Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 8+9: Santa Fe

 New Mexico looks like no other place I had ever been. The desert extended beyond the limits of my vision. Pulling into Joey's cousin's driveway we could not have been more ready to get out of the car. Our first priority was to do something that required movement, my legs felt paralyzed in a seated position. We took an exploratory walk into downtown. We lapped through the plaza and snaked up and down streets lined with interesting shops and beautiful homes. Two hours later we were finally ready to sit back down. Santa Fe looked nothing like any city I've seen before, I had a hard time imagining it as a big city because all of the building were so low. Not a sky scraper to be seen, but the neighborhoods sprawled in every which direction.
 We stopped for dinner at La Choza, a neighborhood favorite of our hosts. My two years experience working at a Mexican restaurant taught me little more than how to refill a water glass so I am no expert on what is or is not authentic. However, both of our dishes were spicier than all get out. Like are-my-lips-swollen-because-they're-in-pain spicy. I had sauteed fish tacos and Joey had the enchiladas with carne adovada. "Adovada" is one of the more fun words that has crossed my tongue in a while. Go ahead, take it for a spin.
My tacos were great but I could hardly taste the fish because I was too busy being slapped in the face by the spiciness. Luckily our dinner was served with sopapillas, pieces of sweet, pillowy dough that you're supposed to eat drizzled with honey. The starchy neutrality of the bread was a pleasant respite from the heat of our entrees.
The next morning I took a jogging tour of Santa Fe. Altitude and a week of sitting on my bottom all day did not make this the easiest run of all time, but the it was nice to get out in the early morning. Our main event for the day was going to Canyon Road, the mecca of all things art in Santa Fe. The city is known for its galleries, artists, and pervasive artsy culture and we wanted to soak it in. The road is lined with dozens and dozens of galleries, each with unique showrooms, sculpture gardens, and styles. I'm not normally a person who can walk around staring at art on the wall for hours, (my attention span for museums is about 55 minutes,) but this was an entirely different experience. The art bubbled out of each shop, creeped onto the sidewalk and tempted us to enter.
 We spent hours wandering in and out of galleries. We met many friendly people willing to talk about the art, although we both felt too inexperienced to ask many questions, or we were just enjoying playing around with some of the funny pieces. After several hours the heat started to get to us, so we cooled our heels at The Tea House. This place was alll about tea and gave me way too many choices. Joey and I both ordered iced chais and were handed drinks with some serious spice. This was not your average Starbucks latte here people. The shop was this adorable little house that fit in perfectly with the Canyon Road vibe.
 The rest of our day was spent hanging with the cousins and enjoying an Indian dinner with a handful of his family. His cousin's eight year old daughter introduced me to the wonders of sag paneer, my multi-ethnic food education continues.  

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