New Mexico is known as the “Land of Enchantment.” And for those who have traveled the dusted streets, danced to the Spanish guitars, and consumed the famous green chile, charmed doesn’t really seem to cut it. I had the distinct pleasure of showcasing my new home to my Mum and Auntie this past weekend. The real test of your adventures is taking others along with you. If you will all open your test booklets to page one…
The first night they were here, I took them to my favorite New Mexican cuisine in town, Santiagos, located conveniently in the nook and cranny of the Sandia mountains. It was there they tried salsa that makes my eyes water, food that makes me smile, and the view that takes my breath away. Over margaritas and laughter, we watched the clouds roll in an ominous monsoon storm and wind just begging to dance with everything in sight. Nothing like rollin’ out the welcome wagon like a lightning storm with tequila, right?
As soon as Friday morning came, the real adventure was to begin; we packed our bags and set our sights on higher than before: Santa Fe. The hour drive was crooned by folk music and the warm sun walked hand-in-hand with us. Santa Fe reminds me of a quaint European town– if that town were somehow ported into the Southwest with turquoise, silver, pueblo homes, and red chile hanging from every portico. The Native American Market was in town and the city was abuzz with excitement. There I watched the eyes of my loves widen in excitement as the strands of Indian turquoise hung from strands in every avenue; I watched their smiles as the musicians lining the street played the Spanish guitar or flute. I watched them try on the craftsmanship of history and love from Native Americans with their long black and silver hair braided down their backs swaying in excitement while they showed my Mom and Aunt their family’s work. The Cathedrals, Chapels, and Missions welcomed our eager gazes and reverence. Even taking a break in a small gelataria with vespas parked outside, romance was found on every slightly-undersized street. We swooned.
The Santa Fe Opera is world-renown for good reason; the venue itself is a work of art as it is half-outdoors and perfectly suited for the New Mexican sunsets with the Sangria del Cristo Mountains. The Strauss opera completely consumed all three of us in its genius, beauty, and surprisingly enough, how insanely hilarious it was! The sky faded from a cornflower blue to a brilliant royal, followed closely by a cobalt with deep purple strokes. God must have let van Gogh paint the sky that night. It was almost one in the morning by the time we arrived home and fell into joyous exhaustion.
Saturday contained a mountain-top experience– as I took them on the famous Sandia Peak Tram, the world’s longest tram up our mountain range in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once at the top, we found it only natural to make our way back down but the most conspicuously way possible: a thin cushion on three bars of wood with nothing but the air under your feet. It isn’t everyday you take a ski-lift in the summer, but I think it is just as rewarding. Being that it was a traditional ski-lift and there were three of us, I spent the time on the lift watching nature instead as they rode together ahead. There was the man hiking up the mountain, picking up every rock along the way to examine its loftiness. His knee high socks and goofy grin could not stop my burgeoning giddiness. The fathers taking their children along the mountain for an educational treat instantly put me back at my childhood with my parents opening the doors of my own imagination via experiments and adventures. The Sol, baking my milky white skin brought me to reality along with the fact I was in heels and had to jump off of a ski lift while it was moving. Crap. Should have thought that one through a little more.
Thrill-seekers lined the outside of the ski-lodge which surprisingly had the sweetest aroma surrounding it. After we scuttled past the mountain bikers and into the cafeteria setting did we see a wee older gentleman hand-crafting and forming the scents that drew us in. The thick French accent oozed like the rhubarb compote and his love of food was music; he performed each note and melody perfectly. Fresh food was placed before us and eagerly we dipped and sipped everything with green chile. With full bellies and happy hearts, we jumped back on the ski lift for the fresh air and 70 degree breeze. Up we went, out of cell-phone rang and where the quiet, stillness is found. The breeze whistled against the tall pines, the beetles hummed together in the ravines, and the very smell of outdoors instantly put away every thought from the mind. Peace. Nameste.
That evening was complete with a quick journey to Old Town and to a family dinner with my best friend. It wasn’t long, however, before we found ourselves in the hot tub watching Orion’s belt twinkle over our heads while the bubbles massaged our tired soles. The bubbles continued well into the morning with their first taste of a mimosa and my famous Sunday New Mexican omelet (normal omelet aside from the gigantic heaps of green chile). With one hike left through the desert fields to look for treasures (rocks, thistles, driftwood, cacti, etc), it was a bittersweet drive over the Rio Grande to the airport. Bitter to be saying farewell to two remarkable women but sweet to have such memories on such sacred land. With fresh dust on their soles and fresh love in their souls, they hitched a ride to where they call home, far away from this enchanting place.
I hope my mom and aunt were sufficiently enchanted by the lovely New Mexico. I hope when they see the Indian turquoise in their jewelry boxes or even the green chile in their fridge, they find the warm smile of the Sol sketched in their memory and if they listen close enough, maybe they too will hear the Spanish guitars softly leading their steps back to the Enchanting land beckoning their return.