new mexico wants blood!
the desert landscape being a familiar, if not welcome sight, we traversed the second half of texas and entered new mexico's lower right hand side. although carlsbad cavern may have once been an sheer nightmare to explore for 98% of the population, we walked into the natural entrance (depicted above)on a lovely, cemented, wheelchair accessible sloping path. the cave lit up for us as the natural light expired. there were informative signs along the way of the caves history and animal life. the disneyland factor of this all was only augmented by the screaming of little children and the loud banter of adults, all echoing mightily inside this monstrous marvel. the ease of exploration and contact with natural forms of such beauty and wonder was a turn off at first, but as we learned the history of the cave and its valiant/foolhardy early explorers and saw a rickety rope ladder (left for posterity) descending into hundred plus feet of darkness, i was ever grateful for this modern era of tourist spelunking. the carlsbad cavern's forms of time and water were truly breathtaking and otherworldly, and we emerged thankful, blinking in the late afternoon sun.
this nights couchsurfer was a bit north, so we made our way to roswell. new mexico has a fairly unified aesthetic, we found. in its natural forms (obvisouly) but, more importantly, in its human response to those natural forms. from the housing of adobe, to the freeway overpasses (pictured above), this state seems to be ok with its identity and doesnt stray to far from it.
we met our host at an eating establishment (after giving in and indulging in our desire for burritos, we stopped and fed at what turned out to be.....a mistake. la fonda, not so fond 'a ya) where we met the other two couchsurfers staying with said host for that night. it so turns out that one of these young men skateboards, and wanted to ride locally. i accompanied. eventually, i found myself hitting chin on pavement and producing this lovely addition to my chin of scars:
blood down my shirt, on my hands, elsewhere most likely. this was just the beginning.
shortly after the chin explosion, in the parking lot of walgreens (butterfly bandages! hydrogen peroxide!), melissa let out a fierce yelp. a few days prior to this, desert driving, i see a bird fly very close to the bumper, seemingly getting run over. i saw no tiny tumbling creature out the sideviews, so i thought he got away. but there he was. headfirst into the grill. tails feathers blowing slightly, we couldnt see any way of dealing with it that night. amidst the extremely loud dubstep of our new english friend (one of the other surfers). sopping up the blood from my chin with a few different bandages, i decided to sleep with our hosts two remaining hello kitty bandages. they seemed to have extra capacity.
the next day,
then it was on to the infamous indian school ditch, in albuquerque. beginning high in the hills, this national treasure winds its way down, for about eight miles. five or so of those miles, this beaut provided flawless transition and slight incline to gain speed.
taking the plunge
at about mile five and a half, the walls get steep suddenly, and new mexico claimed a little more blood. melissa and said englishman graciously drove down the hill and met us in some non descript parking lot, from which we traversed to indulged in more culinary delights.
Currito (curry burrito thing)!
from albuquerque, melissa and i departed for our two nights stay in a monastary.
(scenes from the drive, about two hours north from abq, then thirteen miles down a dirt road. not too many pictures were taken from this time, seeing as it might cheapen it. due to this same fact, i will sign off here on this part of the trip).
(a view of melissa's lodging at said monastary)