Tuesday, August 18, 2009

7/19-7/22 - El Paso x Santa Fe

So we left Austin/Fort Hood and began making our way across the state of Texas which, for the most part, is the most boring landscape I've seen to date.

It got nicer as we got to the Western part of the state.

We were running out of gas and pulled into a small town in the Middle-Of-Nowhere, Texas. This gas station was not open and didn't have the option of a manual credit card transaction. Awesome. We have no gas and the gas station is closed.
A knight showed up in a mammoth pickup truck (obviously, it's Texas), and told us that right across the street there was a filling station that worked so long as you had a credit card.
It was a large above-ground tank of petrol:

Uh, okay:
We got gas and drove to Fort Stockton, TX, a midway point between Austin and El Paso. We needed to exchange our tent at a Walmart in spite of the fact that it was unclear if the tent was even purchased at a Walmart. But their return policy is anything-is-exchangeable evidently. So we stopped at a Mexican restaurant which had the creepiest Children-of-the-Corn art I've ever seen.
Where evidently you can buy a three-decades-running Mexican boy band for $6.50 if you eat in. It's an extra 45 cents if you take them to go:
I got chicken enchiladas instead.

As you progress through Texas and get to the area that is closer to New (and regular) Mexico, the landscape truly does get more eye-opening.

And desert-y.

We got to El Paso and (obviously) decided to stop in a bar. It was the most Mexican bar I've ever seen in my life. And we were delighted.

And then we got to our "campsite." I put this in quotes because within a sprawling desert mountain range, there were five campsites. There was no one remotely close to us, and the signs warned of rattlesnakes, coyotes and scorpions. Awesome.
Four pictures that'll make you say "Awww."

Samantha rifling through the First Aid Kit
Because I stabbed THROUGH the flesh in my finger. In one side and out the other.
Samantha thrilled that I was bandaged up (as the sun set behind her)
The bugs here were mammoth. Dead tarantulas littered the gravel pathway to our site and bugs the size of a silver dollar (is this arcane?) buzzed terrifyingly close to your face. Thus:

The gorgeous sunset..
The gorgeous sunrise..
At my best in the morning..
Ciudad Juarez..

Welcome to NM
Evidently they even decorate their oil drums in New Mexico

Wait, you can give me acne, tattoos AND hair? Awesome.

More NM landscape:

We pulled into the hostel, which was a fascinating place where the owner had you do chores each morning (simple, took less than 10 minutes, but something I'm unaccustomed to no less).

He is also obsessed with old cars it seems. When we were first checking in, someone was using a loud power tool on the property right next door. After exchanging pleasantries he said "I'd be better if it wasn't for that noise. Back in the old days, you could go outside and shoot the guy. But you guys are probably too young for that."

Inside the room, getting ready to go out:

Architecturally, Santa Fe is unique and astounding. The mudbrick buildings blend beautifully and appropriately with the desert landscape.
And seem very much like they don't belong in this country

The renowned downtown cathedral was marvelous

Santa Fe sunset
Beautiful flowers; more importantly, enormous bugs:

Don Gaspar gets paid his due throughout all of Santa Fe

But what I REALLY thought about Santa Fe is that it's a place where old, wealthy, white people go to find their spirit animal in the way of figurines and Native American-inspired clothing. These reactions dictate that:

And the next set of photos will illustrate exactly what consumer-obsessed-white-vacationers have created out of this otherwise gorgeous downtown..

"Within this absurdly-patterned frock, I am one with Native American spirit and have found my animal spirit guide."

And you can buy some moccasins, clearly.
Geekily walking around Santa Fe mocking the fat-rich-obnoxious white folks.

Samantha leaning all up on a pueblo and wondering why I make her pose in random places.
Outside a gallery on Canyon Road, the mecca for Anglo art in Santa Fe.
This guy was staring and waving to us as we were driving by. But then he stopped waving and just stared at us when we took the photo.
This guy was checking into the hostel the day we were checking out. Um, creepy.
And off we drive to Flagstaff, AZ to visit the Grand Canyon.. with some obligatory photos of me.