Saturday, June 4, 2011

I love Albuquerque.

I really, really do. It was like driving into Rancho Cucamonga. There was a Panda Express and a P.F. Chang's off the I-40, and the Southwestern-motif-ed overpasses looked like they'd just been built in the past few years. So, heck yeah, I could live in Albuquerque for two months. I could live in Albuquerque for a long, long time, I think.

I watched the transformation of the changing landscape go from green to yellow to brown and to red and then there was Jemez Pueblo. After picking up groceries for the forty minute drive into the pueblo, I headed up, up up in altitude -- Jemez Pueblo sits at over a mile high in elevation. When I got in, it was dark, and a fire in Arizona had flooded the Rio Grande Valley with smoke. I could hardly see to the left or the right of me. The house sits at the top of a steep hill, and I could make out very little of the road. I was exhausted and fell dead asleep.

Waking up the next morning, I felt just like Frodo waking up in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring -- you know, after he totally just got his ass kicked by the Nazg├╗l and he miraculously wakes up in Rivendell. I'd gotten my ass kicked by the road trip, but I woke up healed and in beautiful, heavenly surroundings.

(okay. maybe not just like frodo. i'll post pictures of the house later.)

My first Friday in was my day to relax and to check out the area. I journeyed out with the other project members to Jemez Springs to check out the area. First was Giusewa, the Jemez State Monument.

Oscar Wilbur Hammer (a.k.a. "archaeology puppy"), who is a Boston terrier and comprises 1/2 of the Jemez Pueblo Student House Zoo (Sonny the Sun Conure being the second half), did well for being out in the sun (as could be expected of a puppy); although, truth be told, at the end of the short walk through the monument, he had to be airlifted out (i.e., carried out) by his momma.

archy pup fail
Next was Soda Dam. Oscar did much better and proved himself to be quite the brave rock climber.

We went to Battleship Rock next. Yup. Looked like a battleship ... if you used a healthy helping of imagination. Little did we know that it held warm springs on a mile-long hike in, and there was even a waterfall at the end of two miles. Well, we'll save that for another day.


My advisor came by and took us out for dinner out in the big city of Jemez Springs. The Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon was bustling and it had lots more character than I thought it would have. I wasn't thrilled with their eponymous house special, but I like to remain optimistic. I'm sure there's something else on the menu that will rock my socks, 'cause NM is the land of enchantment. I wouldn't want to accuse them of false advertising.