2018 15 May :: 3.49 pm
First of all, I made it to Santa Fe yesterday morning. So far, it has been incredible. I flew into the SAF regional airport from Dallas, and it was really neat to watch the landscape change from the airplane window. From drab somewhat-greenery in Texas...to crop circles and soil growing darker and redder. Then I started seeing splashes of landcape that looked like the stretchmarks lightning leaves over the earth when it touches down, and I realized they were mountains. The splashes got deeper, darker. We were flying over the desert. Finally we circled into Santa Fe, and it was hard to tell that there was a whole city down there. It's really spread out, and there are NO tall buildings. By city ordinance, no one can build anything over 4 stories high. Didn't expect that, and it makes everything look beautiful and magical.
I took an Uber (my very first) to the car rental place (my very first car rental). I was about an hour early, so I went across the street to a place called Weck's and shoveled down a huge serving of toast, bacon, and fruit - I hadn't had anything to eat in like the 12 hours since I'd been awake. I'd had to get up at 3am for my flight.
After that, I checked in at the hostel, which is...so wild. It's close to downtown, which is nice, and it's not too full right now. It's a really communal atmosphere, with tons of food in the kitchen that everybody shares - they get a big weekly donation from Whole Foods. I've been snacking on stuff in the kitchen yesterday and today.
I've been going out for food too, of course. Santa Fe is a huge foodie place, so there's a lot of things to try. Last night I went to a pizza place for dinner and had a heavenly margherita pizza with a prosecco spritzer...yummmmm. Today, I went to the art galleries on Canyon Road and stumbled across a sort of ritzy restaurant called The Compound. When I got there, the host who greeted me was wearing an actual black suit, like, iron-pressed and spotless. The tablecloths and napkins were white linen, and they had a separate plate on the table with one of those fancy palette knives for butter. I asked to sit outside...in this glorious garden with sculptures and flowers and benches, etc. So, you know. Not the fanciest place I've ever been, but getting close. Here I am, sporting a schoolkid's backpack and wearing a thin red sundress that I got from the Sand Lake flea market in Michigan, reading a book while I wait for my hamburger. The height of class, obviously.
The couple next to me strikes up a conversation. It starts slowly at first, a casual observation that it's cool I'm reading a book - then we end up talking about where we're from - then they ask me what I do for work back home - then they tell me that I remind them of their daughter - then they're showing me pictures on the husband's phone of some of the cool things they've found in the Canyon Road district - and we all have a wonderful time. They even pay for my meal, because they said they enjoyed my company so much. It was stunning.
Honestly, the interactions I've had with people here are stunning all-around. Everyone is so unassuming and super kind. I came into the city not knowing a soul yesterday morning, and nine hours later I was watching the sunset over the Sangre de Cristo mountains with two of the hostel employees and a pair of visiting parents, talking like we've known each other for years. I've always hoped I could have an experience like this in my lifetime, and well...it's finally here. I know now there will be many, many more.
A couple of things people have said stuck in my brain:
A woman at one of the visitors' centers I met yesterday told me this: "This city will either embrace you or kick you out." <-- I remember this one because it feels like the city is embracing me. It's incredible! I'm met with good omens, peaceful passage, easy luck wherever I've gone so far. I don't want to jinx it, but at the same time I'm incredibly grateful. It feels like the Universe really does want me here, now.
One of the hostel employees told me while we were sitting out and watching the sunset: "I've moved to New Mexico three different times. I move away, but then I have dreams about the canyons. And I have to come back."
Some of the pictures I've collected between yesterday and today:
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