Albuquerque Visit

I drove down to Albuquerque, New Mexico with my best friend from college, to move her into her new home. Here is life right now.

Florence and the machine pulsing throughout the room, drinking New Mexican coffee and shivering from the cockroaches burning up on the pavement outside.

Debolina is looking for a bed and I am looking for a life. But mostly I’m just taking an obscene amount of notes, and am becoming more and more into the world again.

This morning we woke up around nine, and had breakfast with her roommate and her roommate’s dad. They are from Rhode Island, and have fucking beautiful accents. “We went to this pa’ty…”

Talked to her dad about graduating college, the economy, the country, and international vibes toward Americans.

Her dad has probably mentioned the gays at least 20 times in the day we’ve known him— it’s a new concept for him I think and he is going all out being comfortable with it. ;) He’s really proud of Rhode Island for legalizing gay marriage recently.

“They are all flocking to the courts!”

Her roommate studied abroad in Austria last year. Met a friend abroad from Albuquerque, and he came over last night and shared some local hoppy IPA beer with us. :) Also had some nice Vermont wine that her roommate brought.

We went into a really cool shop this morning, and had a great conversations with the owner which really inspired me.

“Just go/ and find a place that you don’t know”

Being at Debolina’s place was great, ate a lot of her mother’s cooking, checked out downtown Wichita with Deb and Dan, and hit up a Bengali picnic with luchi and amazing dahl.

The roadtrip yesterday was not bad at all, Deb drove four and a half hours, and then I did. We only stopped twice.

Got here late last night and slept in her adorable adobe house with stucco walls, a screen door and “swamp AC.” Slept on an air mattress, and out to find a bed right now.

The mountains are beautiful, the red dirt and green shrubs. And I have always loved desert people. Now I have a best friend that is one. ;)

Tonight we are going out to eat at a local New Mexican restaurant with her roommate, her friend and his family. Then we might go out. :)

Miss you, Nikki! :)

x

Went to dinner at a fancy commune the other night. Out in the country, live Mexican music and stretching across huge expanses of land.

The majority of the restaurant was outside, with criss-crossed rafter ceiling. We ate green chili salsa and guacamole, and green chili enchiladas and chili rellano with rice and beans. Courtney’s friend Chris took us out with his family, and they paid for everything. Pitchers of margaritas and all. They were such sweet people, so generous and so friendly. And very funny. His dad couldn’t stop talking about what a feminist he was and his mom was getting sassy with the margaritas. ;)

The social interactions were very interesting– there were 8 of us total, and we all knew each other by different degrees.

Chris’ friend Elise invited us to a concert in Santa Fe tonight– her friend’s indie band is opening for a big name band apparently.

The next morning we woke up and headed out to the mountains. Debolina bought tram ride tickets for us, and we took a fifteen minute magnetic hell ride up the beautiful mountain. Actually, it wasn’t so bad going up. I was busy taking pictures, but I still never broke my gaze with the tour guide, checking her blood pressure every thirty seconds to make sure all was peachy.

Got to the top- very cold! Lots of ski slopes, going to come visit this winter hopefully with Dan and Nikki and go skiing with Deb.

We went hiking up the mountain- about an hour or two. Very pretty, smell of pine needles and thunk of woodpeckers and the buzzing of bugs.

I ended up falling and scraping my knee up pretty bad. I was trying to write in my notebook while going over a rough terrain. Debolina had the good idea to smear blood all over the inside of my notebook, so of course that i what I did.

Stopped and got nachos after the hike at the restaurant by the lift, and then jumped on the next car down.

“It’s really windy” comments Deb as we start out descent.

Halfway down the mountain, hovering over the highest part of the canyon, the car stops mid-air.

We all look at the guide, and he looks at us. The phone rings, and he picks it up.

“Uh huh. Yeah. Uh huh. Okay.”

“WHAAAAAATTTT??”

“The wind is blowing too hard. We have to go back up the mountain.”

I start shaking. I’m frantically looking around, realizing that there is absolutely nothing I can do. Deb is wearing sunglasses and gazing out across the horizon like a seasoned world traveler.

We have the LONGEST ride back up the mountain. I am very conscious of every breath of wind. Finally we step off onto the top again. I don’t think I can go back down. It is freezing cold, so we head back to the restaurant and grab a beer. All of the bartenders are talking about how surprised they are that that happened, how it was a freak gust of wind. How they have no idea how long it will be before we will be able to go back down.

Cry a little bit. Finish the beer. Let the bartenders reassure us of just how unsafe the lift is, then we head back down. We hear a voice on the sound system saying the lift is ready to go again, and any questions talk to Davis. So of course I make a beeline to Davis.

