Friday, January 29, 2010

I love love love the west Also known as my jaunt in Albuqurque

And not just the west coast nor the cowboys of Wyoming, but the beauty that is New Mexico and Arizona. The beautiful quiet of the desert. The land that looks barren but that has tons of amazing wildlife hiding and surviving the most brutal elements. The west that belongs to the Native Americans, turquoise jewelery, music with flutes, drums and chanting and amazing rock formations. The land of the old west.

I am currently in Albuquerque. I came out last night for a business meeting. Since both Albuquerque and Richmond are not major airports, I was not able to fly back tonight, so I stayed an extra night and enjoyed the city. Although, the weather is looking a little sketchy getting home. Fingers crossed I don't get stuck somewhere for the night and can't make it back. But even if the plane does land, I'm nervous about driving home in my civic!! Good thoughts here people, good thoughts.

First, to disprove any notions. Albuquerque is not warm. It was 28 degrees when I woke up this morning. Areas about 30 minutes north had snow, but we were lucky in that we just missed the storm (which is heading to Richmond tonight, ugh, it's not looking good here). But it wasn't as bone chilling cold as it is back east. I think this has something to do with the humidity. The damp coldness that just doesn't allow your bones to ever feel warm isn't here. So, while it was cold, it still felt warmer than back home. I didn't find the fact that no humidity goes both ways to be very fair. First, in the summer, when it's 120 degrees, it doesn't feel quite as hot since there's no humidity. Ok, fair enough, it's freaking 120 degrees, I'll give you the humidity thing. But then in the winter for it also to not feel as cold. Not fair I say!!

Albuquerque may be in the desert, but it is in the high desert. Albuquerque is 5,000 feet above sea level, so it too is technically a "mile-high city." Albuqurque is nestled in the Rio Grande Valley. If you look west, you see high desert, quite and still. If you look to the east, you see the magnificent Sandia Mountains rising well above 10,000 feet, covered in white snow that glistens in the bright desert sun. It really and truly was a beautiful sight to behold. This first photo gives you an idea of the vast dessert while the second shows the Sandia Mountains. And, I don't have an expensive camera, this is what you get! In the second photo, the clouds are covering a lot of the tops of the mountains.

I loved how bike friendly the city was. Even on the highways there were paths for bikers! I remember the Major was always big into biking, and he was originally from Las Cruces, which is about 2 hours south. Being out here, it makes sense. The air is so fresh, no humidity, why wouldn't you want to bike everywhere?

After the meeting, I did a little sightseeing. First stop was Petroglyph National Monument. I already wrote an entry on it on my other blog (see here), so I won't repeat myself, but I will post a few photos for your enjoyment. Isn't the face on the top left of the first one kind of freaky? And they loved the snakes. There were a lot of those. Wonder if the Indians knew we'd be coming and looking at their scratchings hundreds/thousands of years later?!

After that, I drove down to Tingley Beach which is on the Rio Grande off Central. Central used to be part of the historic 66, I thought that was pretty neat. There wasn't much to do, but I just walked around and enjoyed the beauty of the area. Gosh, how incredible is the Rio Grande? I feel like you hear so many stories, so many songs about it, it was kind of awe-inspiring to actually be on the banks of this mighty river.

 After the beach, I drove around, went to the historic downtown area. "Historic" means something dramatically different here than it does in the East Coast. Historic is native Americans, missions and Spanish influences, not the colonial, Revolutionary style history we see back home.

The architecture was really different as well. Everything was as stereotypical as you'd imagine. The peach clay houses with stucco style roofs. I loved it though. When I was a little girl, I got to redecorate my room, and I picked peach walls with turquoise trim. I loved those colors because they reminded me of the west. Here in Albuquerque, even the highway dividers were peach with turquoise accents, it was really quite neat. Anyways, the houses all looked very stucco and Spanish. None of the drab suburban nightmare vinyl siding we see back home.Although, I do imagine these homes probably feel pretty suburban here, but they're different, they're unique! The funny thing is, I LOOOOVE this architecture. There are a few homes in the city of Richmond built after this style, and I always comment how much I love them. I still think it dates back to when I was younger and we came out here. The other interesting thing is, they don't have lawns. I guess water is too precious to have grass, so the yards were made of stone and sand. I have no idea what part of town the below photo was in, if it was middle class or affluent, but it was on my sightseeing tour. Very typical of the homes you'd see here.

When I went back out tonight, there was a gorgeous full moon that was casting the most beautiful glow on the snow covered Sandias. It was soooo romantic, I have to tell you, I wish L was here with me enjoying it. (BTW, guess I owe you a bit about L! For another post I guess). Then down into the valley, the lights of the city twinkled under the full moon and stars, and I have to say it was breathtaking.

Oh! I almost forgot! The best part was my rental car! They gave me the most adorable red bug! Doesn't this 100% fit my personality?! The best part is, I'd always wanted a bug. Even the old ones, but especially when the new ones came out a few years ago. Granted, I thought I wanted a yellow bug convertible, but this red one was something! I loved driving around in it! It felt so fun cruising around town in it! It was easy to drive and maneuver, and now I want one even more!! Oh, this fits me! I BELONG in a bug. I DESERVE a bug!

Ok, well, I guess that's it for now. Please wish me luck getting back to Richmond tomorrow in one piece and on time!

xoxo, S


RAP said...

Good luck! Did you get home? The snow here is horrible! I hate it.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that a bug just fits you, although i think i would laugh at you if we were sitting at a red light next to each other! Haha! -RE

SJP said...

Well, you both know I did not get home and had one HECK of a time getting back Sunday. I'll post the updates, although you both already know all about it!

Re - why would you laugh at me? I don't get it. Unless you were talking about your old red cabrio? But now you can laugh at me with my sling on instead! I think for Halloween this year I can go as an accident. Between the thumb, boot, and sling, I have a lot of stuff, all in one year!!