Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Guide, he is.... Lead us, he will...

The road to Santa Fe, and I mean that figuratively as well as literally, was paved with spectacular mountains and high plains and wonderful people. We had the best (commercial) food since Philly at, you will not believe this, the Volvo dealership's upstairs cafe, Corley's, on the north side of Albuquerque. So! All you Volvo dealers out there! Here's what I got for less than 60 bucks, on a Saturday, on two hours notice: Oil change, car washed thoroughly, tires rotated, complete overall check of car, including computer readout, all the usual fluid topoffs, and extensive travel info from Chris in service. Big shoutout to Tony and Levi, the two black clad chefs who run the Volvo dealership cafe (??!!) and also have a restaurant in Abq called Quinn's Bistro. T had a to-die- for quesadilla and i had yummy green chile stew. I'd been tryin to find a decent bowl of soup for two weeks. Happy happy joy joy.

We are headed to the Grand Canyon in a coupla days as sun promises to shine by then. Here in Santa Fe, which may be the hippest place in the US, I know, I know, but you can't deny the blissful artistry that just rages everywhere here, and in a most amiable way. People here, as I told T, seem simply happy to be alive. T cannot believe how friendly and open folks are. Strellsa, our native born guide here at the Pueblo Bonito Inn, is a riveting storyteller, cluing us in on all the best places to eat, see, visit. The Inn is 130 years old, adobe and tile everywhere, kiva fireplace in our room too cozy for words; a welcome respite at the end of a long, exhausting drive. The Blue Corn Brewery is a gem of a place, with the best Margarita I've ever had (the secret I think: Grand Marnier instead of the usual Triple SEc) and a roasted corn and chipotle soup that was a meal in itself. A later salad and dessert at the Pink Adobe (?) was pricey but ok, but the folks that work there are terrific and very helpful. Nice conversations with Ladonna about life possibilities and a very friendly young couple from Gloucester, MA as well. The bar there, the Dragon or something, is, so I"m told, legendary. For what I ahve no idea. Later for that.

Today what would pass for a spring snow shower in Maine welcomed us at breakfast. Just a nice gentle flakiness, the kind that lands on your eyelashes and makes you feel like a newborn a little. We are very content here. Have decided to stay for another couple days just to feel a little settled and wait for the cloudy, snowiness to pass before moving on. We have already made friends in NM and T is thinking about moving here. Can't say as I blame her. Such a welcoming sense of place (and to my mind that goes for the entire state) is rare in the US these days, what with everyone so depressed. I have felt the same friendly openness in Europe as well. In fact, I would say that (not having been to New Orleans) Santa Fe is the most Euro feeling place I've been in the US. DC used to feel that way to me, what with the L'Enfant design, classical architecture, but it's hard to be there and not want to storm the barricades nowadays. Speaking of euro, I had breakfast this morning at the Inn with a lovely woman name of Nadia from Switzerland who was passing through on her way to Phoenix, then flying home. It was a real treat to have a french speaking breakfast for an hour, talking about teaching, Rome, Italy, coastal France, food! She was a soul sister for sure. Been awhile as I miss watching my TV5monde in Maine, which was about all that made me feel connected to the human race for the last couple years, but it's like ridin a bike, comes back fast once you get your throat going right.

Out to explore the town on foot today. The Inn is only gentle blocks from everything, so we walk, we eat, we marvel at the amazing artistry everywhere. Of course you just want to buy everything, but don't. Watercolors to die for, beautiful, outgoing people, warmth amidst the cold. Just can't rave enough.