Taking a right turn at Albuquerque

I like this town. It has a lot of heart.

It’s also the first town where I’ve really felt able to simply meander about. It may have something to do with the large University here, but the feel of the place is a lot more communal and concentric than many other areas I’ve been – and you can walk place to place! It also has a far less oppressive climate: it’s not nearly as humid as Louisana etc., where you tend to melt as soon as you step out the door, re-condensing only to melt once again. It’s a dry heat, and a comparatively balmy 87 farenheit, or about 30 celcius, which is sort of the same temperature you might find at the peak of an English summer, so not too bad. Though I was just out barefoot on concrete and came to realize somewhat quickly that there is a reason tarmac melts. Nearly burned my soles clean off.

Anyway, back to the town. Albuquerque is a relatively small city of half a million or so, squatting in a flat, scrubby sierra ringed with mountains and old volcanoes, about a mile above sea level. Rhysatti’s dad lives in a phenomenally large house atop a hill in a swanky area, and so I have been afforded some spectacular views, which sadly my camera simply could not do justice to. The house also didn’t have a computer readily available, so sorry for the break in regular updates. The day I arrived we just kicked back, and the next day I was shown around downtown by Rhysatti’s lovely girlfriend. It really was very nice – Albuquerque has a very much more familiar way of operating, in that there are chic little independent cafés dotted around, the downtown is more centralized and pedestrian, there’s more ‘shopping streets’, and people just seem a little less harangued in their day-to-day lives. There’s a large Latino demographic, and this important part of the culture is reflected in many ways. The style of the architecture is all squared corners, wooden beams and flat rooftops, built with earth-warm orange adobe. Almost all places have subtitles in Spanish, and Mexican food is popular in a big way – green chile and enchiladas at every bar.

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My friend is a cynical old soul, and had some less than enthusiastic words to say about the commercialisation of culture (as we walked through ‘old town’, a faux-preserved touristy area that nonetheless has some pretty buildings). I suppose it is true, and there was an awful lot of tacky stuff around in that area particularly. But the same thing occurred in New Orleans, and although some culture is easily ossified into hackneyed symbols that no longer represent the original, enough of the true culture perseveres – because after all, what defines culture if not what the people create? Albuquerque is a living, breathing town.

And yes, I like it here.

We’re off to see Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp at an outdoor gig now, which should be cool. More chances to do things I never thought I would.

8 Responses to “Taking a right turn at Albuquerque”


  1. 1 Renée 09/08/2009 at 5:03 pm

    I envy the concert. At least the Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp portion. Willie Nelson is a fabulous songwriter, but I hate his voice. haha.

    My grandmother’s cousin lives in Albuquerque, but I have never been. After meeting her and reading your description of the city, I understand why she lives there. It seems like a place she’d feel at home, and I’d love to visit. Your photographs are lovely, as usual.

  2. 2 TK-42-1 09/08/2009 at 6:06 pm

    I’m glad you’re getting to see some of the laid-backness of the southwest. It’s something that’s pretty hard to take in a few days at a time, but once you get there it’s pretty great.

    Renee: I feel that way about Dylan. I love his songwriting, but I cant stand listening to his voice for anything more than maybe a song. I get shit for it all the time, but thats how it is. Kira’s parents went to that show. It’s apparently some sort of minor league baseball tour or something.

    • 3 Renée 09/08/2009 at 6:21 pm

      I can understand that. It’s really interesting how much variety there is in personal likes and taste. Minor league baseball tour, as in they’re touring with a team? Or touring minor league stadiums? I find this intriguing….

  3. 4 TK-42-1 09/08/2009 at 6:28 pm

    It’s minor league ballparks. If you look at dylan’s tourpage it has a bunch of ballparks listed and mots of what I checked are minor league teams

  4. 5 Arminas 10/08/2009 at 7:31 am

    Man, I want to go to Albuquerque

  5. 6 Nawara 15/08/2009 at 10:42 pm

    Does Rhysatti’s girlfriend have a name?

  6. 7 flippyd 16/08/2009 at 12:09 am

    I try to respect the privacy of anyone outside of the PA forums, hence always referring to people as X’s gf or such.

  7. 8 Nawara 18/08/2009 at 6:02 pm

    Fair enough. She sounds pretty cool, though. Introduce me in secret? I’m going to steal her. ;]


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