Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Mexico

Driving into New Mexico is like every western movie that you've ever seen. At any moment, the cowboys are going to come over the nearest rise, galloping, the Sheriff's posse after an outlaw. Turn in another direction, and you know that really, it's Bonanza, and that you've wandered onto the Ponderosa, that Little Joe and Hos are coming, and that Pa is back at the ranch. It's even possible that Zorro may appear in the Hispanic areas.

After Arizona, the land flattens out and is less red. There are still the hills that appear to be sheared off and that rise out of the plains at strange angles, but more than anything this is plains country. Between Flagstaff and Albuquerque is the country of the plains Indians – the Navajo and the Apache. In and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe are the lands of the pueblo Indians. Where as the plains Indians moved across the country side, the pueblo Indians built more permanent structures and stayed more or less in the one place. (and boy do I hope I've got that right).

UFOs come to New Mexico. In the south west corner of the state is Roswell. Mulder and Scully from the X-Files hang out there. In the movie 'Independence Day' this is where they kept the aliens, and where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum had space dog-fights and shot 'em down. Roswell is a haven for UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists. In 1947, something was found at Roswell. Initially the US military released a statement saying that the wreckage of a spaceship had been found, then four hours later it released another statement stating that it was just the remains of a weather balloon. That was enough for conspiracy theorists and UFO freaks – ever since then Roswell has been synonymous with 'they aren't telling us everything and it's a big cover up' and 'there are really aliens here already'.

In addition, Los Alamos is in New Mexico. This where the Los Alamos National Laboratory is located - the home of the first atomic bomb in World War II.

So New Mexico has some interesting – even if some of it is kinda quirky - stuff.

Albuquerque is the junction of two major highways in New Mexico - Interstate 25 running north – south, and Interstate 40 running east – west. They meet and cross bang smack in Albuquerque, effectively dividing the city – and the state – into 4. The guidebooks tell us not to be out off by this – but honestly, it's difficult not to be. Everywhere we go, it seems that we're on a freeway.

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