Friday, February 16, 2007

so far

I've been in New Mexico for 27 hours and Santa Fe 26 hours so far. I couldn't be happier. So far, I have taken three rolls of pictures, written a few pages in my journal, slept, but mostly wandered. Outside of Italy, I had the best cappuccino of my life yesterday at a coffee shop on the plaza (shhh...don't tell the people I work for), and for lunch today I had an unbelievably delicious enchilada with green chile sauce and a warm sopapilla with honey. I've talked to dozens of people. That's one of the cool things about traveling solo: personally, I'm more likely to strike up conversations with strangers than when I travel with someone else or when I'm at home. So far I have yet to meet anyone who grew up in this area; everyone I've talked to moved here from elsewhere. One is from St. Louis; another from Columbus; and yet another from Denver. All of them said they never planned on living here, but at some point they travelled here and then never wanted to leave. So they didn't. On the other hand, I have only had the opportunity to chat with european-americans so far. Not on purpose, of anyone reading this should know by now I'm not like that. New Mexico has such an awesome conglomeration of cultures: European (mainly Spanish), Mexican, and Native American. Not only does this add up to the most amazing food in the world, but this also creates an eclectic atmosphere unmatched anywhere in the world I have been thus far.

The natural surroundings are so gorgeous, I almost want to cry. Really, there are no adequate adjectives for it. Mountains with clusters of sage and patches of snow. Red desert clay. Clean dry air (which is partly why I now have a sore throat and am sucking on lozenges constantly).

After wandering around Santa Fe for a couple hours this morning, I drove south along the Turquoise Trail to a town called Madrid. I stayed there for a couple days when I was last here. It's the most bizarrely charming little place. Nestled between a couple mountains along the Turquoise Trail, it was once a mining town during the 19th century. Then it died and was a ghost town. And then sometime during the late-middle 20th century it was revived as an artists' colony. Truly one of a kind. So I drove down there today and spent a few hours wandering, talking to people, taking pictures, and having coffee at Java Junction, where I actually stayed overnight years ago when I was last here.

And on my way back to Santa Fe, I saw a coyote! I was on this small desert/mountain road when a grey/tan/white coyote darted out in front of the car. It was so cute and looked extremely alert. It looked both ways before crossing the road, stopped briefly on the other side, and then disappeared into a field. I wish I had gotten a picture, but it happened so fast, and the coyote was gone in a flash.

Now, I'm back at the hotel briefly...long enough for another dose of Dayquil (yes, I am fighting off a cold in addition to the dry-air induced sore throat). Then, I'm not sure what the evening has in store for me, but I'm going to make sure it's interesting.

I love it here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eighteen and a half

That's how many hours until my plane leaves tomorrow morning.



I have a short shift to work today and then I will be ready to leave town.

My packing list is short, though still untouched: clothes/shoes for cold weather, coat and such acroutrements, camera, journal, reading glasses, bath/shower stuff...I think that's all I need. Definitely all I want to bring. Boarding passes confirmed online and printed. No luggage check. No complications.

I may or may not post here again before I leave, though I will most certainly post (including pictures) as soon as I return.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

what kind of latte was that?

Some guy went ballistic on me yesterday and accused starbucks employees of urinating in the coffee. According to him, this is common practice throughout the company, and he’s "just sick of it, damn it.” This came right before having a temper tantrum about getting the wrong drink and then throwing his change at me. Also, he didn’t actually get the wrong drink. He ordered an Americano, apparently not understanding what it is (espresso and water), and when the barista handed it to him, he flipped out because he thought that when she added the hot water, she was cheating him out of coffee, when in reality water is part of the recipe.

One of our faithful, offbeat and hilarious regular customers told me that this guy had been wandering around the café telling everyone to make sure we hadn’t peed in their coffee, as he assured them this is common practice throughout the company. Most people ignored him. The funny thing about it, to me, is that this insane man seemed to really believe we do this, and yet there he was ordering a drink from us anyway.

Actually, the funniest part is how he imagines we add this special ingredient. Evidently, he told people that we sneak off into the bathroom for each individual beverage we make. Because were we to actually do something this horrendous, we surely wouldn't go the more efficient route and take care of it an entire batch at a time. Instead, we'd take turns sneaking off to the bathroom, one barista/one drink at a time. So he's not just a disgusting, delusional weirdo, but he's also not so bright.

Not that anyone took this lunatic seriously. Everyone kept right on drinking. I was about to call security to have him removed when he removed himself.

Truly, we do not pee in the coffee. You have my word on this.

On a much better note…only three days until my trip. Three days! Before the sun rises on Thursday, my plane will be in the air and my shoulders will finally begin to relax as I leave behind the ugly stress that has somehow found its way into my life.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I've desperately needed to get out of town for a while now, but I refused to see it as a possibility in the near future. I don't know why. My friend Chris talked me into saying screw it and taking a few days off and finding some sort of adventure for myself. I have done just that.

Initially, I was going to drive up to Savannah, Georgia, but most of their hotels were booked for when I wanted to go. And the ones that weren't booked are super expensive and would sort of defeat the idea of a fun, stress-free trip. So just for kicks, I went to one of the travel websites and started looking at their last minute packages. I found the most amazing deal for a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Several years ago, my then-husband and I went there for a week, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen. I know my ex loved it, too, but he said he prefers places with more green, while Santa Fe is obviously high desert (that's how he felt then, though I don't know if he still does). Anyway, I have wanted to get back there ever since that first trip and two weeks from now, I will be there for four days! Honestly, I found such a great deal on airfare, a hotel room, and a rental car. I won't go into exact prices here, but it's unbelievable.

So...thank you, Chris, for pushing me into this, as I know it's the best idea anyone has had in ages. And I will bring you home a souvenir (and, no, it won't be a man for you).

Last time I took any kind of trip alone, I was 18. I went to Germany for two weeks, and though I stayed most of the time with my aunt and uncle who lived there back then, I took a few overnight trips in and around the region alone. It was great. But this whole trip will be me on my own, and that's one of the things I'm most excited about. Hopefully, it will be relaxing, to a therapeutic degree. I'm going to take tons of pictures and bring my journal along of course. Also, I hope to go skiing and hiking. But mostly, I plan to wander around and breathe that air which I remember as being some of the cleanest and most energizing I've ever breathed.