The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

NM/AZ Vacation 2009: Albuquerque

Sarah and Rol at Adobe Nido in Albuquerque are the best innkeepers in America. Period, end of discussion. We absolutely love them, and it would never occur to us to visit New Mexico without spending at least one night at their B&B. So that’s where we landed after our day flopping around the Denver airport, and we began the next morning with their usual excellent breakfast and their usual excellent advice on where to go and what to do. We’re pretty good at crafting our own agenda, but we’ve also learned to listen to the experts. We always listen to Sarah and Rol.

So on this visit, we ended up first at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. It gave us a good, quick overview of the 19 pueblos in New Mexico, with a focus on the 9 northern pueblos. Next, we visited the National Hispanic Cultural Center, which was a bit more interesting simply because of the impending Day of the Dead celebration. The Center also had an exhibit of Cuban artists, which was fascinating both for the art and for the fact that this was only the second time since this country’s ban on travel to Cuba that Cuban art has been brought here. Anyway, I’ve long been fascinated by Day of the Dead observances, in which people honor the dead by creating small altars for them, with their pictures and emblems of things they loved. The Center had lots of altars made by school classes throughout Albuquerque. With young children, of course, you’ll get mostly grandparents and pets. Quite sadly, there were also soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The high schoolers were so typically adolescent it was kind of funny, though. One altar was full of artists and writers and actors — who ever thought Shakespeare, Salvador Dali, and Farrah Fawcett would be lumped together like that? And another high school altar was a display of t-shirt jersey, cut into rectangles, with causes of death written on them. It was very soulful, goth, and 16. But I love Day of the Dead. I love the tradition of honoring loved ones, and I love the imagery. In the spirit of the latter, I bought a Day of the Dead nightlight, shown below unlit and lit:

DSCN0134 DSCN0136

Cool, huh? We also picked up a couple of Day of the Dead wine bottle stoppers, which are basically crystal laughing skulls. Then we had lunch in the Center’s cafeteria and headed off to the Sandia mountains for a bit of walking. This was mostly a continuation of my camera testing, but we encountered a beautiful dog and saw some mountains and plants of note:

DSCN0105 DSCN0106 DSCN0121 DSCN0124 DSCN0114 DSCN0113

Later that night, we found ourselves at Zinc once again. This is a favorite restaurant, as is the more casual Flying Star Cafe. Given only one dinner in Albuquerque, though, we chose Zinc, and it was absolutely worth it. Next time, we hope to sit at the bar surrounding the kitchen area and watch the chefs do their magic.

Coming up: Jemez Pueblo, Taos, the Enchanted Circle, and dueling up-and-coming chefs!

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November 11, 2009 - Posted by | travel | , , , , , , , , , ,

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