Here are a few pictures I never got around to posting because it's a pain to get photos from my camera to my laptop:
As I drove to New Mexico, I decided to go through Petrified Forest National Park. The photo above is the painted desert. The one below is the blue mesa.
This crazy bird tried to eat my car.
This used to be a tree!
Yikes. This was somewhere in Arizona. It was almost as good as the truck I saw that had "Jesus Christ is lord, not a swear word" painted on its side. I admit, "Jesus Christ!" is one of my favorite things to exclaim, right up there with "yowza!" and "yergh!"
I was pretty happy to make it to New Mexico, where I discovered the deliciousness that is a sopaipilla, and how green chile tastes good on pretty much anything. After a short, yet informative, stop in Gallup, I headed to Santa Fe. Santa Fe impressed me for a number of reasons:
1. It seems that people there know how to enjoy themselves after work is over. There's free live music in the plaza most weekdays during the summer, and I was surprised to see how many people brought chairs to just sit and watch/listen/relax. There were also tons of people salsa dancing. Although, now that I think about it, I was probably seduced by the fact that this all took place outdoors. The thought of doing something outdoors in an SF summer makes me want to throw on an extra fleece and a big fuzzy hat.
2. Ummm....oh right. Downtown Subscription and Tecolote Cafe are both pretty awesome. It made me wish my dad were here for that part.
3. I wish I uploaded these pictures but they are still on my camera. It was interesting to see all the adobe houses.
But I have to say, Santa Fe gets a thumbs down for its drivers - they all seem intent on killing pedestrians. I crossed the street after the light turned green (complete with little white "it's-okay-to-walk-now" signal) and a woman making an unprotected left turn nearly hit me, then HONKED at me because I had the audacity to get in her way. I guess I wasn't walking fast enough? Clearly she had someplace important to be. This incident made me understand the shocked look on numerous people's faces the day before, when I let them cross the street as I was at a stop sign, instead of rudely cutting them off or nearly plowing into them.
After Santa Fe, I visited the Taos Pueblo. I must wear my emotions on my face, because the parking attendant instructed me to "sit by the river and let all the bad thoughts flow away..." How did he know I was having an existential crisis???? Although that incident was not as disconcerting as the one in DC where a security guard at one of the Smithsonian museums made me cry by being sweet and giving me helpful advice and telling me I had a "beautiful heart and spirit." Yeah, that was nuts.
So clearly, I needed to relax, so I chose to do so at the mineral springs in Ojo Caliente. Supposedly, the iron and arsenic in the springs are supposed to be good for you, but I can't help but feel I ended up soaking in a pool full of rusty water. At least that's what it smelled like. They also had a lithia spring, which you can drink, although they warn you it is not an EPA-approved water source. I like to live dangerously, so I had a tiny cup. I'm still alive, but I'm pretty sure I have an iron stomach thanks to the Great Food Poisoning Event: Seoul, 2001.
The drive from Taos to Denver was surprisingly beautiful - 80 miles of it was through a beautiful forest (unlike the hair-raising driving experience I had the previous night) and I saw lots of cows, buffalo, horses, and even a few llamas. And now I'm in Denver, at Liv's house, and am looking forward to a week of not driving hundreds of miles at a time. I see lots of reading, relaxing, yoga, good eating, and girltalk ahead of me. On Saturday, I'll pick my parents up at the airport and we'll drive to Yellowstone together.
But now I should go to bed (yay! a real bed!) because we're going river-rafting tomorrow.