Let’s Hit The Road


The time for goodbyes as classes were over and I had a few more weeks until I would hop back over the pond.

Many a red cup had been drunk from, many a crazy party had been had (with many a stumble back home along Route 66 from Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Downtown Albuquerque). I’d said goodbyes and now it was time to hit the road and soak up as much New Mexico sun as possible before heading back to the Wet Country (England).

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Navajo Frybread

This is just a generic recipe I found in my Native American Harvest and Food book I bought in a thrift store in ABQ.

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From the Diné

Kelly is my course buddy, this awesome, bubbly Navajo girl in Native Language and Community class held by lecturer Christine Simms, a member of the Acoma tribe and resident of Acoma Pueblo (Sky City).

She told me of a smaller, less commercial pow wow (compared tot he Gathering of Nations) – Nizhoni Days at UNM, right on the field outside my apartment.

Eagle feathers are held in extremely high regard in Native American culture
Eagle feathers are held in extremely high regard in Native American culture

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Red, Green or Christmas?

If you’ve got a delicate palette, or stomach…or both, then this festival is not for you! Pretty much all the BBQ sauces and salsa have some degree of heat. For those of you who are after an unusual stamina (or stupidity) challenge, then get yourselves down to the New Mexico Fiery Food and BBQ Festival and try some of the hottest chilies on earth!

New Mexico Fiery Foods Festival
What’s your (fiery) poison?

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The Wonders of Chaco Canyon

Having studied about this remarkable place in my Native Philosophy class at UNM I couldn’t wait to get out and see it for real. How it sounded on paper and in the documentary ‘The Mystery of Chaco Canyon’ narrated by Robert Redford was pretty magical, but nothing could prepare me for actually seeing it first hand.

The road out to Chaco Canyon gets pretty rough once you enter the Navajo Nation
The road out to Chaco Canyon gets pretty rough once you enter the Navajo Nation

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Hallowe’en, or Dia de Los Muertos?

Having seen how these crazy Americans do their own Guy-Fawkes-esque celebrations at Zozobra festival (even tho, obviously, it’s nothing to do with Guy Fawkes) it was now time to see how to throw the ultimate Hallowe’en party, American-stylie.

This is how they do it in 505 - Jimi Hendrix and fairies!
This is how they do it in 505 – Jimi Hendrix and fairies!

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Shooting Brown Bottles in the Desert

The shooting bug had really hit me (pardon the pun) and despite other various entertaining activities, including attending the International Balloon Fiesta, I wanted to go shoot stuff, again.

Off to the whitest desert we went, to camp, eat cactus and shoot at brown bottles and old tin cans! The group consisted of a bunch of Americans, one crazy Brit (me), a couple of guns and some tents. Great fun was had, despite the mosquitoes.

Sand or snow?
Sand or snow?

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How Hi?

Clear blue skies, rugged landscape, stunning sunsets and sunrises…what more could you wish for? BALLOONS!!! Obviously, and lots of them!

Lots of Balloons
Lots of Balloons

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Gun-Wielding Maniacs

Everyone the world over knows how much Americans love their guns! From Western movies, to police and sherifs, even your average Joe, you’re never really far away from a gun. Even driving down the highway you’ll realise gun shops and shooting ranges are plentiful.

So it was only normal that one weekend in early October that I would trek out with my American comrades to shoot bits of metal at paper and balsa wood cut out shapes at Calibers Shooting Range, on Cutler Avenue ABQ.

Lara Croft you say?
Lara Croft you say?

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Old Man Gloom, the Fire Spirit of Santa Fe

New Mexico really is a one-of-a-kind state. There aren’t any other states where you get quite such a potent mix of Mexican, Native American, Afro American and Old World American culture, all in the same state. Zozobra is one of those fine examples of historical and cultural superstition mixed in with modern American sub-culture. Think Burning Man, just on a much smaller scale.

Zozobra and the Fire Spirit
Zozobra and the Fire Spirit

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