Davis reassures me in the same nonchalant bad ass tattooed manner as all of the bartenders, then before I know it we are back hovering in the air. I hold Debolina’s hand the whole way, and insist that she keep talking to me as I proceed to sweat all over her. She is cracking up and I am crying. We are quite the couple.

As soon as we get to the bottom I give her a BIG kiss, and realize that she is absolutely, 100% my travel buddy for life.

x

We get back and have dinner with Courtney and Chris– really good pasta. Tomato and garlic pesto. Drank two bottles of wine and told crazy stories. Then fell asleep immediately after.

This morning the three of us went to Starbucks, where I am currently using their slow, but working internet. We are about to meet Rohin for drinks (I am basically crashing their first date) and then we are going to head to a house party tonight

Last night we went out. Popped over to the questionable 7 11 around 8, drank a few bottles of wine and a case of Grolsch together, then headed out on a thirty minute walk to a house party/ concert.

We walk into the backyard, there is a circle of girls with shaved heads and men with beards in a circle on the trampoline chanting and singing and holding hands.

The backyard is lit up with tiki torches and there are hipters and hippies everywhere. I had stumbled upon my jackpot.

We went inside the packed house, the smell of weed and body odor bringing back good memories of the beginning of the year at Sunflower house. I felt instantly at home.

Listened to the concert, all the hippies bobbing their heads and talking about how they were “just passing through.” How do you find jackpots like that when you are just passing through? I must learn this.

Courtney met up with her friend Ryan from Austria, he was very nice. Familiar personality. Deb and I went and sat down by ourselves, and this guy came up and started talking with us. He was really nice as well, French and Spanish descent. Asked him about all of his tattoos. He’s going to school for theology at UNM and he’s an atheist. Has a tattoo “faith” on his wrist. Faith in self, he said. I liked it. His sister came over, and got him to do card tricks for us.

Courtney and Chris met up with us a little bit later and we decided to head out, as the concert was over. Went to the bathroom, “Buried at birth” written across from the toilet.

Stopped at Smith’s (their Dillons) and bought a few more bottles of wine, then headed home. I talked to Nikki on the phone, then fell asleep.

Good night. :)

This morning I took Courtney and Deb to their orientation, and cruised around the city a bit. Really easy to learn your way around here. :)

At Satellite cafe again this afternoon with Debbo. Cried a bit over her. Cried a bit over other things. Now I’m focusing on starting my new life. We both are. :)

xxxxx

Yesterday Deb also went out on her “tour of the city” with Rohin. Courtney and I decided we would let her go by herself, so that the magic could happen if it needed to.

FIVE HOURS LATER Courtney and I are freaking out like new mothers.

“Where is she??”

“I didn’t like the sound of that man…”

“Should we call the police?!”

Of course, Debolina is fine and comes home around 8 completely in control of the situation, and smiling from the 3 or 4 drinks her anesthesiologist date had bought her.

“He just wants to make lots of money. He wants a traditional marriage. He is too traditional. He wants his wife to stay at home. I told him I thought she should be able to have a career. I told him I was a feminist. I AM A FEMINIST!”

“We didn’t agree on much. But he will be fun to go out with.”

“We’re ALL feminists, though. We talk about this all of the time. We don’t deal with that shit. I let him know.”

Dinner and drinks tonight, then Santa Fe tomorrow.

So dinner and drinks Friday night: pretty low key. Chris picked us up and we hung out with him and a few of his guy friends. Except they were not really talkative, and we were separated by sex at the table, so Deb Courtney and I just ended up drinking a lot of margaritas. And Deb got hit on my the waitress. ;)

The next morning, my last day there, we got up to head for Santa Fe around 11. Santa Fe is an hour away, and we did not get there until  5 pm. This is what we did.

Started out around 1. Had to go to the post office, so started out around 2. Had to get cash for Santa Fe so stopped at a CVS. Realized we were FAMISHED at the CVS, so drove around downtown Albuquerque looking for fast food. None. About 20 minutes later we have found ourselves in a parking garage at the plaza, and are about to go out to eat at a sit down restaurant. Around 3:30 we land ourselves in a cheesy Italian restaurant and chow down on wonderful food and beer. We talk about India and feminism. We forget all about Santa Fe.

Around 4 we get our checks, and we are headed out.

We get to Santa Fe at 5, and are ready to go home by 5:30.

The Indian Market that was going on that weekend, with dancing and traditional food and all, closes at almost right after we get there.

