Saturday, July 07, 2007

Out of this World

Day two of our summer trip.

We started out by driving to El Paso, but you knew that. Some might have chosen to scratch their heads and wonder why on earth El Paso. I know half the people at the office did! But the answer is simple; Sonya was meeting up with a long lost seventeenth (or whatever the number is) cousin, someone who shares her obsession withpassion for long dead ancestors. We had a pretty good night as it happens; dinner and drinks at the casino. Fairly engrossing conversation. Engrossing enough that we completely missed the Fourth of July fireworks!

Thence along the Texas New Mexico border to The Carlsbad Caverns. Fascinating caves with an interesting 'natural' entrance. It might have been natural once but I can't help thinking that adding an asphalt path that twists back and forth as it descends detracts from its original state. On the other hand, there is no way I'd have descended 800 feet into the earth via ladder or rope!

My camera is a cheap one; it wouldn't have done justice to what we saw so I didn't try.

Thence to Roswell, New Mexico. Could we have picked a worse week to visit there? Yeah, if we waited forty more years, for it turns out that this week is the sixtieth anniversary of the 'Roswell Incident'. Not only was the joint crawling with various nut-cases but all the hotels and motels were full up. We got lucky! By sheer chance we happened on the one hotel that had a cancellation and, whats more, it was a smoking room! But no discounts this week, no sirree bob.

The place seemed to be crawling with TV crews. Well, perhaps I exaggerate, but there were no fewer than two crews conducting 'noddies' in the lobby of our motel, one that evening and one the next morning.

Hey, we had to visit the Roswell UFO Museum and Research Centre[^], occupying what was once the local movie theatre. I harboured, briefly, hopes that the interior might still have one or two period features but alas, it was not to be. They couldn't have more thoroughly stripped the insides bare had they used blow torches and a bulldozer!

We fronted up at the ticket counter. Five bucks a head and a gibbering idiot behind the counter blathering about aliens. I commented that I was no longer an alien but the joke went right over his head!

Once past the ticket counter we tried to be the open minded inquirer. Honest, we did! (Well, maybe not *that* hard). But it all got a bit too much for me when they started quoting Carl Sagan and Erich von Daniken in the same sentence. By the time we got to Close Encounters of the First, Second and Third kinds, followed by the prop dummies used in some movie or other about the Roswell Incident, well, I'd lost all ability to take em seriously! Possibly my loss.

We got out of there while the getting was good and went to Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you've never done that drive let me tell you, it's long, it's flat and it's boring. There are two or three dots marked, on the AAA map of New Mexico, along the route from Roswell to Santa Fe. We managed to see Mesa, the first dot, because we didn't blink. We must have both blinked at the same moment because we never did see Ramon, the second dot on the route!

As the oldest state capital in the United States Santa Fe is 'interesting' to drive around. It was certainly laid out way before traffic flow became a consideration. If you've ever driven through downtown Boston you know what I mean. Dozens of tiny twisty streets, all alike. And most of em one way. On the other hand, once we found parking that became a distinct advantage. I wouldn't want you to read my flippancy as a disparagement because I found central 'old' Santa Fe a very congenial place to walk in.

Of course we visited The Palace of the Governors[^]. Well worth a visit.

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