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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Land of Enchantment

Recently I passed through New Mexico, spending a few days soaking up the warm, dry desert sun. Spring in the desert is a spectacular time to view colorful flowers, golf at world renowned resorts and if you’re up for it, horseback ride through some of the wildest terrain you'll ever see. But typical of my travels, the journey is more like....arrive on the only day in the last fifty years they have rain, find out the "resort" is a redone Best Western that has a rain barrel for a hot tub and explains to their guests that the putt-putt course has been world ranked. As for other amenities, I personally don't consider a bar of soap that used to be a leaf and now looks like a finger, to be "deluxe" soaps & lotions. That was how they described them in the brochure. And Gary, the "security" guard? He was a tad too friendly. He offered to give me a personal massage when he got off duty. That should be fun from a one-armed man, don't you think? Oh! Just so you don't worry about me, I did change hotels and didn't even both to tell Gary goodbye! The one true thing was the beautiful horseback ride through the desert. After explaining to the "cowboy" escort rider that I was a somewhat, in my imagination, a well experienced rider, I was handed the reins to what I understood to be a tall cow. The "cowboy" then herded two others onto their steeds. The old man had fewer than four teeth in his mouth and admitted a foul odor every time the horse took a step, and his wife, who was as thin as a rail, all dressed in white with high heels that made her look like a teetering Greek column. The cowboy tethered us all together like school kids, one horses face crammed into the other's butt and yelled "Let's ride," all the while swinging a rope over his head until it whacked his horse one too many times, making the horse jump sideways, and had all of us tethered to his horse hanging on for dear life. Long story, short...we plodded on for what seemed like days stopping occasionally to "oooohhh" and "aaahhh" over the blooming desert. Lovely, but when you've seen one cactus, you truly have seen them all. Where the fun ended was when the "cowboy," assured that we might really be able to ride, decides to untether us and let us plod back to the barn. Don't know how many of you have ever been on a trail ride, so I'll let you in on a little secret. When a horse is on his way out of the barn they can be a slow as molasses, but on the return? Not so much. Before the "cowboy" even had the tether off, my horse-cow attempted to sprint from the group. Being the well-experienced rider I am, (I mentioned that right?) I held him back, much to the cow-horses chagrin. The Greek column didn't have much luck on her end and the last I knew, she and her smelly husband could be still out there in the desert, as I saw her horse bolt, her husband chase after her in a cloud of dust. The ever relaxed "cowboy" sauntered off after them, waving me back to the trail on which we arrived. Made it a lovely, quiet trip once my cow-horse and I came to an agreement. Albuquerque has a rich heritage. It's here that the International Pow Wow of Nations is held. I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying this event. Color, music, tradition, dance, arts and crafts surround visitors during Pow Wow. If you ever have the chance, it is a beautiful way to share in the traditions of our nation's indigenous people. I felt humbled to be allowed to see what all of the tribes around the nation feel is their finest moment. The thump-thumping of the skin drums is especially intriguing. The sound of those hollow drum awaken something savage in me and watching these traditions being passed on to the younger generations makes me feel privileged to see it. This city is also home to the annual Balloon Festival. How beautiful it was to awake each morning and see so many balloons rise from the horizon and drift quietly across the plains of the city. They dot the sky with color and bring smiles to everyone’s face! There is a wonderful Old Town where trinket shops are not the place to shop. Instead try the street vendors whose handmade turquoise creations are a skill passed down from generation to generation. I purchased a beautiful turquoise necklace from a young man whose grandfather taught him to harvest the turquoise and design the beads. the grandfather's work hangs in the Smithsonian museum! The rest of the journey in New Mexico was wonderful! I visited Madrid, the small town where the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed. For a small town, the shops and eating were great, the artists, so talented, and the people, very friendly. Made me want to stay! It's on the way to Sante Fe and to me, a must less touristy stop. Enjoy the photos though all of them are not ones I took. I can't take credit for everything! Along with loving my New Mexico experience, I found a book that moves from Albuquerque to Berkley, CA during some tumultuous times, (please don't think I am suggesting this because I believe in draft-dodging, I don't. I am a staunch military supporter whether you like it or not:) take a moment and read, Odyssey: 1970 by John W. Caswell. The book paints a picture of a young man coming of age during one of our nation's most tumultuous times. A page-turner, for sure. And lastly, to those friends and families whose birthdays, anniversaries, baby births, etc., I've forgotten......so sorry. As you can see, I’m busy gathering info for my next blog! Love ya, but gotta go!

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