I have never seen so many Native American people together celebrating their culture though, it was very cool and eye opening.

Wandered around for a bit more, not wanting to immediately go to a bar, but bar we did. Of course.

It was actually more of a restaurant. We got nachos and had some of the best (and strongest) margaritas I have ever had. We had quite a few, and when we were leaving, I felt like I was in an old Western.

Deb did not drink more than one, though, as she was driving. :)

Get home that night, take a shower, drink plum wine in a circle playing never have I ever and listening to Lil Wayne. Around 10 we head downtown to meet up with Chris and a table of his friends. They are all pretty nice. Chris tells me to ask for the honeybear at the bar. It’s half honey wheat and half stout. It’s not on the menu. It’s good. I felt like such a local. ;)

So, this is Saturday night, the night before my flight. We end up staying at this crazy fun bar, the Tractor or something, all night. Endless beer and meeting stray travelers around our table from around the south.

End up at Dominos at 2, and buy an EIGHTEEN DOLLAR pizza. But god, it was so good. We pulled out a thing of ranch and went crazy.

Said goodbye to everyone at 2, then fell asleep for the two hours before I left for the airport at 4.

Airport.

Sulking in my sweatpants and tank top. Legs splayed out across my luggage.

First flight.

Second flight.

Lots of people. Lots of possible interactions.

Wichita, KS.

Deb’s ma and her friend pick me up. We go back to Deb’s parent’s house, and they have made this wonderful vegetarian meal for me. :)

I tell them about Albuquerque as much as my sleepy brain can manage, and we eat and eat and eat. Mrs. Ghosh has fixed my absolute favorite dish, it is just green beans with yellow poppy seeds.

“A certified narcotic!” Mr. Ghosh keeps joking.

But seriously, there is a lot of poppy seeds in this dish. Gives me weird dreams every time I eat it.

I LOVE IT.

x

Her family is so sweet, Baba Ghosh told me “God bless you”  before I left, and her mother invited me to come to their Puja in October. I will be there, and I will make Indian food for them, I said. They can judge. :)

The drive home was a bit rough. Had to stop once to walk around in a field. And called ma and talked to her. :)

Pulled into Lawrence, took a shower. Went out with Nikki and his brother and his mom to Freestate then we got icecream at Silas and Maddies.

40 hours of training this week at the local domestic violence shelter with lectures, and then we start on the job training.

Training going really well! Confidentiality going to be a big thing, probably not going to be able to write about the job much. But it will be an experience for sure.

All of the women who work there are super empowering and a little bit radical. All ages. Really good environment. ;)

Glad to be busy.

The volunteer coordinator asked me if I want to do an internship there! Probably will not pay, but will be great experience and give me confidence in the kind of work I would love to make a career out of. :)

And so many of the people who work there now started as volunteers. A very progressive agency.

So when I went to ABQ this summer, Deb and I took the tram ride up 3,819 feet to the top of the Sandia mountains. It is the third longest tram ride in the world, and you are traveling in a tin box attached to a cable way too many feet above a canyon of brutally rocky terrain. I kept my cool going up- and we had a nice day of hiking atop the mountain. Except, while writing in a notebook AND checking out a stunningly fit dude hiking past us, I tripped, fell, scraped my knees and started gushing blood like a ten year old on the playground. We used our fliers from Sandia Peak to wipe the blood off my knees the best we could, then carried on like hilarious bad asses with notebooks, bloody knees and charm.
When we went to go back down, the lift stopped midway, over the highest part of the canyon. We are swinging back and forth in the air- the wind has gotten really bad. Everyone starts shuffling around and getting nervous, then the phone rings inside our tin box. The park ranger answers it, is like, okay, i see, uh huh, alright. And all fifty of us are staring at him in silence and I am frantically searching for something to grab onto in midair. Then he’s like, we’re going back up. The wind is too strong to get back down safely.
Needless to say I freaked the fuck out.
Thankfully got back up the top of the mountain with the wind blowing against us and I kissed the ground at the top. It was freezing cold and getting dark, so we ran to the pub on the top of the mountain. I tried to call all my family and friends to tell them I loved them, because I was sure I would not make it back down. But there wasn’t any reception, of course. I proceeded to get very drunk on altitude and beer while Debolina sipped a martini like a classy lady. Thank god for alcohol though, or else I don’t think I would have ever left that mountain top, as the tiny tin box was the only way to get back down. Eventually the wind died down a bit and they started the tram up again. We made it down, but only after lots of blood, sweat and tears. Of which I got all over my beautiful, wonderful, calm, lovely and courageous friend Debolina.
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