Tourist in her own Town

Another Weekend in Review

I could literally see my friend from Chicago's airplane landing as I made my way into the Sunport. Just as I was parking I got a text from her: "There's mountains here?!"

This was Kim's first visit to the Southwest from our shared motherland of Midwestern forests, lakes and dying automobile manufacturers. Her expectations included saguaros, dry, flat expanses and lots of rattlesnakes. While we do have two out of three of those things, it was a cheerful task to show her Albuquerque.

There are a few things that I very rarely do unless someone is visiting me from out of town--like, for example, go to Old Town. Alas, on Saturday, after a meal at El Patio, we made our way west and parked off the plaza. There was music, there was a salsa festival, there was turquoise, there were cowboy hats. We wandered in and out of shops, visited the tourism office and browsed books on birds of the western US at Treasure House Books, all while I fielded questions about the terrain, food, weather, and animals of the high desert.

The following day we made our way even further west to Petroglyphs National Monument, another place that I don't often enough return to. We walked Rinconada Canyon around 1pm--a real rookie move, but there was a breeze to make it bearable. These were the vistas I think Kim was expecting from the desert, but the natural history and cultural heritage came as a surprise. She gasped as every lizard crossed the dusty trail, wowed at the millipedes scuttling in the grass, was weary of snakes. Later, along the bosque, she was surprised that the same place could be so green.

It is refreshing to see my adopted home through the eyes of someone who has never been here, who, in fact, had no idea what to expect. As I saw Kim's enthusiasm for adobe houses, lizards, and sopaipillas I was newly enthralled with the landscapes that resonated with me so strongly when I first made my way here all those years ago.