After an acceptable night in a hotel with a great bed, a freezing, shallow pool and a horrible breakfast, we had a look at Albuquerque.
Do check out the video:
We started out heading north to Rio Rancho, which is a large suburb. We met some extremely friendly people just by getting out of the car and asking them why no one had lawns in the usual sense. They were happy to tell us that and to chat for a further 15-20 minutes. We learned that almost no one has lawns made of grass because water is extremely expensive. They told us that a family of four that don’t water any outdoor plants pays 120 USD a month in water bills. Even with that one downside, there appeared to be many upsides. It sounded like that was just a side effect of the dry heat and 300+ days of sunshine a year. The sky just looks enormous in New Mexico and the sun felt more intense. Since Oklahoma, the sun has felt stronger and more reflective, which is both good and bad. It has made driving trickier a few times because sometimes it will be blindingly bright. The dry humidity is a mixed blessing, in that it is lovely not to sweat even when it’s 90 degrees, but the locals did tell us that yes, lots of lotion is involved in the maintenance of your skin in this climate.
New Mexico also has mountains and Albuquerque has a lovely view of a few on one side, which must make pretty much every sunset just look amazing in a place that manages to have both wide open spaces and mountainous areas at the same time.
After Rio Rancho, we headed towards the Petroglyphs, which we didn’t actually end up doing, because we found something better. They had a temporary sun education display set up at the visitor’s center by the Albuquerque Astronomical Society. We got free sun viewing glasses and some of the most in depth explanations to pretty much any question that had ever occurred to us about the sun or space. We got to look at the sun up close through their telescope as well:
Like other New Mexicans we’d met, the solar scientists were lovely, open people who were happy to chat for ages. Granted, it was their job, but they did it brilliantly.
This event was on the edge of the city, most of which looks like this:
Albuquerque isn’t as high rise as some cities, so I don’t have those sort of pictures, but something I did like about the city itself was that they have a nice style of art that has been incorporated into various things that often look boring or ugly, like street signs and overpasses:
It was also just generally a clean, well set up city. We really liked it and if there is any work out there, it is one of the cities we will definitely consider. We were uncertain of how much tech work there might be though, as Intel was there, but about to close up shop after a 20 year agreement about not having to pay for water has just come to an end.
We carried on back into the wilderness, which only served to highlight how amazing the people of New Mexico are for having made it habitable. Even a bit out of the city and it becomes extremely barren:
I think we may have seen a tumble weed:
At any rate, New Mexico is absolutely lovely and one of our favorite states of the tour. Even if we don’t live there, I think we will definitely be back to visit the South West. It’s a fantastic region so far.