after los potrillos the night before, we went to our hotel in santa fe. the next morning, we went first thing to a nearby audubon park. an entire park devoted to birding. we drove up into the sangre de cristo mountains, parked at the entrance, and then explored the park. (as an aside, i have to say that i love the name sangre de cristo--it is such a religiously vivid and poetic name for a mountain range.)
of this series of shots, this one is my favorite. i turned it into my screen saver. i always like pictures of me and b when we just look happy.
we were disappointed to find that we weren't really seeing any birds as we walked through the trails. we may have seen a juniper titmouse, but we didn't get a good enough look at it to be sure. at the end of the trails, we came to an overlook. it looked down on to a patio area behind the visitors center. there were lots of bird feeders back there. and that's when we realized that this was the place to look for birds. we saw a lot of birds there. including the broad-tailed hummingbird--which is the one hummingbird we had been hoping to see. it's on top of the tree in the foreground. it has a very bright red throat.
this one just hung out on top of this tree for a long time. as it would move its head from side to side, you could see the sunlight catch its red, shimmer throat. it was really nice.
we then crossed to the other side of the park and walked along a little stream. but we didn't see any birds over there.
if only you could take home several--or even one--ristra. the problem is they would fall apart in your luggage.
there's nothing like being in nm too to make you feel like you need a cow skull. we didn't get one, but you do want one.
we liked this parrot but knew it wasn't practical to bring home. finally, we decided on either a cactus or quail. it was a tough decision, but we opted for the quail. it's now outside our house, and we love it.
the rugs! so many rugs. i wanted dozens of them (and also that mustard yellow couch). but, alas, navajo rugs are expensive. but i enjoyed looking at them.
we also went to a salvation army. we found a few things--including an awesome vintage polyester blouse and a cool vintage sweater. i love them both so much. whenever i see them and wear them, i can think fondly of our trip to nm.
we went into the downtown part of santa fe. we heard that the palace of the governors would have a lot of artisans selling their jewelry. we parked in a parking garage and found this very familiar site. a becak! although in the us they are called pedicabs and are not nearly as affordable as they are in indonesia.
while we were out and about, we saw a few drivers out. we talked with one driver who agreed that they were overpriced. he thought there should be a different price for tourists than for locals--where tourists could pay more than locals. we all agreed, though, that tourists probably wouldn't like that.
we liked the painted columns here. and in the bag, i'm holding a rug we bought. it wasn't a navajo rug--they're so lovely but so expensive--but it was hand-made by indians in oaxaca mexico. and so it was affordable. i wonder if you were in oaxaca, if navajo rugs would be affordable and locally-made oaxacan rugs would be expensive. the rug is really nice--it has a tree of life bird design on it and is now sitting comfortably in front of our gong.
and were surprised to see a woman becak driver. the whole time we were in indonesia, we only saw one female becak driver. chalk that up as another difference between becaks in the us and becaks in indonesia.
outside the church was a nice statue of a native indian woman. (note her boots--i came to learn that those big, thick white boots are very traditional around this part of nm).
the inside of the church was much fancier than the other, more rustic catholic churches we had seen throughout our travels in nm.
i can enjoy a nice cathedral. and i did very much enjoy the paintings behind the front alter. but i almost always prefer a church that's a little rougher around the edges.
once we were done in the downtown area, we made our way to kakawa, a chocolate cafe. they specialize in hot chocolate drinks. b and i shared a chili chocolate drink that was enak sekali. dark and rich with a spicy chiliness to it--a bit sweet, but not too sweet. it was nice. then we thought we should probably get the hard-core aztec drink that is 100% chocolate with no sweeteners at all. the kind folks there let us sample it first though, which was nice. because it was very interesting to try a sip of, but i didn't need a whole cup full of it.
it was a small cup of the chili chocolate drink, but it was remarkably just right. don't get me wrong--i could have happily had more--but it was so rich and intense that it was enough.
a close-up of the coyote fences we came to admire in santa fe. maybe we will choose to have a coyote fence at our house.
that evening, we drove back to albuquerque. we went to one last goodwill and then went out to eat our last meal at a local favorite new mexican food place near unm. it was good, and we got to eat outside in the mellow evening air. it was a great way to end our new mexican adventure.
early the next morning, we returned our rental car, caught the shuttle to the airport, and made our way home. we were back home and working by about 9am.
ah, new mexico. really it was every bit as great as i always knew it would be. it was the perfect way to celebrate 15 great years of marriage. we had a wonderful time, and i'm positive we will go back!