to wander into an art gallery just as they were setting up a lovely reception of wine, cheese, and appetizers to feature a terrific display of black and white photos taken by a prominent Native American photographer. We munched, had a good gander around and altogether appreciated our good fortune and exquisite timing.
Afterwards we cabbed it to a recommended restaurant for some authentic Southwestern grub featuring the celebrated red and green chilis New Mexico is known for. The sheer volume of the platos was almost overwhelming but with a little effort and the help of a couple Grande Presidential Margaritas made with sauza tres Generaciones anejo tequila, we managed to get most of it down in spite of not having a clue what we were eating.
We more or less waddled back to the hotel feeling stuffed, but not enough to forego that last quick night-cap at the hotel bar before turning in. As I write this I’m suddenly quite sure it was that last unneeded and entirely unnecessary stop that was responsible for this mornings Z’s and the slight headache still lightly tapping away at my temple in time with the keys on my laptop keyboard. In any case, I could kiss whoever scheduled the Women’s Pole Vault for late this afternoon and hopefully will be fully recovered by then.
Food, margaritas, shopping, track meet…..fun! Loved the pic of you with the bronze statutes, but was surprised to see you in a coat. The only thing missing is balmy weather and good water pressure!