Land & People, Albuquerque
Since I moved to New Mexico over 15 years ago, I noticed an odd (to me) tradition. Crosses, plastic flowers, and other memorabilia along various stretches of the roadside seemd a constant companion as I traveled from point A to point B. I came to understand that these memorials were in honor of those who died on these roadways. I found these shrines on city streets, country roads, and larger interstates. At locations where I knew the story of the lives lost, I would take the time to say a silent prayer ..... These little bits of local tradition became roadtrip companions as well as a personal reminder for me to be cautious while behind the wheel.
(Photo from the below website until I can take to time to stop and take some pics of my own)
And just today, I learned what these memorials are called:
descanso n. a roadside marker or memorial to a victim of an automobile accident.
Etymological Note: From Spanish descanso ‘resting place (of a dead person),’ from the verb descansar ‘to (have a) rest.’
Clyde is one of the icons of Albuquerque. I have seen him many times riding his bicycle with his birds on the handle bars. He now also has a cute little dog in a basket in the back. I finally saw him stopped in the parking lot at the Home Depot. By good fortune, I also had my camera in the car. I introduced myself and asked if I could take a picture. He said sure. Turns out he came to Albuquerque in 1949 and worked at the same Lab where I work now. He retired 10 years ago.
This week (March, 2006) we had our first snow in over a year! All excited at this gift from the 'gods', some locals scrapped ALL the snow off the park grounds and made this fairly typical Albuquerque snowman. Isn't he glorious? With bits of dead grass all over, and dead branches for limbs he typlifies winter here at home ....... dry ..... cold ........ and dry.
Being in a decade-long drought means every bit of moisture is a wonderful gift from the sky and worthy of celebration ... even if you have to scrape it up in order to pay proper homage :)
Addendum: New Year's Week 2007.
We just had our best/worst snow in over 50 years! Being so unused to this quantity of snow, and being a holiday, our residents took over the streets making various snow sculptures. Some were PG, some were PG-13, and a few were even X-rated :) Surprisingly, despite being in the Catholic Bible Belt, even the more pagan inspired images were left alone to melt as nature intended ... enjoy!
Albuquerque is located in the high desert. It is common to find many homes with Xeriscaped gardens instead of lawns. This helps preserve the precious water which is scarce in the desert, especially through these times of drought.
Manuel’s Food Market opened in 1924 and is located at the present-day intersection of Edith Boulevard and Roma Avenue. Manuel lived to be 98 and his daughter, Clara, still runs the market. Adelita's grandmother also lived there in the 1920's. Her wonderful blog about the area tells us that "if you’ve never been in Manuel's, make a point to stop by. It is a virtual history museum of Albuquerque politics – there are political posters and pictures everywhere. Clara and my mother spent the better part of an hour talking about neighbors, the fiestas and school."
When I went to Manuel's in July 2008, Clara showed me pictures, sold me some delicious tamales, and told me about how the walking mall on the south side of the store used to be an arroyo. There are so many things in this market to see, I must go back when I have more time and do some shopping (can't believe I said that; I do know it is against the "guy" code). BTW, I didn't see many (better make that "any") Republican posters and pictures, LOL. It is an outstanding collection of Democrats though!
Albuquerque is the most multi-ethnic city of its size (500K)in the USA. My daughter went to an elementary school that I called 'The Little United Nations.' The Southeast quadrant is full of restaurants from all over the world. It's all celebrated at City Fest, Saturday evening cultural celebrations downtown in the summer.
This type of architecture is very common throughout Albuquerque and all throughout New Mexico as well. The houses are built to look like the old buildings once used by the native indians.
In spite of a dry brown desert setting, Albuquerque is full of color. Many buildings are brightly colored throughout the city. Even the freeway is colored peach.
Once a year Hot air balloons from around the world descend on balloon fiesta park for a week long event. It starts the first weekend of October
There is a Spanish influence here and we were delighted to hear this youth mariachi band performing, they were great.