Well I stayed longer than I thought I would (but I’m not complaining), but now it’s time to move on. My ABQ chapter is officially in the books.

Whenever I go somewhere new, I always end up taking lots of pictures, noticing tons of things and writing a ton… I’ve been stepping aside, pulling over and writing a lot of notes about everything I’ve been thinking these last weeks. (I have a feeling another blog bug is incubating.)

Here’s a few of the things I’ve been writing about that I was able to find on scrapes of paper in my pockets.

-East side… somehow I’ve moved over a thousand miles and I’ve managed to move from the foothills on the East Side San Jose to the foothills in the east side of ABQ. Somethings never change.

-Room with a view… I have a balcony (too bad I don’t smoke) that looks out on the back of a tree.

-Creepy-crawlies… so there are scorpions here… like in the house… I just caught one today (a few weeks ago) in my roommates room… damn it! Okay, I’m fine with cockroaches, ants, flies and mosquitoes, but damn it, stuff that has poison or can kill me, I’m not so sure I want to play. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also giant (freakin’ huge!) spiders, these other spiders that burrow into your skin and lay eggs, which hatch and eat you from the inside, and snakes. I hate snakes, they’re a stick with a mouth, that’s all, they’re designed to only do one thing– bite stuff.

(post pic of the logo on the man hole cover)

-It seems people here really really love their state flag. I’ve seen the logo everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I was at Walgreen’s and saw it on a packet of dental floss!

-Did I miss a memo… There are Hooters everywhere… I don’t get it, why are there so many, I’ve already seen two and it’s only been a week and I haven’t even gone everywhere yet. Before this I’ve seen maybe one my entire life. I wonder if ABQ is a hot bed for hot wings. It must be. There’s also a lot of car washes, you’d think it’s the national pastime. And speaking of cars, there are so many versions of the license plates as well, I have no idea how many, but it’s a lot.


-Where’s the ocean… there are a lot, I mean a lot, of sushi restaurants in ABQ. I have no idea why, but I’d be a little leery of eating sushi in a place that’s land locked in early direction for at least 10 hours. I like sushi and all, but I really don’t think I’ll be having any while I’m here. Also what’s the deal with naming things The Ocean or Beachfront? Why are you taunting me ABQ?! I already miss the ocean, I’ve checked how far it is to the gulf of Mexico, about 10 hours… that’s the same as going to LA… maybe…

-Speaking of funny names, there are some strange street names around here. There’s a whole section named after states, other parts have streets that stop and start again a few blocks later (there’s a chunk of buildings in between… like Brokaw back in San Jose), there are streets that cross themselves (I had to do a double take) and around the University of New Mexico there are streets named Harvard, Yale, Stanford… It’s like the city has decided to openly taunt UNM students about the schools they couldn’t get into.

– A familiar face… this is actually pretty sad, but when I was walking around the University of New Mexico on my second day off, I saw a Pita Pit and actually was a little excited to see something from back home.

-I’m not to excited about the ethonal in my gas in New Mexico. I’m pretty sure it’s hurt my fuel economy, but more than that, I just think the corn lobby in this country is out of control.

-Smile… there are cameras everywhere, as in at every intersections which monitor both red light runners and speeders. Hey, it’s almost like being back in Milpitas.

-Just not as blue without you… We don’t have the same shade of blue skies up here as we have back there in San Jose. The light is very different up here. The sunsets are a more golden red, the skies are brighter, and high noon is pretty much all day.

Photographing up here is interesting, during the day the light is harsh, very harsh. It’s like constantly being in Alex Webb mode. The contrast you get is off the charts, we just doesn’t get such vibrant color and rich deep blacks like this in San Jose. Then during magic hour, the light is so brilliant you just want to pull over and watch the world around you. You can’t ask for a more perfect light, I wish I could show you, but somethings just can’t be captured in photographs. I think I get why people travel now.

-Lightening… on Thursday (during my first week) I was sent out to cover a high school football game and on the way I saw some lightening during the day. I’ve never seen lighting during daylight hours. My first thought, “wow, that was awesome!” Then it delayed the football game three hours and while I was waiting in the rain, large balls of hail struck me in the back of the head… it actually kind of hurt…

-Insane in the mem-rain (you do better!)… It’s monsoon season and it’s rained everyday I’ve been here (it’s gotten drier in the last week), sometimes for as little as ten minutes, other times all night. Oh and the size of the raindrops is insane. They actually hurt a little when they hit you, it’s like the clouds watched the rain fight from the Matrix sequel and took it as a challenge.

-Thar she blows, or, Blown away… ABQ is in the high desert and that means windy conditions. Just now I was driving home and it was like a tornado outside. I’m not exaggerating, rain was horizontal and there were tree leaves and dust and I think I saw a cow (she was hitchhiking to Wisconsin… and would not shut up about it!). It was something I’ve never experienced before, but watching the trees sway to such violent extremes was a beautiful feast for the eyes.

-“Speed hump”… That’s what they call speed bumps here… my roommate’s friend has lived here nearly ten years and he still giggles every time he sees the signs.

– Smelly cars… The car I’ve been driving smells like ribs. And you might think that ribs are a tasty item so it can’t be that bad, well sir you are an optimist. Don’t ever change, you’ll need that when you’re older.

-Blow up your own piece of the American pie… I was sent out to a town over the east hills, about 30 miles outside of Albuquerque, to cover a soccer game and on the way I kept seeing signs advertising wholesale fireworks, and it’s open year round! Sweet, come visit, we’ll b!0w $#!t up, all year round!

– Another mini-rant… Here’s a long held pet peeve, radio stations should not be allowed to broadcast anything with a police siren in it. It was barely tolerable when it started showing up in radio edits of hip-hop and rap music, at least there I was able to anticipate it. But yesterday I experienced the siren sound in an advertisement for car parts, I can’t remember what the connection was but every time the faintly audible sound kicked in I started checking my mirrors. Seriously, isn’t that like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater? Cut it out lazy radio guys.

-Amish-Nerdy-Weasel-Stomping-Day… Weird Al is on tour? What? That’s what the radio said. I had no idea you could tour on other peoples music… then again the man did write the best version of “Trapped in the closet” at least a year after everyone else gave it a shot.

-Speaking of the radio… ABQ radio sucks! I’ve never felt the need for an iPod until now. Well at least the company car has an MP3 player, time to go buy some CDs for burning.

-And if you’re wondering Ryan, I haven’t tried the red chile or the green chile… I know, I’m a bad friend.