Monday, May 15, 2006

Crazy New Mexicans

On a whim, the ear doctor and I decided to take off last Wednesday and drive down to the Carlsbad Caverns. Our finals were both over, and I hadn't really been able to bring myself back to full time status quite yet. We packed up and took off.

We decided to stay the first night in Santa Fe, so after driving for 6 hours we pulled off the road and found our way to the lovely Super 8. So, in case you don't know this about him, the ear doctor kind of hates Kokopelli. He doesn't understand them and doesn't know why people in the Southwest plaster them all over the place as a decoration. I think it's funny how irked he gets by these little dancing habengers of good luck, so I point them out wherever possible. Before embarking on the trip we thought it would be funny to count how many we saw over the weekend.

Bad idea.

When we unlocked our room of the Super 8 and flipped on the lightswitch was was gleaming back at us? Yes, a centrally located kokopelli cut out complete with his pet lizard and howling coyote. Beautiful. The room on the very first night of our trip was bedecked in the official symbol of the southwest. In the fist day the number of kokopelli grew so enormous that it was too big of a task to undertake. We gave up.

Can I just tell you something? I loved Santa Fe. Such a cute little town with some real roots. It seemed like we'd strolled right into a real Mexico hacienda. If you ever have the chance to be driving through, plan on spending some time there. Get a "Frito pie" from the five and dime, but watch out because it may burn your mouth up like it did mine. Go to the cathedral of St. Francis Assisi, but don't go on a day when there is a funeral, like we did. Talk to the locals because they are friendly, colorful and most of the time crazy. Eat breakfast or lunch at Pascual's cafe and you'll feel like your in a Boulder sister city. Eat dinner at Los Mayas which is complete with a young boy who doesn't speak English mixing guacamole at your table and an ambiance articulated by the blue tarp roof.

Thursday afternoon we bid a fond farewell Santa Fe and hit the road again for the caverns. The road down there goes right through Roswell, NM so of course the ear doctor and I had to stop. Talk about a strange place. The McDonalds had a huge silver UFO to play in and we found our way to a really creepy little store that sold souvenirs and had a walk through diorama of alien landings. I got some socks.

Finally, after 4 more hours of driving we found our way to Whites City, NM where we decided to throw out our tent and camp for the next two nights. We ate dinner at the "Velvet Garter" which I thought was going to be a whole lot sketchier than it was. The food was pretty bad, but there was a salad bar. For some reason, and I didn't really know this about him, the ear doctor loves a salad bar. As a rule I am pretty opposed to paying to serve myself. The food was overpriced, but while we were eating we eavesdropped on a really old couple that argued the entire meal. It was so funny to listen to them bicker back and forth! My stomach was aching by the time we were done from the entertainment.

I think we were the only people within a 10 mile radius under the age of 40 the whole weekend.

The caverns were amazing. I really can't do them justice by describing them, so you'll have to just put it on your list as something to do before you die. Also, one night we watched the Mexican Free-tailed bats come out of the cave. That was seriously mind blowing.


k said...

ooh fun! i'll be in santa fe this summer so i'll have to check all that out. fresh guacamole... yum!

Anonymous said...

The bats are more correctly identified as Brazilian Free-tailed bats

east of eden said...

In regards to Kokopelli, I think they are most abundant at the Super 8. I live near Santa Fe, and the only other place I've seen them en masse is at Jakalope--the crapy trinket store. Another good place to eat in the Old Town, is Dominics on Guadalupe, and Tomasitas--both have excellent New MExican food. And my personal favorite is Cleopatra's in the Design Center. And yes, frito pie, which is served with red chili is always hot.

Anth said...

Oh, this sounds so fun! Dh and I have tossed around the idea of a SW road trip for a while now. My grandparents live over in Arizona, so I'd like to see them. I like the idea of just going wherever the road takes you.

And you know, I went to Carlsbad Caverns when I was quite little. I had a dorky banner from the cavern gift shop hanging in my room for years! Too bad I have no actual memory of the caverns...

Katie said...

Oh man, you should see the awesomely dorky t-shirt I got there. I got it out of the kids section and it has neon colors all over it. Very cool.

Edge said...

Wow! You were in my neck of the woods. I grew up about 200 miles from there and drove the same route to Ruidosa. Roswell was where we stopped and ate at Arby's. Back then people just knew it as the town the NM Military Institute was.

You are right Carlsbad caverns can't be described with words. Hope you took pics. They say that the caverns link up with others and go all the way to central Texas and beyond.

I share ear Dr.'s hatred of those cut-outs. Mostly with NM. Try to order a hamburger with ketchup and they look at you funny. Odd state!