Ahhhhh, back in the homeland. I grew up in Denver, and the even though there’s 400 miles between here and there, the high desert and the culture is so very familiar. Santa Fe has it’s own charm, but I find myself going, “Oh, yeah, I remember this,” over and over and over.
Habits given up years ago in the moist climate and soft water of the Bay Area are surfacing. The hard water necessitates at least double the amount of shampoo and conditioner that I need at home, and I remember when I first moved to SF I kept using a ‘normal’ amount of shampoo and kept finding myself drowning in suds. I was in the habit of shampooing, then conditioning my hair, then turning to washing my body to let the conditioner stay on as long as possible. But in the Bay, with all it’s moisturized air, I changed to rinsing it out immediately because my hair was still soft. I hit Albuquerque and after my hair dried it felt like straw. Oh, yeah, I remember this.
And Mexican food served right. Rice on the plate where it belongs. None of this rice in the burrito bullshit. You order a chicken burrito and you get highly seasoned chicken wrapped in a tortilla, with either red, green, or Christmas sauce. And sopapillas! Warm squares of puffy bread with honey on the table served with the meal. Oh, yeah, I remember this.
Water, water and more water. The dry air sucking moisture out of your skin, even though it’s only 62 degrees outside. And having 3 different lip balms stationed in easily-accessible locations. Oh, yeah, I remember this.
But there are a lot of ways in which Santa Fe is nothing like Denver. The majority of the buildings are adobe, with their softly rounded corners. The soft earth colors are often accented with turquoise and other bright colors. We are staying in a spacious craftsman, an interesting blend of adobe (thick plastered walls with dark carved wooden door jams, and the craftsman-style fireplace in the living room, flanked by built-in glass-front cabinets and shelves. There are a wide variety of places for us to plop down with our laptops and get work done. As I write this, I am at the dining room table and the BF is across the room in the window nook. Margaret, the owner, has just started doing AirBnB. She’s an artist and used the home as her gallery until the economic crash of 2008. The walls are a soothing, neutral brown that would display art to its best advantage. It’s a delightful home base.
We have definitely arrived in the SouthWest. As we went into Cowgirls’ for lunch, we heard the strains of country music, which I fear will follow us for the next few months as we make our way across the southern states. The BF found this delightful restaurant/billiards hall on a walk the other night so we walked over for lunch today. I have been walking more, although the 6900 ft. altitude is kicking my ass. Still, it was just under 1/2 mile (according to my trusty pedometer), which is a good haul for me. Santa Fe is the highest state capitol (highest altitude, dude, altitude). The air is most definitely thinner. I’m planning on kicking ass when we get to Austin next week (Alt. 458 ft — I checked).
The menu at Cowgirl’s was the most interesting I’ve seen in a long time. I eschewed the yak meatloaf (served with chipotle mashed potatoes and a fried onion ring) for the Mother of All Green Chili Burgers. This burger won awards, because green chili burgers are a huge thing in these parts and any restaurant worth it’s reputation serves green chili burgers (except, you know, Italian and Asian restaurants). This one was a blend of Angus beef and buffalo, topped with smoked bacon, brie, green chilis, and heirloom tomatoes (one red, one green). OMG.
Tomorrow is a work day, then on Friday I’m going to the Georgia O’Keefe museum because she’s my favorite artist. And Friday night I’m hooking up with Helen and Danny, the friends who lured us here.
I leave you with lunch compliments of Cowgirl’s.
Next stop: NM to TX
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