Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stop 10: Albuquerque, New Mexico

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa

This time, I couchsurfed with a couple and their 1 year old baby. All of the houses in their neighborhood looked like adobe huts and they took me to eat a delicious meal at a true New Mexican restaurant. The big question is whether you like red or green chilli. I got both and honestly could not taste a huge difference so I just told people I liked the green because I like that color more. Albuquerque was quiet, focused on exercise, and valued a connection with nature. The woman I was couchsurfing with brought me to play beach volleyball at a big warehouse with her teammates. My skills were definitely rusty, but it was fun to get on the court again after not playing volleyball for 4 years! I met a firefighter/yoga instructor friend through couchsurfing who invited me to his hot yoga class. Later in the week we went to a reggae concert, Tribal Seeds, with another friend of his that was very thoughtful and kind. At the beginning of my journey I planned for 5 “flexible” days, meaning these days could be used to stay in a place for a bit longer or allow for some car maintenance if necessary along the way. I spent all 5 of these days in Albuquerque I liked it that much J

I was really scared of the dogs in my couchsurfing house. Small dogs are ok, but I really do not like big dogs. I feel like they swarm around your feet like sharks and you never know when they could bite. Also, I took a beautiful tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak and hiked around there for longer than expected. I got really bad sunburn. That sucked.

I chose to take a random trip to Santa Fe one day, which was totally unplanned. It was only an hour away so why not? There is a street called Canyon Road with over 100 art galleries. I realized I really like kinesthetic art, which is basically art that moves. My favorite were these wind sculptures by Mark White that changed color and shape when it got windy outside. Also, once back in Albuquerque I was talking with a store owner about Katrina dolls, which look a bit like the character in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” movie. These dolls are popular in New Mexico because they are decorations for the holiday The Day of Dead which is celebrated throughout the state. I didn’t know this was a holiday people still celebrated.

I really wanted to enter an Indian reservation. There are tours you can do through organizations online, but I wanted to go by myself on a less commercial route. I asked around all week and people said it was really hard to enter the reservation if you are not a member of the tribe and that filming would be nearly impossible since they want to preserve their traditions within the territory of the reservation. Sadly, people told me the easiest way to talk to Native Americans was to go to any casino, since they dominate that industry in New Mexico. Growing up in Colorado, the Native Americans were always a big topic in history classes, museum exhibits, and school projects. I remember my first Native American project was in 2nd grade about the Apache Tribe. This was my chance to experience that culture, but I was unable to figure out how to do it.


The people in Albuquerque were so happy, engaging, and lived relatively simple lives. I spent more time talking to each link in this city since they had the time and interest to talk to a stranger like me. I was amazed at how smiley people were in general and this made me realize that I need to live in a place where people smile. It’s such a simple gesture but can really mean a lot.

Explore Albuquerque, New Mexico now
Sandia Peak Tram

Off Broadway Costume Store (used in lots of Hollywood productions)

Tribal Seeds concert

Canyon Road, Santa Fe

Body Cafe (yoga studio and lunch spot)

Mark White kinetic wind sculptures

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