A week without you, thought I'd forget.
Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003 @ 11:27 p.m.

Things I learned about New Mexico and, specifically, Santa Fe:

- It's beautiful in a bare, alien, way.
- My skin dislikes the dry climate. A lot.
- Prairie dogs!
- Lots of good art, lots more bad art.
- It's surprisingly cool in the southwest in September.
- High altitude makes me a cheap drunk.
- You can see a mouse riding on a cat riding on a dog if you hang out in the plaza long enough.
- The fanny pack is nobody's friend. Just say no, people.
- The La Fonda hotel is a great place to stay for free (sort of)
- Huevos Rancheros for breakfast sounds like a good idea...
- It's the place to go if you want to buy silver and turquoise jewelry, pottery, and Indian blankets.
- Green chile on everything? Rules.

Things I learned about traveling :

- You end up spending way more than you ever thought you would.
- Rental car places suck.
- Delta airlines also sucks.
- Boy, did I ever over-pack.
- Seeing a random cowboy in the Dallas airport rules.
- Shuttle drivers are insane.

So, we're back. Finally. We had a great vacation overall, but I'm very glad to be home and very glad to find that our electricity has been restored. The hurricane (which seems like it was a million years ago) was awful, but we came out of it alright. Not so, the snooty neighbors down the street, who had two massive trees crash through their fence, taking out all the power lines for the block. Ha, serves those fools right for totally ignoring me, even when I say hello. Assholes. Anyway, they were the hardest hit around here, but other nearby neighborhoods were hit much worse. Kate and Justin had a tree come down in their backyard and they still have no power. Sucks. Claudia and Scott have power back, finally, but their well water is contaminated. Hurricane Isabel can go straight to hell, you know?

Anyway, vacation! I won't go into incredibly boring, slide-presentation detail, but we had fun. We ate everything that green chile can be put on (including breakfast), we saw lots of art, we went to the Taos Pueblo (sad and beautiful and depressing and enlightening, all at the same time), we took goofy pictures of each other and we spent time with various and sundry family members.

Pictures, you say? Here you go:

Kenny and I stayed in a series of progressively cheaper motels. This is Ye Olde Santa Fe Motel:

Here's a picture of Kenny I took outside the motel:

What? My thumb is where? Up my ass? Okay, try, try again:


This is me on top of the Rio Grande Gorge bridge:

I'm wearing sunglasses to hide the fear in my eyes. That is one deep-ass gorge, y'all. We both practically crawled off it backwards, it was so crazy high up. I get the heebs just thinking about it.


This is The La Fonda hotel we stayed in for the last three nights of our visit:

It was crazy historic and expensive and everything was hand-painted within an inch of it's life, including the furniture. We could never really afford to stay in such a place, but my second cousin (who I'd just met for the first time) knew the manager and set us up with a great room for free. We were happy until we checked out yesterday and were handed a bill for $450. I said Goddamn. I handed over my credit card and was shocked it didn't actually burst in to flames when swiped. I then made multiple frantic phone calls to my cousin, who wasn't answering his cell phone. I cursed his name, a lot. (He did eventually call back and was completely apologetic. The charge for the hotel was reversed and all was good.)

I cursed his name more when we dropped off the rental car and were presented with a bill which included $70 in fees they "forgot" to mention. I cried a bit. Okay, a lot. Kenny's sister-in-law, who'd come to the airport to see us off, brow-beat the Avis rental man until he dropped $25 worth of fees. She rules.

We then waited in the airport for our 3:30 flight out of Albuquerque.

And we waited.

Then, we waited some more.

Our 3:30pm flight then changed on the departures board to a 5:45 flight, without any explanation at all. This meant both our connections were fucked. We were given several craptastic options by Delta, all of which included a night's stay in an airport hotel. We chose the option which got us out of there the fastest. After waiting approximately four hundred more hours, we were herded on to a plane and sent to Dallas. As we deplaned, I immediately spotted a cowboy and giggled. (The stars at night! Are big and bright!)

We arrived at gate 15 and had to be at gate 22 for our connecting flight. We had 30 minutes in between and thought, hey, 15 and 22 aren't that far apart! We'll have time to eat!

You can see where this is going, right?

We walked past the gates, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 31, 32...

Wait, what? Where the hell was 21-30? We turned around and walked back the way we came, only then noticing a chasm-like hallway to the right, which claimed to lead to gates 21-30. We walked down the hallway. And walked some more. And took a stupidly long escalator down down down, walked a while, then took another long escalator up up up. Then walked for another four miles until finally, gate 22 was in front of us. We were then immediately herded onto the word's smallest commuter plane. The world's smallest commuter plane was full of Stetson-hat-wearing men, and damn, were they chatty. Die, airplane chatters, die.

We flew to Atlanta, where we were then shuttled to a hotel by a complete maniac. He blustered on about how he'd been warned by management about his driving, all the while driving at top speed and taking corners on two wheels. We got to the hotel in about three seconds. It was 1:00am. Our next flight? 8:00am.

We slept for about three hours before being shuttled back for round two. The 8:00am plane left on time and taxied down the runway. Slowly. I remember wondering how damn long the runway was, because really, the pilot wasn't going to get very far off the ground if he didn't put the pedal down and pick up some speed. We taxied slowly around a turn and headed back to the gate. Fuuuuuck.

Turns out some little air valve thing wasn't opening or closing correctly and the pilot wanted to get it checked out. I swear, at that point, Kenny and I were ready to knock on the cockpit door and tell the pilot to go ahead and take off, we'd take our chances. Drop the damn oxygen masks! We don't care! We'll hold our breath! Just go go go! Get off the ground!

We finally took off an hour later and landed in Richmond (oh, sweet, sweet humidity! How my skin missed you so!) around 10:30am. We came home exhausted and smelling not-so-fresh.

And that's the vacation story. I'm sleepy.

Wait, one more thing. While trudging, exhausted, through the Dallas airport, we spied a gift shop window display that was entirely made up of dog face magnets. We both stopped in our tracks and gasped. Kenny took a picture of a small section of it, but no way does it capture the display's true splendor:

0 chatty monkeys

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