Sometimes a Place is Just a Place
Go ahead and stone me, but I found Santa Fe to be a disappointment. Of course, disappointment is a two way street. I'm willing to take the blame for having set my expectations too far to the left. I have always heard about Santa Fe as being a unique community that was both art-centered and utilitarian. A place that values substance over sheen.
Santa Fe is visually appealing -- it exists in the middle of a dramatic geography. But apart from that, it is what people have made it to be. And what they appear to have made it into is a super-gentrified consumption sink. A place where the billionaires have relegated the millionaires to a meager existence -- forcing them to sustain their bling addiction on only the more affordable of trinkets.
I am not the most traveled person that you may meet, but I have to say that the shopping square was one of the most over-the-top retail centers that I have ever seen. 99% fashion, 1% utility. Well, maybe 2% utility if you believe that Starbucks is utility.
I think that you can learn a lot about a place from its restaurants. Perhaps our dinner experience can provide an exemplar for the overall experience. Elitist attitude, elitist prices, mediocre substance. Broken sauces, over-creamed soup, insensitive (even argumentative) waitstaff, and the "are you really ordering that wine?" look. Please, save it for someone who values the abuse as an integral component of some misguided spiritual journey.
Surely I have been much too harsh on Santa Fe. It is not unlike many other places in the country. Santa Fe, please accept my apology for having expected something completely different. Or, perhaps, for arriving 25 years too late.
Some photos from the ride from Santa Fe to Las Vegas, NM. The highlights are a civil war monument (site of the most westward civil war battle) near the top of Glorietta pass (7560ft), and a old unused bridge from a pre-1937 alignment of Route 66. Oh, and Anurang pulling a gun on me. Someone please lock that guy up before he hurts someone.
Thursday: 77 miles of headwind from Albuquerque, NM to Santa Fe, NM
Friday: 71 rainy and windswept miles from Santa Fe, NM to Las Vegas, NM
Yearly Miles: 2933