Friday, June 10, 2005

Harvey House, Albuquerque and Home to Houston

Since Friday is my traditional rest day, I didn't go for a run. Instead I got up early, collared Dan and took him out for a morning walk. It was so peaceful out there, with the cool air and the sun just beginning to warm things up. We went to the drops, to the cemetery and back again.

Then we hung around the house awhile, eating breakfast, sipping coffee, watering the plants and just hanging out. I packed my bags and washed our towels and linens. I made Dan empty the wastebaskets, since my Dad doesn't run a hotel, after all.

Finally it was noon and we could head in to town to see the Harvey House Museum. We'd wanted to see it for years, but with their limited hours, it was tricky. "It'd better be worth the wait," Dan mumbled, having spent the morning bored and restless.

And was it ever worth the wait! For those who are interested in the early years of the Santa Fe Railroad and their wonderful Fred Harvey hotels and restaurants, the Belen Harvey House Museum is quite a treat! They have pictures, artifacts, scads of information, and what's really cool is they let you pretty much have the run of the place. Go upstairs, go in the kitchen, go behind the cigar counter, it's all just fine and dandy with them! Even though the place was quite small, we spent over an hour poking around, and I ended up buying a Santa Fe mug and a book. My father heard me gushing over architect Mary Colter's accomplishments with the Santa Fe and Harvey House system and bought me a book about her. Yay!

Then it was back to the farm to drop off my dad and load up the car. Santo NiƱo looked just right between the old photos and the lamp, without my various face creams blocking his view toward blessing the room. The bed was freshly made, there were a few organic soy products in the fridge that my father would probably never think of consuming, and after a hug and a promise to see him in a month when he would be in Houston, we were off.

We got into Albuquerque with time to spare, so I suggested we go back to the aquarium, since my Pisces hubby had expressed an interest in seeing the fish. Poor boy loves the desert and mountains but gets antsy when he's away from water for too long. So we went to the aquarium, and even poor little fish-indifferent me found it fascinating. It was a very small place, but extremely high quality, with several huge floor-to-ceiling displays that made you feel like you were right down there on the sea floor watching the sharks and sea turtles swim above you. I especially liked the jellyfish displays, since they included the kind that light up in the dark. Weird stuff.

Then we walked around the botanical gardens a bit, checked out the butterfly center, and then figured it was about time to go look for a gas station. We thought for sure there would be a gas station somewhere near the airport and car return, but we drove a long way before we found one. But we had plenty of time, so no pressure. We got the car turned in, caught the shuttle to the airport, got checked in and settled in to wait for our plane. For some reason, my purse set off supsicions among the x-ray people, so I had to wait around awhile while they dug around looking for who knows what. I would've been more amused if they hadn't copped such an attitude when I merely asked that they allow me to put my shoes,watch and jewelry back on while they did whatever they needed to do. Why waste time, right? Weirdos. At least they had the decency to seem embarrassed when they found nothing more threatening than my athsma inhalor and powder compact. Big-time terrorist, that's me. Last year they thought I was going to blow up the building with my Maine blueberry jelly, so we're getting somewhere now, I guess. We found our gate and settled in. There was free wireless in the building, but it was so slow that I gave up. It didn't help that the Japanese man next to me thought it would be fun to look over my shoulder. Excuse me, but aren't the Japanese supposed to be known for their good manners?

The flight home was supposed to last two hours but we must've had a tailwind because it took 1:45. On our way out we flew over the salt lakes, which looked exactly like the map the park ranger had shown me, imagine that. She had said that the lakes were on private property, but there were so many dotting the landscape that having seen them from the air, I find it hard to believe that there's no public access to any of them, unless it's reservation land or something.

Coming in over Houston, we tried to pick out familiar landmarks in the dark, locating the Williams (formerly Transco) Tower, downtown and University of Houston. I know the flight path well, and there was a lot more we should've been able to see, but it was 10:30 at night and our windows were foggy with humidity.

We found our luggage without any trouble, caught the shuttle to the car park, loaded up and headed for home. It was a hot muggy night, that reminded us how pleasant the desert can be. Yes, it gets hot in the sun, but once you're in the shade and after the sun goes down, it's always comfortable. In Houston, you need air conditioning, no two ways about it. And the traffic! Already I'd gotten used to the lighter, saner traffic of rural New Mexico, where even when someone does something stupid, it's just one person on a mostly empty road, as opposed to five people doing stupid things all around you at the same time.

But we made it home safely and the animals were very glad to see us. Our neighbor came by to drop off our grocery bag of junk mail (where does it all come from?) and give a report. Tidbit had obviously come to adore her because she ran up for an ear rub and then flopped on her side, peaceful and content to be surrounded by her humans.

Dan and I were hungry, so I scoured the kitchen for something edible. Prospects weren't too good, but I found a few tortillas, a bit of goat cheese and two eggs. I had some soy milk that was still good and some dehydrated vegetables that I hadn't yet had an opportunity to work with. No time like the present. I rehydrated them in a few seconds with warm water, whisked them into an egg and soy milk mixture, scrambled it all up and then pressed the mixture between goat-cheese slathered wheat tortillas, heating them up like quesadillas in a skillet on the stove. It turned out pretty good for a quick meal made with almost nothing.

Then it was time to unpack, read a bit of news online and have some tea. Everything was in its proper place, I had my animals around me again, and all was right with the world. In the morning, Dan took our empty suitcases down to storage.

Until next time!


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