What do you get when you take back to back vacations?
a. Lots of laundry
b. Exercises in packing
c. Strange viruses
d. More photos than you’ll ever know what to do with
e. All of the above
Within one day, we went from the cloudy and green Northwest, to the sunny and dry Southwest. Talk about a 180/360!
Like Vancouver, I’d always wanted to go to New Mexico. It didn’t matter that I’d essentially be single parenting on the road for two more weeks (okay, maybe a little) because at least we’d be charting new territory.
Thanks to this insatiable need to travel and photograph the world… I wanted to present these photos as “an essence” of what I saw and experienced, just in case you’ve never been!
LA ESCENCIA de NUEVO MEXICO
Cultural: Whether you want to learn more about the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, the blend of Colonial Spanish and Latino/Hispanic heritage, or the great American Cowboy – there’s plenty of well-incorporated diversity within culture to take in here. In many ways, this is the definition of Southwestern.
Flavor: The official state question is “Red or Green?” and I quickly came to realize there’s good reason for that. It comes with everything! I honestly thought I could handle “heat” (as in chile peppers) until this visit, but boy was I wrong! They are not messing around here and when they say “spicy,” they mean it. I ate more enchiladas, beans and rice than I ever have in any two week period. Ever. We made a point to ONLY nosh in local restaurants (no national chains) and eat mostly regional food, with a few interjections of pizza to keep the niños happy.
Historical: Honestly, I had no idea that New Mexico was steeped in so much history. Did you know that Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States? It’s also one of the oldest cities in all of America, complete with the oldest house and public building! While Adobe-Pueblo isn’t my favorite architectural style, it harmonizes perfectly with the environment. Plus, I like it’s ancient quality. And speaking of the ancients, there are petroglyphs and cliff dwellings throughout the state. We didn’t get to see any of the latter, but plan to on our next visit.
Colorful: New Mexico is chock full of color. How can one not love all the turquoise, reds, oranges, and yellows? Between the Native American and Spanish influences — the costumes, the beads, the food, the chiles — nearly everything was kaleidoscopic.
Museums: Apparently, I’m attempting to break the world record of “most museum visits in one year!” I will talk more about this later, but we went to a couple of fabulous ones in Albuquerque. While the museum tour was getting a little tedious and predictable, I can honestly say that I’d never been to one devoted entirely to rattlesnakes until this trip. I have the “Certificate of Bravery” to prove it. Fun times!
Artistic: Between Vancouver and Albuquerque, I returned home with the overwhelming feeling, “Vegas needs more public art!” Everywhere we went, there were enormous murals covering walls due to new “urban enhancement” laws. In my experience, the longer I live in the desert and the Southwest, I can see why this type of environment is strangely conducive to creating art. It’s no wonder New Mexico has been home to artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Laura Gilpin and Bruce Nauman.